Sunday, May 22, 2022

Can Drinking Cause Hepatitis C

Should I Be Screened For Hepatitis C

Hepatitis: biggest cause of liver diseases

Doctors usually recommend one-time screening of all adults ages 18 to 79 for hepatitis C. Screening is testing for a disease in people who have no symptoms. Doctors use blood tests to screen for hepatitis C. Many people who have hepatitis C dont have symptoms and dont know they have hepatitis C. Screening tests can help doctors diagnose and treat hepatitis C before it causes serious health problems.

What Is Nonalcoholic Fatty Liver Disease

NAFLD is a type of fatty liver disease that is not related to heavy alcohol use. There are two kinds:

  • Simple fatty liver, in which you have fat in your liver but little or no inflammation or liver cell damage. Simple fatty liver typically does not get bad enough to cause liver damage or complications.
  • Nonalcoholic steatohepatitis , in which you have inflammation and liver cell damage, as well as fat in your liver. Inflammation and liver cell damage can cause fibrosis, or scarring, of the liver. NASH may lead to cirrhosis or liver cancer.

Avoid Alcohol And Drugs

One of the most important jobs of your liver is to break down drugs and alcohol. If you have hepatitis C, one of the best things you can do is to avoid substances that may harm your liver, such as alcohol and illegal drugs. If you have cirrhosis, you also may need to avoid certain medicines.

If you use illegal drugs or drink alcohol, it is important to stop. Being honest with your doctor about your drug and alcohol use will help you deal with any substance use disorders. If you don’t feel that you can talk openly with your doctor, you may want to find a doctor you feel more comfortable with. If you want to stop using drugs or alcohol and need help to do so, ask your doctor or someone else you trust about drug and alcohol treatment options.

Because many medicines can stress your liver, talk to your doctor before you take any prescription or over-the-counter medicines. This includes herbal remedies as well.

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Seek Help For Depression

You may feel angry or depressed about having to live with a long-term, serious disease. You may have a hard time knowing how to tell other people that you have the virus. It can be helpful to talk with a social worker or counsellor about what having the disease means to you. You also may want to find a support group for people with hepatitis C. If you don’t have a support group in your area, there are several on the Internet.

Depression may develop in anyone who has a long-term illness. It also can be a side effect of antiviral medicines for hepatitis C. If you are feeling depressed, talk to your doctor about antidepressant medicines and/or counselling. For more information, see the topic Depression.

Treatments For Liver Damage

Why The Prevention of Hepatitis C is so Important?

Abstinence is tried first. Several drugs, including some antioxidants and drugs to reduce inflammation, may be useful, but further study is needed. Many nutritional supplements that are antioxidants, such as milk thistle and vitamins A and E, have been tried but are ineffective.

Corticosteroids can help relieve severe liver inflammation and are safe to use if people do not have an infection, bleeding in the digestive tract, kidney failure, or pancreatitis.

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Contagious And Incubation Periods

The incubation periodthe time it takes for symptoms to appear after the hepatitis C virus has entered your bodyis from 2 weeks to 6 months. But not all people have symptoms when they are first infected.

You can spread the virus to someone else at any time after you are infected, even if you don’t have symptoms.

Hepatitis C And Cirrhosis

In general, someone with hepatitis C has around a 20% chance of the fibrosis progressing all the way to development of cirrhosis. Alcohol use increases this chance severely. A heavy drinker with hepatitis C has 16 times the risk of cirrhosis compared with a non-drinker with hepatitis C. Alcohol and hepatitis C both damage the liver, so together, the risk of serious liver damage is much higher than with either alone. Learn more about how alcohol affects people living with hepatitis C.

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Diagram Showing The Liver

The liver is a large organ in the upper right part of the tummy . You cannot normally feel it as it is tucked under your ribs. It has many functions which include:

  • Storing fuel for the body which is made from sugars. When required, glycogen is broken down into glucose which is released into the bloodstream.
  • Helping to process fats and proteins from digested food.
  • Making bile which passes from the liver to the gut down the bile duct. Bile breaks down the fats in food so that they can be absorbed from the bowel.
  • Making proteins that are essential for blood to clot .
  • Processing many medicines which you may take.
  • Helping to remove or process alcohol, poisons and toxins from the body.

Alcohol And Hepatitis C

Hepatitis C and Other Risk Factors for Liver Cancer

If you’ve been diagnosed with hepatitis C, your doctor has probably advised you to give up alcoholic beverages. For some people, this can be one of the most difficult lifestyle adjustments to make. But it’s also one of the most important.

Several studies have shown that among people with hepatitis C, regular drinkers have higher levels of virus than nondrinkers, according to a report in the journal Hepatology. Studies also show that when people infected with the hepatitis C virus stop drinking alcohol, levels of the virus decrease.

Researchers have found that alcohol causes the hepatitis C virus to multiply in the liver by increasing the activity of a protein that triggers the virus to make new copies of itself. These new copies speed the progress of the infection and raise the risk of liver damage.

