What Foods Should I Avoid
Everyone should avoid eating a lot of fat, cholesterol, salt and processed sugar, even if their liver is healthy. In addition, those with HCV should limit or avoid alcohol. Drinking alcohol will speed up liver damage.
Eating properly can help decrease some of the symptoms of Hepatitis C, like feeling tired and sick. Drink lots of water for general health benefits. HCV is not a digestive disease diet will not affect the disease. Your provider may put you on a special diet if you have advanced liver disease.
Does Treatment For Hepatitis C Always Work
Treatments for this virus have improved dramatically in recent decades. Older treatments relied on strengthening the bodys immune system and not attacking the virus directly. Newer medicines, however, work directly on the viruss cells.
Todays treatments can virtually cure hepatitis C. Once you complete treatment, your viral load will be checked regularly. If the virus is still undetectable in your blood after three months, youre considered cured of hepatitis C.
15 to 25 percent of people who get hepatitis C will eventually clear the virus from their body entirely. This can be done through treatment, or the body can spontaneously eliminate the virus.
Having the hepatitis C virus once doesnt protect you against contracting it again. However, if you encounter the virus in the future, your risk for infected again is dramatically lower because of your previous infection. The best way to avoid being infected again is to reduce behaviors that put you at risk.
What Is The Difference Between Relapse And Nonresponse
The goal of treating chronic hepatitis C is to completely clear the virus. This means that your “viral load” is zero or so low that the virus can’t be detected with standard blood tests.
Without treatment, the hepatitis C virus in liver cells constantly makes copies of itself, and the virus ends up not just in liver cells but also in the bloodstream. Treatment is intended to completely stop reproduction of the virus so that it doesn’t continue to enter the bloodstream or cause any more injury to liver cells.
Successful treatment results in a “sustained virological response.” This means the virus becomes completely undetectable before the treatment is finished, and it remains undetectable for 6 months after treatment is stopped.
A “relapse” means the viral load drops to an undetectable level before treatment is completed, but becomes detectable again within 6 months after treatment is stopped. Even if the virus returns at a level that is lower than it was before treatment, a relapse is still considered to have occurred. A relapse can be determined if the viral load starts to rise during treatment, or at any time after the virus becomes undetectable.
A “nonresponse” means the viral load never drops significantly and the virus remains detectable throughout the course of treatment.
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What Is The Most Common Form Of Hepatitis
According to the Centers for Disease Control , the most common form of hepatitis is hepatitis C, with about 44,300 new infections each year and an estimated 2.4 million people living with the disease.That is followed by hepatitis B, with about 22,100 new infections each year and an estimated 862,000 people living with the illness.Hepatitis A is the least common form of hepatitis with about 6,700 new infections each year.
Treatment Of Relapse Or Non
Sometimes you may need to take a different combination of medicines if your first round of treatment didn’t work very well. If it was not done before, your doctor may do a test to find out which genotype caused the infection. This may help the doctor choose a medicine that is more likely to cure the infection.
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How Is Chronic Viral Hepatitis Treated
If you have chronic viral hepatitis, your treatment depends on the type of hepatitis you have:
- Hepatitis B. You will probably meet with your doctor regularly, every six to 12 months, to watch for signs of liver disease and liver cancer. If you plan to become pregnant in the future, talk to your doctor first. You may need antiviral medicines to treat hepatitis B, but many people do not need medicine. The Food and Drug Administration has a list of approved medicines to treat hepatitis B.
- Hepatitis C. If you have hepatitis C, talk with your doctor about whether you need medicine. Recently approved antiviral medicines treat and may cure hepatitis C in adults. The FDA has a list of approved medicines to treat hepatitis C. If you have health insurance, ask about your copay or coinsurance and which medicines are covered under your plan.
Hepatitis C Will Go Away On Its Own Wont It
The early stages of a hepatitis C infection may cause few symptoms. During this phase, you may not even know you have an infection.
About 30 percent of people who develop an acute hepatitis C infection will be able to clear the virus without treatment. Once it has developed into chronic hepatitis C, the virus will need treatment before it will go away.
Doctors arent sure why some peoples immune systems can eliminate the virus and some cant. Treatment for acute hepatitis C is the same as chronic hepatitis C. Treatment reduces the risk of an acute hepatitis C infection turning into a chronic one.
Recommended Reading: Hepatitis B How Do You Catch It
Newly Diagnosed With Hepatitis B Acute Or Chronic Learning The Hep B Basics
If youve just been diagnosed with hepatitis B after a routine blood test or following a blood donation, you may be feeling overwhelmed with information about this complicated infection and references to acute or chronic hepatitis B.
