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Hi Margo, good to hear from you again. I pulled this post forward from Thanbey. I think it can best answer some of your questions.

Hang in there girl!

Jeannie

Cirrhosis is a stage of scarring where it was once thought the scarring itself was totally irreversible. We know now that, in some instances, it may be reversable by Pegasys. This is one of the things that makes this drug exciting and different. It targets the liver specifically instead of scattering interferon everywhere in the body.
But back to cirrhosis in general...cirrhosis is NOT end stage liver disease. It is not the time to put someone on a transplant list. Not even close. There are some very healthy people walking around with early stages of cirrhosis (which, by the way has a scale of its own)

In broad terms, though, cirrhosis falls into two distinct classifications and here is where most confusion occurs. Compensated cirrhosis means the liver is still functioning quite well and it is managing to perform liver functions adequately. These folks can be treated, all things being equal.

Decompensated cirrhosis is when you begin to realize serious symptoms that MAY lead to a transplant evaluation. Even then, there are grades and categories to be assessed for. Treatment for these folks is not indicated because the liver is now fragile.

Bottom line is this: even with cirrhosis a person can expect to live a very full life. Care of oneself is now critically important and missteps by alcohol use, smoking and drug use (legal or not) will cost the liver some vitality. You can be treated, it can work to clear the virus (though the cirrhosis will remain in almost everyone) AND new data is showing that Pegasys can reverse the damage up to one stage. At this point if a person can undergo treatment, they really should consider it. In fact, if lifestyle changes have not stopped the progression, treatment should really be considered once progression is demonstrated.

This is not yet an exact science, unfortunately and controvesy surrounds most of these issues.

Do your own research and realize you are in control of your own decisionmaking. These are general statements and are not meant as medical advice.

The other point worth mentioning is that treatment does not cause reversal of damage in many people. You may test negative for the virus, but the damage is done. Care of oneself is vital upon diagnosis to ensure that progression does not take place. This is why viral load really isn't a good measure of status.

Remember, only 2-3 people out of 100 will progress to complications of HCV. This does not refer to progression to cirrhosis. Lots of people develop cirrhosis and live well and never have serious (life threatening)complications. But sadly, many continue to progress and quality of life diminishes.

Neither HCV nor cirrhosis are death sentences. But they can be if they are not addressed appropriately.

I hope this helps,

thanbey


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[This message has been edited by thanbey (edited 08-09-2002).]





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