Hepatitis and Neuropathy | ReBuilder Medical
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Hepatitis and Neuropathy

5/10/2022


Neuropathy can be a symptom of any number of conditions or can appear all on its own, with no discernible cause.  Today, we’d like to highlight one specific cause of peripheral neuropathy: Viral Hepatitis.

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What is Hepatitis?

Hepatitis is an inflammation of the liver, damaging and impairing the organ’s ability to function.  It’s often caused by a virus, though other causes include heavy alcohol use, toxins, and some medications.  Many people with hepatitis (50-70%) do not experience symptoms or even know that they’re infected.  Those who do experience symptoms report abdominal pain, dark urine, fever, fatigue, jaundice, joint pain, light-colored stools, loss of appetite, nausea, and vomiting.

Common Types of Viral Hepatitis

Hepatitis A (HAV) is spread by ingesting infected fecal matter through contaminated food or water.  Infections can last anywhere from a few weeks to several months, and most patients recover without any lasting liver damage.  There is, however, a vaccine available to prevent contracting hepatitis A in the first place.

Hepatitis B (HBV) is primarily spread through contact with infected bodily fluids and is classified as a Sexually Transmitted Infection (STI).  The infection can manifest as an acute episode (lasting only a few weeks) or become a chronic (life-long) condition.  Only about 6-10% of infections in older children and adults become chronic hepatitis B, but 15-25% of people chronically infected develop a chronic liver disease (cirrhosis, liver cancer, etc).  Luckily, there is an effective vaccine available to prevent hepatitis B infections.

Hepatitis C (HCV) is spread through contact with infected blood.  Like hepatitis B, an HCV infection can be an acute episode or become a chronic condition.  Most people infected with the hepatitis C virus develop chronic hepatitis C, with 5-25% of those with chronic hepatitis C developing cirrhosis.  Hepatitis C is currently one of the leading causes of liver transplants and liver cancer in the United States.  While there is no vaccine to prevent hepatitis C infections, treatment is possible.  There is an 8–12 week course of pills that cures over 90% of patients with few side effects.

Who’s At Risk?

Anyone can be infected with viral hepatitis, though there are risk factors that increase your likelihood of infection.  The graphic below lists some common risk factors.

Immunosuppressive therapy, mother-to-infant transmission, Americans born 1945-1965, transfusions or organ transplants received before 1992, international travelers, improper needle usage, healthcare workers, and unprotected sex

The Link to Neuropathy

Though viral hepatitis largely targets the liver, it affects the entire body and can cause peripheral neuropathy.  About 10% of people positive for HCV experience either sensory or motor peripheral neuropathy.

It begins when the body creates cryoglobulins as part of an overactive immune response to HCV.  Cryoglobulins are abnormal proteins that clump together when the blood cools below 98.6°F, this typically occurs in the hands and feet where the body tends to be at its coolest.  When these abnormal proteins reach a high enough concentration in the blood stream, the clumped proteins impede circulation causing Cryoglobulinemia.  This inflammation and lack of blood flow damages the nerves at the ends of toes and fingers, leading to peripheral neuropathy.

Can It be Treated?

Yes!  The first step is always to treat the underlying cause of the pain: the viral hepatitis infection.  While the only current treatment for HBV is prevention, studies have shown that anti-viral treatments for HCV considerably improve symptoms of neuropathy.  Second, it is recommended that other methods be added to your treatment schedule to manage neuropathic pain attacks on an as-needed basis while the anti-viral treatment works to overcome the virus itself.  These additional treatments include steroids, tricyclic antidepressant, local anesthetics, opioids, and The ReBuilder®.

Why Add the ReBuilder® to Your Treatment Regimen?

The ReBuilder® is a therapeutic alternative to manage your peripheral neuropathy symptoms.  Where most neuropathy treatments have a laundry list of unwanted side-effects, the ReBuilder alleviates peripheral neuropathy pain with absolutely no side effects.

The ReBuilder® stimulates sleeping, damaged nerves, increasing blood flow while at the same time elevating pain-relieving and mood-enhancing chemicals produced by the brain. Treatment takes only 30 minutes per session and, believe it or not, you don’t need to go to your doctor’s office—you can do it in the comfort of your own home!

Call us today at 877.717.5487 with any questions you may have.  If you’re ready to order your own ReBuilder® and take back your pain-free life, visit our online store below!

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