Protecting your liver

There are other compelling reasons not to drink alcoholic beverages if you have hepatitis: One of the liver’s jobs is to process alcohol. Too much alcohol can poison liver cells and cause a form of the disease called alcoholic hepatitis. If people continue to drink excessively, the condition can lead to permanent liver damage, or cirrhosis.

If you’ve been diagnosed with hepatitis C, drinking alcohol adds to the strain on the liver, increasing the risk of damage to cells. That raises the danger of cirrhosis and liver cancer. If your liver has already been damaged by the virus, drinking can make things even worse.

How to get help

Taking the step

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When Should You Call Your Doctor

911 or other emergency services immediately if you have hepatitis C and you:

  • Feel extremely confused or are having hallucinations.
  • Are bleeding from the rectum or are vomiting blood.
  • You think you may have been infected with hepatitis C.
  • You have risk factors for hepatitis C, such as IV drug use.
  • You have symptoms of hepatitis C and you think you may have been exposed to hepatitis C.

What Is Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease

Alcoholic fatty liver disease is due to heavy alcohol use. Your liver breaks down most of the alcohol you drink, so it can be removed from your body. But the process of breaking it down can generate harmful substances. These substances can damage liver cells, promote inflammation, and weaken your body’s natural defenses. The more alcohol that you drink, the more you damage your liver. Alcoholic fatty liver disease is the earliest stage of alcohol-related liver disease. The next stages are alcoholic hepatitis and cirrhosis.

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Cost Of Hepatitis C Medicines

The newer direct-acting antiviral medicines for hepatitis C can be costly. Most government and private health insurance prescription drug plans provide some coverage for these medicines. Talk with your doctor about your health insurance coverage for hepatitis C medicines.

Drug companies, nonprofit organizations, and some states offer programs that can help pay for hepatitis C medicines. If you need help paying for medicines, talk with your doctor. Learn more about financial help for hepatitis C medicines.

Treatment Of Symptoms And Complications

Hepatitis E: Causes, symptoms, and treatment

Doctors treat the problems caused by alcohol-related liver disease and the withdrawal symptoms that develop after people stop drinking.

Benzodiazepines are used to treat withdrawal symptoms is a depressant. Consuming large amounts rapidly or regularly can cause health problems, including organ damage, coma, and death. Genetics and personal characteristics may… read more ). However, if alcohol-related liver disease is advanced, sedatives are used in small doses or avoided because they can trigger portosystemic encephalopathy Hepatic Encephalopathy Hepatic encephalopathy is deterioration of brain function that occurs in people with severe liver disease because toxic substances normally removed by the liver build up in the blood and reach… read more .

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How Is Alcoholic Hepatitis Treated

The goal of treatment is to restore some or all normal functioning to the liver.

You will need to stop drinking alcohol. To do thi, you may need to be in an alcohol treatment program. Sometimes you may also need to change your diet. Scarring of the liver is permanent. But the liver is often able to repair some of the damage caused by alcohol so you can live a normal life.

You may be admitted to the hospital or treated on an outpatient basis. There is no medicine to cure alcoholic hepatitis. Treatment involves easing the symptoms and keeping the disease from getting worse.

Be sure to ask your healthcare provider about recommended vaccines. These include vaccines for viruses that can cause liver disease.

What Are The Symptoms Of Hepatitis C

Most people infected with hepatitis C have no symptoms. Some people with an acute hepatitis C infection may have symptoms within 1 to 3 months after they are exposed to the virus. These symptoms may include

If you have chronic hepatitis C, you most likely will have no symptoms until complications develop, which could be decades after you were infected. For this reason, hepatitis C screening is important, even if you have no symptoms.

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Histologic Features Of Chronic Hepatitis C In Alcoholic Patients

As discussed above, there is strong evidence that heavy alcohol consumptionand perhaps even moderate consumptionincreases the risk that HCV infection will progress to more serious liver disease. In patients infected with HCV, alcohol consumption has a direct effect on liver histology. Specifically, patients with HCV who are drinkers show greater liver necrosis, inflammation, fibrosis, and fatty infiltration than HCV patients who do not drink. Further, alcohol consumption and fatty liver have been shown to act together to increase fibrosis in patients infected with HCV, especially in those who are obese and diabetic .

How Much Alcohol Is Safe

Alcohol-related Hepatitis – Patient Advocate – Jay

So far it is unclear how long a patient has to abstain from alcohol before the negative effects of alcohol abuse are reversed. It is for this reason that alcohol cessation should be explored as part of a treatment plan for people with chronic HCV infection, particularly those with diagnosed with compensated or decompensated cirrhosis.

Furthermore, patients who require peginterferon are recommended to abstain for at least six months before starting treatment and should be advised to abstain from further alcohol consumption for at least six months following completion of therapy.

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Alcohol Drinking Diary And Change Plan

To keep track of how much you drink, use a drinking diary. Record the number of drinks you have every day. At the end of the month, add up the total number of drinks you had during each week.

