Academic journal article Journal of Behavioural Sciences

Health Related Behaviors and Medication Adherence in Patients with Hepatitis C

Academic journal article Journal of Behavioural Sciences

Health Related Behaviors and Medication Adherence in Patients with Hepatitis C

Article excerpt

Hepatitis C is an infection or inflammation of the liver that leads to liver failure or liver cancer and affects indirectly the other parts of the body such as nerves and kidneys (Frey & Shearer-copper, 1995). It infects an individual silently without producing the symptoms for many years and damages the liver and it may be diagnosed when it results in Cirrhosis (Fabry & Narasimhan, 2007). The patient may manifest a wide range of symptoms i.e. cold, flue, nausea, vomiting, fever, fatigue, pain in joints, headaches, pain in abdomen, and loss of appetite. Some patients may show the symptoms of jaundice (yellowing of the skin and eyes) and dark urine (Hayhurst, 2003). The modes of transmission of hepatitis C are contaminated needle use in medical care, drug abuse and unsafe blood and blood product transfusion (Shapatava, Nelson, Sertvadz, & Rio, 2006).

An estimated 300 million people are infected with hepatitis C worldwide (Bruce, Montanarelli, & Wright, 2007) and the prevalence for HCV in Pakistan is reported to, range between 2.4%-6.5% among adults, and .44-1.6% among children while 5.31% in Islamabad, 15.9% in Lahore and 23.8% in Gujranwala and it is increasing day by day (Jafri & Subhan, 2008). According to World Health Organization (WHO), 12 million Pakistanis are infected with hepatitis of which 8.6 million are affected with Hepatitis C (WHO, 2004). The prevalence of hepatitis C remains high in Karachi, interior Sindh, Lahore and southern Punjab (Shaheryar, 2012).

It is estimated that 50% of mortality from the 10 leading causes of death has been attributable to behavior that causes or complicates the chronic diseases. Tobacco use, alcohol use, sedentary life styles and unhealthy diet are among the four leading behavioral factors (Paul & Pollichino, 2005). The practice of unhealthy behaviors influences the emergence of new infectious diseases such as hepatitis C. The most common behavioral factors contributing to mortality or infectious diseases include poor diet, physical inactivity, drug use (Patel, Woodward, Feigin, Quah, & Heggenhougen, 2010). So, it is important to avoid health risk behaviors and to practice health related behaviors to improve health and to prevent from diseases.

Several lifestyle modifications have been reported to help a patient manage disease. The first step is to avoid drugs and alcohol, to maintain a healthy weight, exercise, and eat healthy and balanced diet. Life style modifications are important for general health of patient along with helping the patients to manage chronic diseases including hepatitis C. Healthy diet and exercise are also important components in the management of hepatitis C (Fabry & Narasimhan, 2007). It's important for the patient with hepatitis C to take control of their health by exercising health related behaviors such as through proper diet, by taking exercise, balanced eating behavior etc., on daily basis to help protect their liver from further damage. These healthy behaviors may include taking exercise regularly, eating right and balanced diet, avoid drugs, and getting proper medical advice (Johnson, 2012).

Dietary composition is related to the extent of liver damage and post onset the HCV patients may benefit from instructions regarding their diet (Loguercio, Federico, Masarone, Torella, & Pérsico, 2008). Studies suggest that the people who consume diets that are low in fat, saturated fat, and cholesterol, high in fruits and vegetables and whole grain products containing fibers have lower rates of morbidity and mortality from coronary heart diseases and several forms of cancer (Gochman, 1997).

A patient with hepatitis C benefit from exercise to make his/ her body strong and to reduce fatigue, a common symptom in hepatitis C. It causes a decrease in liver enzymes and reduces fats and scared tissues in the liver, than in turn decrease severity of the liver disease (Johnson, 2012). Exercise is not only an important strategy for preventing disease and improving health, but it can also lead to additional health related changes in an individual (Gochman, 1997). …

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