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[QUOTE=sean]Hello Charmed,

as they say, there are no stupid questions. to NOT ask this one would have been very regrettable.
Fibrosis is sort of the only reason to worry about hepc (or fatty liver, or many other liver conditions). It is the earlier stage(s) of what eventually can progress to cirhossis. It is sometimes called 'scarring' of the liver, although that term used to be reserved for cirhossis itself. and it's not really accurate, anyway.
In fibrosis, the softer, healthy, functioning liver tissue is cell by cell crowded out by a tougher, fibrous mass. if it goes far enough, the liver can start to fail (decompensate), and this can progress to end stage liver disease and then to you-know-what.
Cirhossis also increases the risk of the most deadly form of liver cancer (not that there are any 'non-deadly' forms). In fact, these cancers are unusual except when there is predisposing liver damage--cirhossis.

Luckily for us, hep c produces fibrosis, but only gradually in most cases. the other symptoms or damage caused by hep c, such as damage to the finer blood vessels of the kidneys and possibly other organs, seem much less likely to be troublesome for most of us, so it is the fibrosis we most worry about.

This is what a biopsy measures (inflammation and fibrosis), and what we hope to stop or reverse with treatment.

It is also why we warn against drinking or smoking, since these have been shown to accelerate fibrosis in hep c carriers. Fatty liver, ditto. In fact some researchers theorize that the hep c virus itself is often (except for the unlucky minority) weak at damaging the liver except or until other liver stresses (such as the toxins in alcohol or tobacco) arrrive. Unfortunately for me, age over 50 is considered one of those independent stesses that can encourage fibrosis, so if you have hep c and are getting into later years, like me, liver damage sometimes can accelerate even though years had gone by with no real effect before.

It is not clear whether treating the hep with interferon can reverse fibrosis. It may (pegasys has shown some more hopeful research results than has pegintron), or it may not, depending on the case. It does promise at least a temporary halt or slowing of fibrosis, but this may not be lasting--the research jury is still out on this issue, I'm sorry to say.

hope all this is of some help.


Ok, that clears up some of the fog, thank you.
I just received a copy of one of my earlier labs and I went this morning and had an ultrasound and I won't know the results until Oct. 10th. At that time they will tell me the type, etc... My dad died of pancreatic cancer and my mother said that he also had liver disease and liver cancer. Because of this, am I more likely to progress in that direction quicker?

I don't really know what all of these #'s mean either. The copy is really bad which doesn't help.
ALT (SCFT) 42 These appear to be only slightly elevated.
Quantitation is 4,800,000
HCV Log10 is 6.868
International Units is 1,640,000
IU Log10 is 6.255

Prothrombin Time (PT)
INR 1.0

This is pretty much all that is on the only page that they gave me. We think that I may have had hep c for about 19 years. I can't believe that I've been through 3 major surgeries and noone caught the virus being there.

Being able to talk to you has been a godsend. Thank you for being there and for answering my questions. I know that you have your own nightmare and the fact that you take time for me is pretty awesome. Thank you.;)

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