One way to make any kind of change in your behavior is to come up with a “change plan.” This exercise has you list the specific goals you would like to achieve, outline the steps and challenges you will meet in reaching those goals, and figure out ways to overcome those challenges.

What Causes Hepatitis C Infection

Hepatitis C is caused by the hepatitis C virus. It is spread by contact with an infected person’s blood.

You can get hepatitis C if:

    • You share needles and other equipment used to inject illegal drugs.
    • You had a blood transfusion or organ transplant before 1992. Since the early 1990s, all donated blood and organs are screened for hepatitis C in Canada.
    • You get a shot with a needle that has infected blood on it. This happens in some developing countries where they use needles more than once when giving shots.
    • You get a tattoo or a piercing with a needle that has infected blood on it. This can happen if equipment isn’t cleaned properly after it is used.

In rare cases, a mother with hepatitis C may spread the virus to her baby during pregnancy or childbirth, or a health care worker may be accidentally exposed to blood that is infected with hepatitis C.

The risk of getting hepatitis C through sexual contact is very small.footnote 1 The risk is higher if you have many sex partners or you engage in unprotected sexual activity that may involve contact with blood or an exchange of blood with an infected person . The presence of HIV or other sexually transmitted infections also increases the chances of getting hepatitis C sexually.

You cannot get hepatitis C from casual contact such as hugging, kissing, sneezing, coughing, or sharing food or drink.

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How Can I Prevent Spreading Hepatitis C To Others

If you have hepatitis C, follow the steps above to avoid spreading the infection. Tell your sex partner you have hepatitis C, and talk with your doctor about safe sex practices. In addition, you can protect others from infection by telling your doctor, dentist, and other health care providers that you have hepatitis C. Dont donate blood or blood products, semen, organs, or tissue.

How Is Fatty Liver Disease Diagnosed

What is Viral Hepatitis?

Because there are often no symptoms, it is not easy to find fatty liver disease. Your doctor may suspect that you have it if you get abnormal results on liver tests that you had for other reasons. To make a diagnosis, your doctor will use

  • Your medical history
  • A physical exam
  • Various tests, including blood and imaging tests, and sometimes a biopsy

As part of the medical history, your doctor will ask about your alcohol use, to find out whether fat in your liver is a sign of alcoholic fatty liver disease or nonalcoholic fatty liver . He or she will also ask which medicines you take, to try to determine whether a medicine is causing your NAFLD.

During the physical exam, your doctor will examine your body and check your weight and height. Your doctor will look for signs of fatty liver disease, such as

  • An enlarged liver
  • Signs of cirrhosis, such as jaundice, a condition that causes your skin and whites of your eyes to turn yellow

You will likely have blood tests, including liver function tests and blood count tests. In some cases you may also have imaging tests, like those that check for fat in the liver and the stiffness of your liver. Liver stiffness can mean fibrosis, which is scarring of the liver. In some cases you may also need a liver biopsy to confirm the diagnosis, and to check how bad the liver damage is.

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How Do I Remove Hepatitis A From My Drinking Water

To kill or inactivate Hepatitis A, bring your water to a rolling boil for one minute Water should then be allowed to cool, stored in a clean sanitized container with a tight cover, and refrigerated.

Because of the small size of the virus, using a point-of-use filter will not remove it from water. You may also disinfect your well adequate chlorination kills the Hepatitis A virus. Contact your local health department for recommended procedures. Remember to have your well water tested regularly, at least once a year, after disinfection to make sure that the problem does not recur.

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What Are The Symptoms Of Alcoholic Hepatitis

The symptoms of alcoholic hepatitis vary depending on the amount of damage to the liver. If you have a mild case of the disease, you may not experience any symptoms. However, as more damage occurs, you may begin to experience:

The symptoms of alcoholic hepatitis are similar to those caused by other health conditions. If you develop any of these symptoms, you should contact your doctor to get a proper diagnosis and begin treatment.

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Drinking To The Extreme

Experts point out that the rise in alcohol-related deaths among millennials overlaps with a rise in the rates of binge drinking from 2002 to 2012 across much of the U.S. Binge drinking is when a woman has four or more drinks or a man has five or more generally consumed within a couple of hours and bringing the blood alcohol concentration up to and beyond the legal driving limit.

Extreme binge drinking, which has become an area of research for Dr. Vaca, is drinking at levels far beyond the binge threshold. Definitions vary, but some studies define extreme binge drinking as two or more times the gender-specific binge drinking thresholds. Blacking out is a key sign that someone has been extreme binge drinking, Dr. Vaca says.

You can be sure that repeated binge drinking and extreme binge drinking are not good for your liver, Dr. Vaca adds. In fact, a condition called acute alcoholic hepatitis can cause severe liver inflammation initially, without any scarring at all. This type of hepatitis can be caused by binging behavior over several days or so, he says.

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