Here is an explanation of these two terms and what happens when youre first infected with the hepatitis B virus . Hepatitis B is transmitted through blood and sexual fluids. It can be spread during unprotected sex, unsafe medical procedures, exposure to blood that enters your body through a cut, or by sharing personal items such as razors, body jewelry or toothbrushes. Most commonly it is spread during childbirth when the mother is infected.
What is an acute infection? When were infected with HBV as healthy adults, about 90 percent of us are able to get rid of the infection within six months. It can take up to six months for our immune systems to generate antibodies and get rid of the infection in our liver. This short-term infection is called acute hepatitis B.
To determine if you have an acute or chronic infection, you must be tested for hepatitis B over a six-month period. The specific test that indicates if you are infected is the hepatitis B surface antigen test. This antigen covers the surface of the virus and there are usually lots of HBsAg in your blood when youre infected. If you test positive for HBsAg for longer than six months, it means you have a chronic hepatitis B infection.
Should I Be Screened For Hepatitis C
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.
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Why Is It So Important To Take Hepatitis C Drugs Correctly
Taking any medicine correctly is extremely important. Taking medicines correctly means:
For hepatitis C drugs, these issues are especially important because, if a medicine is not taken correctly, it may not kill the virus completely. Then, because the virus has “seen” the drug, it learns how to mutate and change in ways that allow it to escape the drug and avoid getting killed off. This is called drug resistance.
Developing drug resistance is a serious issue. It means that the treatment may not work and that the patient may not respond to future treatments.
To prevent drug resistance, it is important to take any medication correctly, but especially DAAs such as Harvoni, Mavyret, Epclusa, and Zepatier.
Resistance can develop quickly. It is very important to take these new antiviral medications according to instructions, on schedule, and not to skip or reduce doses.
How Are Hepatitis C And Hiv Connected
People living with HIV are at higher risk for hepatitis C. Of the 1.2 million people living with HIV in the U.S., about 1 in 4 also have hepatitis C.
Having both HIV and hepatitis C means increased risk for liver disease, liver failure and liver-related death from hepatitis C. Because hepatitis is often serious in people living with HIV and may lead to liver damage more quickly, the CDC recommends people living with, or at risk for HIV, also get tested for hepatitis C.
How Do I Know If I Have Acute Or Chronic Viral Hepatitis
Hepatitis A, B, and C all start out as an acute infection. Some acute infections can develop into lifelong, chronic infections. Your doctor may do a blood test to see if the infection is acute or chronic.
- Hepatitis A causes acute infection only. Most people recover with no lasting health problems.
- Hepatitis B and C can cause both acute and chronic infections. Some people recover from the acute infection and cannot spread the infection to others. For other people, the infection develops into a chronic infection and can be spread to others.
When Your Child Has Hepatitis C Infection
Hepatitis is an inflammation of the liver. Many things can cause it. One of the causes is infection with a virus called the hepatitis C virus . In some cases, hepatitis C goes away on its own. But for most people, hepatitis C is a chronic problem. Hepatitis C almost never causes symptoms until later in the disease. Even so, hepatitis C can cause severe liver damage over time. And a child who has it can pass the virus to others.
How Do Doctors Treat The Complications Of Hepatitis C
If hepatitis C leads to cirrhosis, you should see a doctor who specializes in liver diseases. Doctors can treat the health problems related to cirrhosis with medicines, surgery, and other medical procedures. If you have cirrhosis, you have an increased chance of liver cancer. Your doctor may order an ultrasound test to check for liver cancer.
If hepatitis C leads to liver failure or liver cancer, you may need a liver transplant.
Contrary To What You May Have Heard Hepatitis C Isn’t Spread Through Casual Contact
An estimated 2.4 million people have hepatitis C, but the majority may not be aware theyre carrying the virus, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention . This is, in part, because only a fraction of newly infected people experience symptoms, such as fatigue, stomach pain, or a loss of appetite, many of which are mild and unlikely to warrant a visit to the doctor, says the CDC.
And although some people who catch the virus will naturally rid their bodies of the infection, more than 50 percent will go on to develop chronic, or long-term, hepatitis C, which can last a lifetime if not treated, according to the CDC.
Unfortunately, many people arent being screened for the virus. In the past, the CDC recommended that members of the baby boomer generation or, adults born between 1945 and 1965 be screened for hepatitis C at least once. Many in this at-risk group could have been infected through a blood transfusion or organ transplant that was done before widespread screening of the blood supply began in 1992.
