How Should I Take Care Of Myself If I Have Hepatitis C
Good health habits are essential for those who have hepatitis C. You should especially avoid alcohol and medicines and drugs that can put stress on the liver. You should eat a healthy diet and start exercising regularly. Your family doctor can help you plan a diet that is healthy and practical.
Talk to your doctor about any medicines that you are taking, including over-the-counter medicine. Many medicines, including acetaminophen , are broken down by the liver. Because of this, they may increase the speed of liver damage. You should also limit alcohol use. It speeds the progression of liver diseases like hepatitis C. An occasional alcoholic drink may be okay, but check with your doctor first.
Testing For Hepatitis C
Hepatitis C is usually diagnosed using 2 blood tests: the antibody test and the PCR test. These can be as part of a routine blood test or are often combined as a dried blood spot test. The dried blood spot test is similar to a blood sugar test in pricking the finger to get a blood spot that is put on a testing card. This is then sent to a laboratory to be tested.
Another similar test is an antigen test, which if used can often get the results back in 90 minutes. This is very expensive and not many services have access to the machine needed.
Why Should People Take Antiviral Medications For Hepatitis C
The purpose of taking antiviral medications for hepatitis C is to:
- remove all the hepatitis C virus from your body permanently
- stop or slow down the damage to your liver
- reduce the risk of developing cirrhosis
- reduce the risk of developing liver cancer
- reduce the risk of liver failure and the need for a liver transplant
Read Also: What Is Hepatitis B Vaccine For
Can Hepatitis C Be Prevented Or Avoided
The only way to prevent hepatitis C is to avoid coming in contact with an infected persons blood. Always have protected sex . Dont do intravenous drugs. Dont share personal care items with a person who has hepatitis C. If youre a health care worker, follow your workplaces standard safety practices.
Who Is At Risk For Hepatitis C
HCV is more common in adults than in kids. Rates of HCV infection in the United States almost tripled from 2010 to 2015, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention .
Most of these new infections are in young adults who inject drugs. Many of them went from abusing prescription drugs to injecting heroin, which often is cheaper and easier to get. Health experts worry that more newborns will be at risk for HCV because so many young women are part of this group.
Recommended Reading: What Does Hepatitis C Mean
Key Points About Alcoholic Hepatitis
- Hepatitis is inflammation of the liver that leads to liver cell damage and cell death.
- Alcoholic hepatitis is caused by drinking too much alcohol. The liver breaks down alcohol and if, over time, you drink more alcohol than the liver can process, it can become seriously damaged.
- Alcoholic hepatitis usually develops over time with continued drinking. Severe alcoholic hepatitis can develop suddenly and quickly lead to liver failure and death.
- You must completely stop drinking alcohol and may need an alcohol treatment program. Sometimes diet changes are recommended, too. Treatment involves reducing the symptoms and halting the progression of the disease.
What Happens When You Die
It is important that all of us with hepatitis C should be made aware of what happens to us in the event of our death, although it is unlikely for the majority of people with hepatitis C to actually die from any complications that arise from their infection.
However because hepatitis C is classified as an infectious disease there are a number of issues it is important for you and your family to be aware of.
In many cases your HCV+ status may not come to light or be declared when you pass away. People are not tested for hepatitis C as a matter of course when they die, but their status may either become apparent from the way they died for example, with end stage liver disease or, if you die of something unrelated or sudden for example a heart attack, then an autopsy will be required.
The autopsy might reveal liver damage in which case additional tests may be run to establish the cause of that. Your status may also be revealed by your medical records if they are examined in the course of determining the cause of death.
In some cases an actual diagnosis may not come until after death, given that many people living with hepatitis C are unaware that they have it.
Special arrangements by undertakers in dealing with infectious diseases
Irrespective of our state of health in life, all of us with hepatitis C will be treated with extreme caution by those who take care of us in death if our hepatitis C status is known to mortuary and/or undertaker staff.
Recommended Reading: Hepatitis C And Liver Disease
Treatments For Hepatitis C
Hepatitis C can be treated with medicines that stop the virus multiplying inside the body. These usually need to be taken for several weeks.
Until recently, most people would have taken 2 main medicines called pegylated interferon and ribavirin .
Tablet-only treatments are now available.
These new hepatitis C medicines have been found to make treatment more effective, are easier to tolerate, and have shorter treatment courses.
They include simeprevir, sofosbuvir and daclatasvir.
Using the latest medications, more than 90% of people with hepatitis C may be cured.
But it’s important to be aware that you will not be immune to the infection and should take steps to reduce your risk of becoming infected again.
When To Seek Medical Advice
See your GP if you persistently have any of the later symptoms above, or if they keep returning. They may recommend having a blood test that can check for hepatitis C. Read more about diagnosing hepatitis C.
None of the symptoms above mean you definitely have hepatitis C, but it’s important to get them checked out.
You should also speak to your GP about getting tested if there’s a risk you’re infected, even if you don’t have any symptoms. This particularly includes people who inject drugs or have done so in the past.
