Is There A Way To Prevent Hepatitis C
Although currently theres no vaccine to protect people from contracting hepatitis C, there are vaccines for other hepatitis viruses, including hepatitis A and hepatitis B.
If you receive a hepatitis C diagnosis, your healthcare provider may advise you to get vaccinated against hepatitis A and B.
The vaccinations are recommended because these hepatitis viruses can lead to additional health and liver complications, especially in those with preexisting liver disease.
Since you cant prevent hepatitis C through a vaccine, the best prevention is to avoid exposure. Hepatitis C is a bloodborne pathogen, so you can limit your chances of exposure through these healthy lifestyle practices:
- Avoid sharing needles, razor blades, or nail clippers.
- Use proper safety precautions if youll be exposed to bodily fluids, such as when performing first aid.
- Hepatitis C isnt usually transmitted through sexual contact, but its possible. Limit your exposure by practicing sex with a condom or other barrier method. Its also important to openly communicate with sexual partners and to get tested if you suspect youve been exposed to the hepatitis C virus.
Because hepatitis C is transmitted through blood, its possible to contract it through a blood transfusion.
However, since the early 1990s, blood product screening tests have been standard protocol for minimizing the risk of this type of transmission.
Subsequent testing is based on risk. Talk to your doctor about your needs.
Getting Tested For Hepatitis C
Seek medical advice if you have persistent symptoms of hepatitis C or there’s a risk you’re infected, even if you do not have any symptoms.
A blood test can be carried out to see if you have the infection.
GPs, sexual health clinics, genitourinary medicine clinics or drug treatment services all offer testing for hepatitis C.
Early diagnosis and treatment can help prevent or limit any damage to your liver, as well as help ensure the infection is not passed on to other people.
Foods That Cause Fatigue
Going even further with what may be harmful to liver cells, certain foods actually cause or aggravate fatigue. Especially if you are struggling with tiredness due to Hepatitis C infection, make sure to avoid these five foods that increase your likelihood of feeling sleepy:
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Assessment Of `severity’ Of Fatigue
A VAS for fatigue was administered at each clinic visit . The scales were displayed on a computer screen and patients were asked to touch a point along a 10 cm line between None and Worst ever, the position of which best reflected how much fatigue they had experienced during the previous week. The results were sent directly to the Data Coordinating Center, and study personnel were masked to patient responses. The degree of fatigue was scored from 0 to 100 mm by measuring from the start of the line to the patient mark.
Depression was also measured at each clinic visit using a VAS . Analyses of depression during Virahep-C have been published .
Does Everyone Need Hepatitis C Treatment
About one in four people clear hepatitis C on their own , but most people need treatment to cure hepatitis C. When someone doesnt clear the virus within the first six months, they have a chronic hepatitis C infection.
If you have been diagnosed with chronic hepatitis C, you need treatment to be cured. Speak with a nurse or doctor about your treatment options.
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Can Hep C Cause Mental Problems
HCV infection is associated with poorer health-related quality of life, and physical, mental, and social health. A part of impaired health of these patients is related to cirrhosis, intravenous drug use, co morbid psychiatric disorders, stigmatization, poor social support, alcohol abuse, and interferon treatment.
How One Black Man Was Cured Of Hep C Despite Racial Bias
According to the CDC, approximately 10 to 20 percent of people with chronic hepatitis C develop cirrhosis over a period of two to three decades.
People with cirrhosis have a 1 to 5 percent annual risk of developing liver cancer and a 3 to 6 percent risk of hepatic decompensation . Theres a 15 to 20 percent risk of death in the year following the development of decompensation.
Age and gender have been shown to affect how chronic hepatitis C progresses, warns Adalja. It doesnt advance to cirrhosis and liver cancer as quickly in premenopausal women as it does in men, according to a report published in July 2013 in Southern Medical Journal.
Adalja notes that other factors that may accelerate chronic hepatitis C progression, increasing the risk of liver damage. These include HIV or hepatitis B coinfection, alcohol overuse, and cigarette smoking. The symptoms of chronic hepatitis C vary depending on the type of liver damage.
Cirrhosis can produce a variety of symptoms:
- Abdominal bloating from a buildup of fluids
- Swelling in the feet, ankles, or legs
- Spider angiomas
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You May Want To Avoid Supplements
Some supplements, herbs, and over-the-counter drugs can cause liver damage and potentially even liver failure, particularly herbal remedies and bodybuilding supplements, including green tea extract, according to research published in January 2017 in the journal Hepatology. Massoud adds that there are no supplements that can improve the liver, no matter what the claims are.
Nothing can scientifically support, strengthen, or clean the liver, he says, adding that some of them can even be harmful.
