Ways To Catch Hepatitis C
Hepatitis C is passed on through infected blood. Most people in Europe who get hepatitis C are injecting drug users who have caught the infection by sharing contaminated needles. Hepatitis C can also be passed on by tattooing, body piercing and acupuncture, if these are done in unsterile conditions.
Pregnant women with hepatitis C may pass the infection on to their babies.
In the past, blood transfusions could be a way of catching hepatitis C. Now, all blood donors should be screened and all blood products tested to stop this from happening. People on renal dialysis may be at higher risk.
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Managing Symptoms When Hepatitis Gets Worse
Your doctor will help you manage specific symptoms like itchy skin or pain. You can also make lifestyle changes that can help you feel better and might stop further damage to your liver.
Eat a balanced diet. No matter how advanced your cirrhosis, a well-balanced, nutritious diet is one of the best ways to stay healthy. If you have fluid buildup, your doctor may tell you to cut back on salt.
Avoid alcohol and certain medications, supplements, and herbs. Ask your doctor what’s safe for you.
What Is Fatty Liver Disease
As the name implies, fatty liver disease occurs when fat deposits build up in your liver. The fat in the liver can damage it, causing inflammation and scarring, explains Rena Fox, M.D., a professor of general internal medicine at the University of California, San Francisco, and a UCSF Health hepatitis specialist. Although doctors still arent sure exactly what causes it, NAFLD is linked to obesity, insulin resistance, high blood sugar, and high triglycerides levels.
There are different types of fatty liver disease, but NAFLD is the most common, affecting 30% to 40% of adults in the United States, according to the National Institutes of Health . While some types of fatty liver disease are linked to heavy alcohol use, people with NAFLD are not over-drinkers.
One of the challenging things about this disease is that it can be hard to detect, since it often has no obvious symptoms until the liver damage is already extensive. When someone is at a very advanced stage, they may have some pain in the upper-right part of the abdomen, and they may feel tired, says Dr. Fox. At a very late stage, they could have fluid in the abdomen, and they could develop yellowing of the eyes and skin. We want to help patients avoid getting to this point.
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How A Liver Becomes Fatty
It is unclear how a liver becomes fatty. The fat may come from other parts of your body, or your liver may absorb an increased amount of fat from your intestine. Another possible explanation is that the liver loses its ability to change fat into a form that can be eliminated. However, the eating of fatty foods, by itself, doesnt produce a fatty liver.
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Blood Donations Before September 1991
Since September 1991, all blood donated in the UK is checked for the hepatitis C virus.
There’s a small chance you may have been infected with hepatitis C if:
- you received a blood transfusion or blood products before September 1991
- you received an organ transplant before 1992
Before 1992 donated organs were not routinely screened for hepatitis C and there is a very small risk a donated organ from someone with hepatitis C could spread the infection.
There are blood tests to check for hepatitis C infection
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Hepatitis C And Injecting Drugs
If you inject drugs, avoid sharing needles, syringes or other equipment such as tourniquets, spoons, swabs or water.
Where possible, always use sterile needles and syringes. These are available free of charge from needle and syringe programs and some pharmacists. To find out where you can obtain free needles, syringes and other injecting equipment, contact DirectLine
Try to wash your hands before and after injecting. If you cant do this, use hand sanitiser or alcohol swabs from a needle and syringe program service.
Are Hepatitis B And C Preventable
Hepatitis B is a vaccine-preventable disease.
There is a three-shot vaccination series that is very effective in protecting people against the virus if theyre exposed. In the United States, all newborns are vaccinated for hepatitis B and all pregnant women are screened for hepatitis B during pregnancy. This way, mothers infected with hepatitis B can take protective steps to decrease the risk of transmission of the virus to the child.
There is no vaccine for hepatitis C.
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Increase Your Activity Level
If your doctor recommends weight loss to improve the health of your liver, exercise is one method to do that. But the benefits of exercise extend beyond weight loss and weight management.
Aside from reducing overall body fat, exercise can help decrease fat around your liver. Regular exercise can also boost your mood, as well as your energy levels.
For best results, aim for
Diagnosis And Screening Of Hepatitis C
Testing that identifies antibodies to the hepatitis C virus in the blood reveals that the person has a current or past infection. If this test is positive, then another test to look for the presence of the virus in the blood should be done to determine if there is a currently active infection.
Screening for hepatitis C is recommended for all individuals in Canada born between 1945 and 1975, as well those who have one or more of the risk factors described above and/or abnormalities in liver enzyme tests. Other people may benefit from testing if in doubt, ask your healthcare provider.
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What Makes Yale Medicine’s Approach To Treating Hepatitis B And C Unique
The Viral Hepatitis Program at Yale Medicine represents one of the leading viral hepatitis treatment programs in the country and is engaged in innovative research focused on advancing the care of patients with chronic hepatitis B, C and D infections.
