Pamela and Hepatitis C

I read somewhere that Pamela Lee says she may die by age 50 because of her hepatitus C.
What are her odds of living a full life?
Is this a really bad disease that takes people young?

Viral Hepatitis C Fact Sheet from the CDC.

I have read that Pamela is using alternative herbal care instead of interferon, and that is why she has such a short estimate of her remaining life (10 years.) I don’t know this woman, but she sure has a talent for making stupid life choices (for that matter, I’m showing a talent for understatement. :rolleyes:)

Hep C facts: We still don’t know the complete story as the virus was only identified a little over a decade ago. But a number of experts agree with the following (a number don’t, but we’ll see how things change as we learn more):

Hep C is a virus transmitted thru exposure to blood of someone else that has it. It’s a slow disease and rarely makes anyone sick when they first get it. Decades later is generally when the damage is done.

4 out of 5 people with it seem to do ok, not clearing the virus but living with it. 1 out of 5 eventually get sick as all get-out, generally cirrhosis, sometimes liver cancer. They die of it.

The people who do poorly are often those who continue drinking alcohol and taking drugs. But many do the right thing and still have a bad outcome.

Interferon and ribavirin treatments cure the infection in some people who take it. The cure rate is generally under 50%, and is actually under 35% for the most common strain of the virus, genotype 1. The treatment is generally a year’s worth of weekly interferon shots and daily ribavirin pills. Close to 25% of the people who start out on treatment drop out because of severe side-effects. It is not an easy treatment plan to follow (I currently have 4 people on treatment who I see at least monthly).

If I had the virus and didn’t have signs of my liver starting to not do well with the virus, frankly I’d wait in hopes of more effective, less toxic treatments. But given that many people do so well without treatment, at this time I really cannot recommend that one get the interferon/ribavirin treatment just because one has the virus.

That’s a real simplified version, and as I said, it’s constantly undergoing revision as we learn more. It’s a controversial area.

QtM, MD

BTW, the latest figures I’ve seen for “cure” rates of the genotype viruses are lower than the ones cited in the CDC website. Frankly I hope the CDC is right and my sources are wrong.