When Should You Call Your Doctor
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.
- A home test for hepatitis C virus shows that you have hepatitis C. More testing is needed to find out if you have an active infection.
In most areas, public health units are able to diagnose and provide assessment and treatment of hepatitis C.
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What Does A Hepatitis Panel Involve
Hepatitis panels are simple blood tests. They do not involve any preparation and have a very low risk of side effects.
To perform the test, a healthcare professional will insert a needle into a vein in the arm. They will collect a small blood sample in a test tube and seal it. The needle may sting a little, but the process takes only a few minutes. A person may feel a small amount of pain or bruising around the vein, but this should subside quickly.
People can also get at-home testing kits for hepatitis. These come with a sterile lancet that a person uses to prick their finger to collect the blood sample.
When using at-home kits, be sure to take safety precautions to prevent others from coming into contact with blood. Even dry blood or tiny amounts of blood can potentially transmit HBV or HCV to others.
Dispose of items that come into contact with blood in a sealed bag and wash the blood from the skin using soap. Completely cover the finger prick wound with a sterile dressing until it heals.
- of the population have hepatitis B and have not had a vaccination
- spent time in a facility that had a hepatitis outbreak, such as a hospital or prison
- received a blood transfusion that did not undergo hepatitis screening
In the United States, screening eliminated HCV from donated blood in 1992. People who received blood transfusions before 1992 should ask their doctor for a hepatitis C test.
What Causes Autoimmune Hepatitis
Experts arent sure what causes autoimmune hepatitis. Studies suggest that certain genes make some people more likely to develop autoimmune diseases. In people with these genes, factors in the environment may trigger an autoimmune reaction that causes their immune system to attack the liver.
Researchers are still studying the environmental triggers that play a role in autoimmune hepatitis. These triggers may include certain viruses and medicines.
Some medicines can cause liver injury that resembles autoimmune hepatitis. In most cases, the liver injury goes away when the medicine is stopped. The most common medicines that cause liver injury that resembles autoimmune hepatitis are minocyclinean antibiotic used to treat acneand nitrofurantoinan antibiotic used to treat urinary tract infections. Telling your doctor the names of all the medicines you take, even over-the-counter medicines or herbal or botanical products, is important.
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How To Get Your Anemia Under Control
While you take medicine to treat hepatitis C, your doctor will likely order blood tests every few weeks or months to check your hemoglobin level. If youre at high risk for anemia, you may need blood testing every week.
After a couple of months on treatment, your hemoglobin levels should stabilize. Once you go off the drugs, the anemia will likely go away.
In the meantime, if anemia symptoms bother you, your doctor may lower your dose of ribavirin. Your doctor may stop the drug altogether if your hemoglobin level dips too low.
Your doctor may also prescribe injections of the hormonal medicine epoetin alfa to relieve symptoms of anemia. Epoetin alfa stimulates your bone marrow to produce more red blood cells.
More red blood cells can bring additional oxygen to your body. Possible side effects from these medicines include chills, sweating, and muscle aches.
Although anemia can make you feel tired and cold, it isnt entirely bad. A drop in hemoglobin level has been linked with a sustained virologic response .
A SVR means no trace of the hepatitis C virus is detectable in your blood 6 months after you finish treatment. Essentially, SVR means a cure.
Hepatitis C Viral Load / Hcv Rna Quantitative Testing
The viral load of hepatitis C refers to the amount of virus present in the bloodstream. The quantitative HCV RNA tests measure the amount of hepatitis C virus in the blood. The result will be an exact number, such as 1,215,422 IU/L. Many people refer to the quantitative measurement as the hepatitis C viral load.
Viral load tests are used to confirm active hepatitis C infection and are used during treatment to help determine response. If you have lower levels of virus in your blood when you start treatment, you may have a better chance of getting rid of the virus.
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What The Qualitative Results Mean
The qualitative results indicate that HCV is present in your blood. The test result will be either detected or undetected.
Detected means that you do have the virus in your blood. Undetected means that you dont have the virus in your blood, or you have a tiny amount that cant be detected by this test.
The qualitative test results may still be positive even if your viral load has decreased drastically due to treatment.
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What Is Hepatitis C
Hepatitis C is a virus that injures the liver.
The injury often happens slowly over a long time. You can live for many years with hepatitis C and not know you have it because you dont feel sick or have any symptoms. Over time, hepatitis C can make you very sick.
There are six different strains of the hepatitis C virus and they can all be cured.
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What Are The Symptoms Of Autoimmune Hepatitis
People with autoimmune hepatitis may have some of the following symptoms
- feeling tired
- pain over the liver, in the upper part of the abdomen
- yellowish color of the whites of the eyes and skin, called jaundice
- darkening of the color of urine
- lightening of the color of stools
- skin conditions, such as rash, psoriasis, vitiligo, or acne
When symptoms of autoimmune hepatitis are present, they can range from mild to severe.