But in 2020, the CDC began recommending that people of every generation be screened for the virus at least once. Thats because new data showed that millennials made up about 37 percent of new hepatitis C cases in 2018, whereas baby boomers made up about 36 percent of new cases. Generation X made up 23.1 percent of new cases. The CDC also tells women to be tested during every pregnancy.
Life Expectancy And Prognosis
Can you die from hepatitis? Technically, the complications of chronic hepatitis C are fatal. About 30,000 people in the U.S. die each year from cirrhosis.
How long can you live with untreated hep C? The disease affects everyone differently, so thereâs no rule. But about 70% to 80% of people with will get chronic help C. Within 20 years, about 20% to 30% of those people will get cirrhosis. From there, it depends on what type of cirrhosis you have, your treatment, and if you can get a liver transplant.
Can hepatitis C go away on its own? Yes. From 15% to 20% of people with hep C clear it from their bodies without treatment. Itâs more likely to happen in women and people who have symptoms. But it usually happens between 4 and 18 months after symptoms start.
American Liver Foundation Hep C 123: âFrequently Asked Questions.â
Gastroenterology: âExtrahepatic morbidity and mortality of chronic hepatitis C.â
National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases: âHepatitis C.â
Therapeutic Advances in Infectious Disease: âExtrahepatic Manifestations of Chronic Hepatitis C Virus Infection.â
The Hepatitis C Support Project: âAn Overview of Extrahepatic Manifestations of Hepatitis C.â
BioDrugs: âManagement of hepatitis C virus-related arthritis.â
Frontiers in Endocrinology: âDiabetes and Hepatitis C: A Two-Way Association.â
U.S. National Library of Medicine: âAtherosclerosis,â âPreventing Hepatitis B or C.â
Reasons To Delay Treatment
Hepatitis C treatment is generally not recommended during pregnancy. There is not a lot of information on the effects of DAAs during pregnancy. Research is being done on taking DAAs during pregnancy so this may change in the future.
Treatment that includes ribavirin can cause severe birth defects and must not be taken during pregnancy. When a couple wants to have a baby, both partners should avoid using ribavirin for at least six months before trying to get pregnant.
A healthcare provider can help determine a treatment plan and timeline for a person who has hepatitis C and wants to have a baby.
Children and adolescents
Hepatitis C treatment for children over the age of 12 is available in Canada. It is recommended that children who require treatment for hepatitis C be connected to a specialist with experience treating the pediatric population.
Resources for service providers
If You Have Hepatitis C Should You Get A Flu Shot
Yes. Having chronic hepatitis C is actually a good reason to get the flu shot. Chronic hepatitis C is a condition that can increase your risk of complications if you do get influenza. That’s why it is recommended for people with hepatitis C, and most chronic liver diseases, to be vaccinated against the flu.
To stay up to date with your influenza vaccinations, you need to be vaccinated every year–ideally, early in the flu season or as soon as the vaccine becomes available. Typically, flu season is considered to be October to March. It’s best to get vaccinated annually because the vaccine is designed differently each year to target the strains of influenza that are expected to circulate during that particular flu season.
How Do You Get Hepatitis A
Hepatitis A is found in an infected persons stool .
Hepatitis A is spread through:
- Eating or drinking contaminated food or water
- You can get hepatitis A by eating food prepared by a person with the virus who didnt wash his or her hands after using the bathroom and then touched the food.
- You can get hepatitis A by eating raw or undercooked shellfish that came from sewage-contaminated water.
You are more likely to get hepatitis A if you travel out of the country to a developing country with poor sanitation or without access to clean water and have not gotten vaccinated for hepatitis A. Ask your doctor if you need a hepatitis A vaccination.
What Are The Symptoms Of Hepatitis C Infection
HCV almost never causes symptoms. This means someone can have it for years without knowing. If any symptoms do occur, they will likely be mild. They can include:
Pain in the upper right abdomen
Upset stomach, vomiting, or diarrhea
Blood in vomit or stool
Why Do All Baby Boomers Need To Be Tested For Viral Hepatitis
The CDC recommends that all Americans born between 1945 and 1965 get a one-time test for hepatitis C. This is because three in four adults with hepatitis C are baby boomers, and most baby boomers do not know they have it.
Its likely that many baby boomers with hepatitis C were infected many years ago before the blood supply was tested for hepatitis C.
How Do You Test For Hepatitis C
A simple blood test carried out by a healthcare professional will show whether you have the virus. You may also be given an extra test to see if your liver is damaged.
If youve got hepatitis C you should be tested for other STIs. It’s important that you tell your recent sexual partner/s so they can also get tested and treated. Many people who have hepatitis C do not notice anything wrong, and by telling them you can help to stop the virus being passed on. It can also stop you from getting the infection again.