Yes; the majority of us have had Hep C for twenty, thirty and even forty years without realizing we’re infected; you have plenty of company there.
Tell us more about your diagnosis; many people find they have antibodies, and believe they have the disease; when actually there needs to be more info to determine if they are actively infected. Do you know which tests have been performed? Do you have a Hep C ‘genotype’?
Welcome to the discussion group,
I had 3 babies while I was infected and nobody ever mentioned me being infected. If your liver enzymes aren't elevated, they don't even check for liver issues. I was infected over 25 years and my enzymes never elevated until this past January.
One good thing in your favor is that technically you have not had the disease very long and the fact that you do not drink is a big positive in your favor.
Upon finding that we have the disease most of us get a liver biopsy to determine how far our liver damage has progressed. Since you don't have insurance I don't think you want to pay for that - so you should 'start small'. As Bill said the first step would be to make sure you actually have the disease and not the antibodies only. 20% of people who get hepC are able to beat the disease off on their own - their immune systems squash it when they are first infected. However you will still carry the antibodies.
A liver enzyme can be a good tool to find out what is going on at the moment with your liver. But it can't tell you if they have been elevated in the past. When a liver cell dies it releases an enzyme.So the higher the number the more damage going on.
Do you happen to have any paperwork that might have an AST or ALT number? Any test results that you can let us know might help to give you better information as what you have posted is quite broad.
Again, ten years isn't that much. There is a good chance your damage is minimal and you could wait until you 'need' to treat to even worry about it. It's just that you need to find out where you stand - unfortunately hepC is a silent killer and a lot of times there are no symptoms or signs of anything until it is very very late in the game.
If you are actively infected and don't just have antibodies you would want more information about your condition. Often a liver biopsy is performed to find out how much if any liver damage you have.
You said you were diagnosed about 10 years ago. Do you have an idea how long you have had it? I was diagnosed 12 years ago, but have had hep c about 30 years.
It sounds like you are not a big drinker, but I wouldn't drink at all until you know the stage of liver damage (if any) that you have. Being fit, not overweight, exercising and eating properly can possibly have an impact on slowing the progression of the disease.
Welcome - Dave
i guess i didn't explain myself good. i found out 10 yrs, ago but i am almost sure i contracted this in the 70's . going to go thru some paper work and see if i find any test results. will get back to everyone who replied. thanks so much!!
Take your time; we'll still be here :)