Some people with autoimmune hepatitis have no symptoms. In such cases, doctors may find evidence of liver problems during routine blood tests that leads to a diagnosis of autoimmune hepatitis. People without symptoms at diagnosis may develop symptoms later.
Some people with autoimmune hepatitis dont have symptoms until they develop complications due to cirrhosis. These symptoms include
- feeling tired or weak
- bloating from a buildup of fluid in the abdomen, called ascites
- swelling of the lower legs, ankles, or feet, called edema
- itchy skin
Its Different Than Hepatitis A And B
Each form of hepatitis has its own specific virus that spreads and is treated differently. Hepatitis simply means inflammation of the liver, or that the virus has an affinity for hurting the liver, Reau says.
- Hepatitis A is an acute, short-term infection that often does not require treatment.
- Hepatitis B hides deep in the body and, like hepatitis C, is treated in a variety of ways, from antiviral medications to liver transplants.
The viruses are different, but all of them should be taken very seriously since they can lead to significant liver disease and even death, she adds.
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Sticking To Your Epclusa Treatment Plan
Taking your Epclusa tablets exactly as your doctor prescribes is extremely important. Thats because following your treatment plan increases your chances of curing your hepatitis C . It also helps reduce your risk of long-term effects of HCV, such as cirrhosis and liver cancer.
Missing doses can interfere with how well Epclusa treats your hepatitis C. Following your treatment plan increases your chances of having a level of hepatitis C virus thats so low its no longer detectable in your body. When blood tests cant detect the virus anymore, your infection is considered cured.
Be sure to follow your doctors instructions and take Epclusa every day for 12 weeks. Using a reminder tool can be helpful in making sure you take Epclusa each day.
If you have any questions or concerns about your treatment, talk with your doctor. They can help resolve any issues for you and help you get the most out of your treatment.
The Food and Drug Administration approves prescription drugs such as Epclusa to treat certain conditions.
Epclusa For Chronic Hepatitis C
Epclusa is FDA-approved for treating chronic hepatitis C virus . Its approved to treat all six main genotypes of HCV in adults and children ages 3 years and older. Hepatitis C genotypes are different strains, or types, of the virus.
Epclusa can be prescribed for adults as well as children ages 3 years and older. Its approved for use in people who have tried other HCV medications in the past and were unable to clear the virus. Its also used for people who are new to HCV treatment.
People with or without cirrhosis are able to use Epclusa. Cirrhosis is serious scarring in the liver that prevents it from functioning properly. Epclusa is approved for use in people with compensated cirrhosis and decompensated cirrhosis.
is when the liver is close to failure and causing serious health issues. People with decompensated cirrhosis will also need to take ribavirin with Epclusa.
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Can Hepatitis C Be Prevented
There is no vaccine against hepatitis C. The only way to prevent infection is to avoid contact with infected blood.
Hepatitis C cannot be spread by coughing, sneezing or sharing eating utensils. People should not be kept away from school, work, or other social settings because they have hepatitis C.
Here are some precautions that may prevent the spread of hepatitis C:
- Do not share personal care items, such as toothbrushes or razors, with others.
- Practice safe sex by using condoms.
- Dont share needles or syringes.
- Wear gloves when handling another persons blood.
- Use sterile equipment for body piercings or tattoos.
- If you are a healthcare worker, follow recommended safety measures.
People who are at greater risk for contracting hepatitis C should have their blood tested. The Centers for Disease Control recommends that Americans born between 1945 and 1965 be screened at least once for the disease.
How Often Do I Need A Viral Load Test
Understanding the specifics of your viral load is important at the time of diagnosis. Once you begin treatment, follow-up testing will let your doctor know if the current treatment is effective.
Other than that, theres no need for repeat testing. This is because the viral load doesnt provide information about your symptoms or whether your liver is functioning properly. Other liver tests, such as a biopsy, can provide that information.
Certain groups are more vulnerable to contracting HCV. Among them are:
- people on dialysis
- children born to HCV-positive mothers
- anyone who may have had contact with the blood of someone with hepatitis C
The most common methods of HCV transmission are:
- sharing needles and syringes used for injecting drugs
- a mother with hepatitis C transferring HCV to her child during childbirth
Occasionally HCV is transmitted through:
- having sex with someone who has hepatitis C
- getting a tattoo in a place that doesnt have good infection control
- sharing personal care items, such as a razor or toothbrush, with someone who has hepatitis C
Hepatitis C cant be transmitted through:
- coughing or sneezing
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