Read about the causes of hepatitis C for more information about who’s at risk of having the infection.
Don’t Miss: Hepatitis A Shots At Costco
How Can The World End Viral Hepatitis By 2030 5 Experts Explain
- World Hepatitis Day is July 28, 2021.
- More than 1 million people die from hepatitis B and C every year.
- We asked four experts for their proposals to eliminate hepatitis.
More than 1.1 million people die from hepatitis B and C every year. An estimated 296 million people worldwide are living with hepatitis B, but only 2% of those are receiving treatment. For hepatitis C, which is curable, only 21% of the 58 million people worldwide who are affected by the disease are diagnosed, and fewer than two-thirds of those are on treatment.
Nonetheless, despite the scale of the problem, remarkable progress is being made against viral hepatitis. The number of people receiving treatment for hepatitis C increased nine-fold between 2015 and 2019. Between 2014 and 2020, Egypt, which had the highest rates of hepatitis in the world, screened 50 million people and treated 4 million people and is poised to eliminate hepatitis C within its borders.
Indeed, viral hepatitis is one of the few major endemic diseases worldwide where the 2030 targets to eliminate it as a public health threat could be realized. In doing so, according to estimates from the World Health Organization, 4.5 million deaths could be prevented in just the next nine years.
How is the World Economic Forum bringing data-driven healthcare to life?
The project is a collaboration between entities in the UK , Australia , Canada , and the US .
Are There Ways To Cure Hepatitis C Other Than With Medications
Patients sometimes ask whether there are ways to treat hepatitis C other than taking medicines. Currently, there are no vaccines to prevent hepatitis C. Once a person is infected, the only way to treat it is with prescribed antiviral medications.
Some patients worry that having hepatitis C means they will need a liver transplant. Only a very small fraction of people with hepatitis C require a liver transplant. By far, most people with hepatitis C never need a liver transplant. A transplant is performedonlywhen damage to the liver is extremely advanced and the liver is unable to perform its basic functions. A transplant provides a new working liver, but a transplant does not get rid of the hepatitis C virus in the patient. Patients with a liver transplant still need antiviral medication to cure their virus.
Also Check: Hepatitis B How Do You Catch It
What Are The Symptoms Of Hepatitis C
During the acute phase most persons have no symptoms or might experience a mild illness. Symptoms of acute HCV infection, when present, may include:
- Dark-colored urine, light-colored stools
During the chronic phase hepatitis C usually progresses silently, with no symptoms at all during the first 10-20 years. Signs of severe liver scarring may include:
- Star-shaped vein pattern developing on the swollen belly
- Easy bruising and bleeding
Because symptoms of hepatitis C are usually absent, persons with risk for HCV infection should be tested. The blood test for hepatitis C infection is called the hepatitis C antibody test. People who have hepatitis C infection will show positive antibodies on this test. In many cases, it is necessary to confirm a positive hepatitis C antibody test with a more specific test, such as a test for HCV virus RNA.
If you think you have hepatitis C or have risk for hepatitis C, you should contact your doctor. The Communicable Disease Control Unit may be able to help answer your questions.
Hepatitis C Symptoms & Treatment
Hepatitis C is found in infected blood. It is also rarely found in semen and vaginal fluids.
Hepatitis C is mainly passed on through using contaminated needles and syringes or sharing other items with infected blood on them. It can also be passed on through unprotected sex, especially when blood is present.
You can prevent hepatitis C by never sharing needles and syringes, practising safer sex, and avoiding unlicensed tattoo parlours and acupuncturists.
Hepatitis C will often not have any noticeable symptoms, but a simple blood test carried out by a healthcare professional will show whether you have hepatitis C.
In the early stages, some peoples bodies can clear a hepatitis C infection on their own, others may develop chronic hepatitis C and will need to take antiviral treatment to cure the infection.
Without treatment, chronic hepatitis C can lead to permanent liver damage.
Hepatitis C is part of a group of hepatitis viruses that attack the liver.
Its mainly passed on through contaminated needles, either from injecting drugs or from needle stick injuries in healthcare settings. It can also be transmitted sexually, especially during anal sex or other types of sex that may involve blood.
Some groups are more at risk of getting hepatitis C than others, including people who use drugs, people in prisons, men who have sex with men, health workers and people living with HIV.
You May Like: Can You Get Hepatitis C Sexually
Which Is More Dangerous Hepatitis B Or C
4.8/5hepatitis Bmorehepatitis Chepatitis Chepatitis B
Likewise, people ask, which Hepatitis is deadly?
There are 3 main types of hepatitis: hepatitis A, B, and C. Hepatitis C can be more severe and is the most deadly, but even those with acute illness can recover without lasting liver damage. Up to 70% of those chronically infected with hepatitis C develop chronic liver disease, and up to 20% develop cirrhosis.