A multidisciplinary team of faculty physicians and mid-level providers offer a coordinated approach to preparing patients for success. Services include structured hepatitis patient education classes, mindfulness-based stress reduction techniques , a formal physician-guided weight-loss program and access to clinical trials evaluating current and new therapies that are not available in routine clinical practice.
Our program is a core member of several national and international observational cohort studies which contributes to the advancement of science of hepatitis treatment around the world.
“Our team at Yale Medicine is uniquely equipped to serve patients with viral hepatitis from Connecticut and beyond and aims to offer outstanding, individualized, patient-centered care to help educate and guide patients through their treatment,” says Dr. Lim. We have specialists who have nationally recognized expertise in the management of viral hepatitis in special populations, including HCV-HIV coinfection, end-stage renal disease, cirrhosis/liver failure, post-liver transplant, and prior failure to respond to all-oral direct acting antivirals .
Classification Of Chronic Hepatitis
Cases of chronic hepatitis were once classified histologically as chronic persistent, chronic lobular, or chronic active hepatitis. Current classification specifies the following:
Intensity of histologic inflammation and necrosis
Inflammation and necrosis are potentially reversible fibrosis usually is not.
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How Can I Cover Medication Costs
New therapies called direct-acting antivirals are effective and can achieve cures of over 90%. Because these new therapies are very new, they remain very expensive. As such, drug coverage from both government and private companies may require that your liver disease has progressed to a certain stage before they are willing to cover the cost of these drugs.
Talk with your healthcare provider about financial support that may be available.
Below are useful resources when looking for financial assistance:Private health insurance or drug plansIf you have private health insurance or a drug plan at work, you may be able to have the medication paid through your plan. Please consult your private health insurance or drug plan provider to see if your drug is covered.
Publicly funded plansEach provincial and territorial government offers a drug benefit plan for eligible groups. Some are income-based universal programs. Most have specific programs for population groups that may require more enhanced coverage for high drug costs. These groups include seniors, recipients of social assistance, and individuals with diseases or conditions that are associated with high drug costs. For more details, please contact your provincial or territorial health care ministry, or click on the appropriate link below.
Available Patient Assistance Programs for Hepatitis C treatment Holkira Pak Maviret
MerckCare Hepatitis C Program 1 872-5773 Zepatier
What Are The Symptoms
Medical officials have said that a number of cases began with gastrointestinal symptoms such as stomach pains, diarrhea and vomiting. The children later exhibited signs of jaundice, where the skin and whites around the eyes turn yellow. Jaundice is an indication that something is wrong with the liver, and medical advice should be sought immediately.
Other common symptoms of hepatitis include fever, fatigue, loss of appetite, nausea, dark urine, light-coloured stools and joint pain.
Dr. Deirdre Kelly, professor of paediatric hepatology at the University of Birmingham, told CTV News on Tuesday that the majority of children have spontaneously recovered.
While this is a serious disease if their child develops it, the chances are they will recover on their own, she said.
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Impact On The Digestive System
A healthy liver is crucial to your health as it supports many other body systems. One function of the liver is to produce bile, a substance needed to break down fats.
Your body stores bile in the gallbladder and then sends it to the beginning section of the small intestine when needed. Bile is then combined with stomach acids and digestive fluids from the pancreas, which helps the intestines absorb nutrients into the bloodstream.
HCV can severely hinder the livers ability to produce bile. Poor bile production can make it difficult and uncomfortable to digest fatty foods.
You also might feel some pain throughout the abdomen from a buildup of fluid in the peritoneal space, which is the space in the abdomen between the organs and the abdominal wall. This is known as ascites, and it develops with cirrhosis. It occurs when the damaged liver doesnt produce enough albumin, a substance that regulates the amount of fluid in cells.
Other digestive symptoms include:
Curative Therapies For Hepatitis C
Current therapy to cure hepatitis C relies on oral antiviral medications taken for 8 to 16 weeks. Injection therapy is no longer used. The duration of therapy and the suitable regimen may depend on disease severity and viral genotype. Recent advancements in hepatitis C therapies have boosted cure rates to greater than 95% for nearly all individuals. Remarkably, tolerability has also improved dramatically, typically with only mild side effects if any at all. The following is an overview of most commonly used therapies in Canada.
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Questions For Your Doctor
When you visit the doctor, you may want to ask questions to get the information you need to manage your hepatitis C. If you can, have a family member or friend take notes. You might ask:
Hepatitis C Cure Rates
Sustained virologic response refers to the inability to detect the hepatitis C virus in the blood 12 and/or 24 weeks after the completion of therapy. If this is achieved, a person is cured of hepatitis C. It is important to note that cure does not protect against re-infection. In addition, if advanced liver fibrosis is present prior to treatment, long-term monitoring including abdominal ultrasound may still be required after virologic cure, in order to screen for liver cancer.
