Although the world is filled with suffering, it is full also of the overcoming of it. --Helen Keller,Optimism If you are holding this book because you or someone you love has hepatitis C, you may be deeply frightened. Don't be. For a disease that didn't even have a name until ten years ago, hepatitis C has created a lot of anxiety. But the true picture of the disease is not nearly so bleak as it has been painted. There are many steps you can take to help yourself to a long, full life with hepatitis C, or even to a cure. This book is intended as your map on that journey. The headlines may have already told you that Americans, still reeling from AIDS, are just beginning to realize that we are si-ting on an even greater viral time bomb--hepatitis C. The hepatitis C virus, or HCV, can cause serious disease of the liver. The virus enters the body through the blood and attacks the liver, causing it to deteriorate over long periods, as long as ten to forty years. You have read that hepatitis C can cause cirrhosis and liver cancer; in fact, hepatitis C is already responsible for most liver transplants performed in this country. Ten thousand Americans have already died of HCV, and by 2000, more people will die of hepatitis C than will die of AIDS. Unfortunately, the good news has gotten lost in all the terrifying articles about the "epidemic" of HCV. As opposed to the headline hyperbole, the real challenge of hepatitis C is not dying, but living--well--with the infection. Relatively few people-- 20 percent--develop life-threatening cirrhosis or liver cancer, the most-feared effects of hepatitis C. And even these can be treated. On the other hand, your chances of permanently ridding yourself of the virus with conventional medications that contain interferon are even lower--15 percent. This means that if you are infected with the hepatitis C virus, you are not likely to die. During a conference on hepatitis C held by the Centers for Disease Control in 1998, Dr. Leonard B. Seef, a senior scientist with the National Institutes of Health, told the Arizona Republic, "I would guess that 80 percent of those infected are going to outlive their disease." He compiled a report demonstrating that fewer than half of patients with hepatitis C had significant liver disease, even twenty-four years after they were diagnosed with hepatitis C. But until better treatments are developed, you are not likely to be cured, either. You are most likely to develop a chronic, very slowly progressing condition that you can learn to manage. You will have to contend with symptoms that can range from annoying to energy-sapping, but most of these problems are controllable if you understand the disorder and if you know what to do. Many of the disease's complications can be delayed, made milder, or even prevented by using the suggestions in this book. Most people with hepatitis C can manage their condition with a combination of early diagnosis, timely medical treatment, and lifestyle changes. The odds are heavily in your favor, so promise yourself that you will not become paralyzed by fear. Instead, become prepared. The difference between being incapacitated by pain and fear and living fully is, like so many things in life, a matter of knowledge and preparation. Picking up this book is the first step in the right direction. This book will demystify everything about hepatitis C. It will show you how to decipher the alphabet soup of laboratory test results and tell you what does and does not put your friends, coworkers, and loved ones at risk for contracting the virus. This book will tell you exactly what to expect during the course of the illness and exactly what you can do to change the course of the infection for the better. From this one book, you will learn about both cutting-edge conventional medicine for hepatitis C and about natural approaches that help you to lWashington, Harriet A. is the author of 'Living Healthy With Hepatitis C Natural and Conventional Approaches to Recover Your Quality of Life' with ISBN 9780440236085 and ISBN 0440236088.