Also Know, what is the difference between HEP a B and C? The most significant difference between hepatitis B and hepatitis C is that people may get hepatitis B from the bodily fluids of an infected person. Hepatitis C usually only spreads through blood-to-blood contact.
Also question is, which is more dangerous hepatitis A or B?
âHepatitis A virus can cause acute liver disease, but can heal within a few months. It can cause high spiking fevers and is more severe in adults than in children,â says Gulati. âHepatitis B virus has an 85 percent recovery rate, while 15 percent develop cirrhosis or cancer of the liver.â
Is Hepatitis an STD?
Hepatitis B is a serious infection of the liver caused by a virus. The virus is found in blood, semen, vaginal fluids and saliva. Hepatitis B is the only sexually transmitted disease that has a safe and effective vaccine to protect against infection.
What Is Hepatitis C Again
Hepatitis is, essentially, inflammation of the liver, and when your liver is inflamed or damaged, it wont function the way it should, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention which means that it may not help your body digest food, store energy, and remove poisons the way it’s meant to.
There are three major forms of hepatitis that are more common in the US: hepatitis A, B, and Ceach of which is spread through a different virus. It can also be caused by drug or alcohol use, per the US National Library of Medicine .
Hepatitis C in particular can be divided into two categories: acute and chronic. Acute hepatitis C happens within the first six months after youre exposed to the hepatitis C virus, the CDC says, and some people’s bodies are able to fight off the infectionsymptoms of which can include dark yellow urine, fatigue, fever, and jaundice.
Generally speaking, people become infected with hepatitis C through blood-to-blood contact with an infected personthat can include blood transfusions, organ transplants, and IV drug use, says Dr. Adalja. Less commonly, the CDC says you can get hepatitis C through sharing personal care items that may have come into contact with an infected persons blood, like razors or toothbrushes having sexual contact with someone infected with hepatitis C being born to a mother with hepatitis C or getting a tattoo or piercing with an infected needle.
You May Like: How Can You Transmit Hepatitis C
Biggest Risks Of Not Treating Hepatitis C
You feel 100% fine, yet your doctor just told you that you have hepatitis C.
Confused? You are not alone. About 3.2 million people in the United States have chronic hepatitis C virus infection, and most of them dont have a clue. Like you, they feel and look absolutely fine.
With this as the backdrop, you may be questioning whether to even treat your hepatitis C, but the risks of not treating chronic hepatitis C far outweigh any of these concerns.
There are six big risks you take by not treating your hepatitis C today:
What Treatments Are Available For Viral Hepatitis
Many medications are available for the treatment of chronic HBV and HCV infection. For chronic HBV infection, there are several antiviral drugs. People who are chronically infected with HBV require consistent medical monitoring to ensure that the medications are keeping the virus in check and that the disease is not progressing to liver damage or cancer.
There are also antiviral medications available for HCV treatment and new treatments have been approved in recent years. Many antiviral HCV treatments can cure more than 90 percent of people who take them within 8 to 12 weeks. HCV treatment dramatically reduces deaths, and people who are cured are much less likely to develop cirrhosis or liver cancer. However, not everyone infected with HCV needs or can benefit from treatment. NIDA researchers have identified genes that are associated with spontaneous clearance of HCV. These genes also enable people who are unable to clear HCV on their own to respond more favorably to treatment medications. This new information can be used to determine which patients can benefit most from HCV treatment. More studies must be done, but this is a first step to personalized medicine for the treatment of HCV.
Also Check: How Does Hepatitis Affect The Body
What Is Chronic Hepatitis C
Doctors refer to hepatitis C infections as either acute or chronic:
- An acute HCV infection is a short-term illness that clears within 6 months of when a person is exposed to the virus.
- A person who still has HCV after 6 months is said to have a chronic hepatitis C infection. This is a long-term illness, meaning the virus stays in the body and can cause lifelong illness. An estimated 3.2 million people in the U.S. have chronic HCV.
How Do You Get Hepatitis C
The hepatitis C virus is usually spread through blood-to-blood contact.
Some ways the infection can be spread include:
- sharing unsterilised needles particularly needles used to inject recreational drugs
- sharing razors or toothbrushes
- from a pregnant woman to her unborn baby
- through unprotected sex although this is very rare
In the UK, most hepatitis C infections happen in people who inject drugs or have injected them in the past.
It’s estimated around half of those who inject drugs have the infection.
Read Also: How Do You Get Hepatitis A And B
Death Rate Changes Associated With Hepatitis C Virus From 2016 To 2017
From 2016 to 2017, there was a 6.56% decline in the HCV-associated death rate, from 4.42 in 2016 to 4.13 in 2017 . Death rate declines were observed in all regions, but the percentages in death rate declines were significant in Regions 2, 5, and 9. The death rates also declined in 36 jurisdictions, of which the declines were significant for Wisconsin, Idaho, Illinois, Michigan, California, and New York. For 14 jurisdictions, the HCV-associated death rate increased from 2016 to 2017, but the increases were not significant .