Historically, with older treatment regimens, cure rates would vary significantly based on baseline characteristics including the genotype of hepatitis C, previous treatment experience, and background disease severity. With current generation treatments however, if treatment is optimized, nearly all individuals can expect > 95% cure rates, so long as they remain adherent for the full duration of therapy.
Viral hepatitis, including hepatitis C, is a leading cause of morbidity and mortality worldwide. Canada has committed to the World Health Organizations goal of global elimination of hepatitis C as a public health problem by the year 2030. Achieving this will require increased measures to prevent the spread of the hepatitis C virus, as well as increased testing and subsequent treatment with direct acting antivirals when required. Hepatitis C is a curable condition that could soon be a disease of the past if we commit to appropriate action.
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What Should People Do If They Think They Have Been Exposed To Hcv
People concerned about being exposed to HCV should consult their health care professional about screening for HCV infection. Common tests include:1,9,10
- Antibody detection tests: The antibody detection test determines the presence of antibodies of the virus, indicating exposure to HCV. An antibody is a substance found in the blood that the body produces in response to a virus. A doctor will likely order a second test to confirm whether the virus is still present in the bloodstream.
- Virus detection tests: The virus detection test identifies whether the virus is still present, indicating an active infection of HCV. This test may also be used after treatment to determine if the virus has been eliminated from the body.
- Liver biopsy: A liver biopsy is a procedure to remove a small piece of the liver so it can be examined with a microscope for signs of damage or disease. A liver biopsy is not necessary for diagnosis but is used to determine the severity of the disease and permanent damage. It is also helpful in determining the cause of the damage.
What Are The Treatment Options For Hcv
Currently, the standard of care for the treatment of HCV is pegylated interferon in combination with ribavirin. This combination therapy is typically a 24-week or 48-week course. Research has shown that combination therapy with pegylated interferon and ribavirin can result in undetectable levels of HCV in 40-50 percent of people with genotype 1 and 70-80 percent of people with genotypes 2 and 3.11,12,13,14
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How Many Global Cases And How Serious Are They
Based on numbers compiled by the ECDC in a report on and the WHO on April 23, there are at least 194 cases so far of hepatitis with no known cause in countries including the U.K., Spain, Israel, the U.S., Denmark, Ireland, the Netherlands, Italy, Norway and France.
As of April 21, 114 cases were from the U.K., according to the WHO. As of April 27, there were approximately 55 probable and confirmed cases from a dozen countries within the European Union and European Economic Area, 12 cases from the U.S., and another 12 out of Israel, the ECDC said. Japan has reported one case.
The severe hepatitis for which there is no cause, we rarely see more than about 20, 25 max in the whole year. And weve seen 114 in the first three to four months of this year, Kelly said.
These are perfectly normal children. Theyve got no comorbidities and no other infections and theyre developing severe hepatitis, of which 10 per cent have required liver transplantation.
The 10 per cent figure is based on an earlier tally of cases from the WHO on April 23 that found 17 children required a liver transplant. One child in Britain reportedly died.
The hepatitis cases involve children between the ages of one month and 16 years, health agencies have said, with the majority occurring in young children between the ages of two and five.
What Are The Treatments For Hepatitis C
Treatment for hepatitis C is with antiviral medicines. They can cure the disease in most cases.
If you have acute hepatitis C, your health care provider may wait to see if your infection becomes chronic before starting treatment.
If your hepatitis C causes cirrhosis, you should see a doctor who specializes in liver diseases. Treatments for health problems related to cirrhosis include medicines, surgery, and other medical procedures. If your hepatitis C leads to liver failure or liver cancer, you may need a liver transplant.
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Can Hepatitis C Infection Be Spread By Sexual Contact
Yes, but the risk of getting HCV from sexual contact is believed to be low. The risk increases for those who have multiple sex partners, have a sexually transmitted infection, engage in “rough sex” or other activities that might cause bleeding, or are infected with HIV. More research is needed to understand how and when HCV can be spread by sexual contact.
Symptoms Of Hepatitis A Include Fatigue And Tummy Pain
Hepatitis A is a liver infection caused by the highly contagious Hepatitis A virus. Most people are vaccinated against the virus, and dont need any treatment if they come in contact with it.
The CDC recommends that unvaccinated people who encounter it to get a hepatitis A shot, and possibly an antibody drug, within two weeks of exposure.
Symptoms usually start within 15 to 50 days of coming into contact with the virus.
For most people, symptoms of hepatitis A include fatigue, loss of appetite, tummy pain, nausea, vomiting, yellow skin, dark urine, and pale poop.
Symptoms range in severity and usually last between a few weeks to about two months, without any long-term liver damage.
But in rare cases, the condition can become chronic and lead to liver failure and death. Older people and those with weakened immune systems are at higher risk of severe illness.
Kids younger than 6 years old with hepatitis A dont tend to get symptoms.
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