Identifying The Early Signs Of Hepatitis
Once you discover that you have hepatitis, you must take immediate steps to stop the disease from spreading. If you have recently developed hepatitis, there are treatment options available. However, time is the single most important aspect of this disease because if you wait too long you might develop liver complications. If you find out that you have a type of hepatitis that has progressed to the chronic stage, you must learn how to manage your condition.
You might inadvertently be doing activities that worsen the effects of hepatitis. For instance, people with this ailment should avoid alcohol as it can damage the liver and make it harder for his body to resist infection.
A poor diet can also exacerbate hepatitis.
When you discover that you have hepatitis, you need to adopt a lifestyle that increases the odds of successful treatment. You can do this by improving your diet.
There are three broad categories of hepatitis treatments:
Antiviral medications can be useful in treating hepatitis. The pills are usually taken once a day and work effectively to combat the virus, preventing it from spreading.
The objective of these pills is to eliminate the virus from the infected parts of the body and to stop or slow down damage to his liver. Hopefully this neutralizes the chance of developing cirrhosis and scarring of the liver.
Read Also: Any Cure For Hepatitis B
What Are The Most Common Signs And Symptoms Of Hepatitis C
It sounds strange, but there really are no symptoms of hep C. In fact, about half of people with hep C don’t even know they’re infected, according to the Mayo Clinic.
Those who do have symptoms may experience minor issues like fatigue and muscle aches, which can be chalked up to any number of reasons, like an intense workout or just life in general. But because these symptoms are so ubiquitous, theyre easy to miss, and you likely wouldnt associate them with hep C.
Who Is More Likely To Get Hepatitis C
People more likely to get hepatitis C are those who
- have injected drugs
- had a blood transfusion or organ transplant before July 1992
- have hemophilia and received clotting factor before 1987
- have been on kidney dialysis
- have been in contact with blood or infected needles at work
- have had tattoos or body piercings
- have worked or lived in a prison
- were born to a mother with hepatitis C
- are infected with HIV
- have had more than one sex partner in the last 6 months or have a history of sexually transmitted disease
- are men who have or had sex with men
In the United States, injecting drugs is the most common way that people get hepatitis C.13
Also Check: How Many Kinds Of Hepatitis Are There
What Impact Does Hep C Have On Pregnancy And Expectant Mothers
There is a 4-7% chance of transmission from HCV-positive mother to child during childbirth. Women who have been exposed or are at high risk of HCV should be tested and treated during pregnancy. There are no prophylactic measures that can be taken to prevent transmission during birth. If a child is suspected of being infected they should be tested after 18 months .
HCV is transmitted through blood only, so infected mothers are able to breastfeed if they choose. These women should use caution if they have dry or cracked nipples that could expose the infant to contaminated blood. Read more about STDs and pregnancy here.
Hepatitis C Antibody Test
Certain foreign substances that enter your body trigger your immune system to make antibodies. Antibodies are specifically programmed to only target the foreign substance they were made to fight.
If youve ever had a hepatitis C infection, your body will make hepatitis C antibodies as part of its immune response.
Your body only makes these antibodies if you have hepatitis C or had it in the past. So the hepatitis C antibody test can confirm whether you have the virus by testing for these specific antibodies.
If the antibody test is positive, an HCV RNA test can show whether the infection is current.
While people of any gender experience the same hepatitis C symptoms, 2014 research suggested some effects of the virus may differ, depending on the sex you were assigned at birth.
Researchers noted that:
- women have a higher chance of clearing the virus without treatment
- liver disease may progress more rapidly in men
- men have a higher chance of developing cirrhosis
Also Check: What Is Hepatitis C Antibody Test
What Happens If Someone Has Hepatitis C And Hiv
When someone has both Hepatitis C and HIV, it is often referred to as HCV-HIV co-infection. This means that you have two infections in your body at the same time. HIV, the term for human immunodeficiency virus, is the virus that causes AIDS. You can find more detailed information about HIV and AIDS on several Web sties, including:
HCV-HIV co-infection is fairly common. Overall, about one-third of all Americans infected with HIV also have Hepatitis C. And the rate of co-infection is much higher among injection drug users. More than half of people who have HIV and use injection drugs are also infected with Hepatitis C.
People that are co-infected can be effectively treated. However, since there are two infections to deal with managing them is more complicated. There is no cure for HIV, but it can be controlled. Hepatitis C can be treated successfully. Working closely with a doctor who specializes in managing co-infections will give you the best chance for successful treatment.
There are specific risks associated with co-infection. Having HIV, in addition to Hepatitis C, does the following:
- Quickens Hepatitis C disease progression
- Triples the risk for liver disease, liver failure and liver-related death
- Increases the chance that Hepatitis C will be sexually transmitted
- Increases the chance that a mother will infect her unborn child with Hepatitis C
Is The Hepatitis D Vaccine Available
No vaccine is available for hepatitis D. A vaccine for hepatitis B is available, which can, in turn, be helpful in preventing hepatitis D also.
Hepatitis D is a serious condition that can result in serious life-threatening complications. Hepatitis D infection is also termed Delta virus infection. If you are diagnosed with hepatitis D, make healthy choices, and eat a proper healthy diet to protect your liver from further damage. Inform your dentist before taking any dental treatments to avoid the spread of the infection and also avoid coming in close contact with other healthy people to avoid its spread. Chronic hepatitis B can lead to chronic liver infection and can lead to end-stage liver disease and associated complications like accelerated fibrosis, hepatocellular carcinoma, and liver decompensation.
Query:Hello doctor,Two years back, after a routine blood test I was diagnosed with fatty liver due to raised liver enzymes ALT 53 ALP 66 and GGT188. I later underwent a liver scan and the conclusion was Child A Cirrhosis-possibly secondary to NASH. Advised to lose weight with no medication prescribed. Y… Read Full Â»
Most Popular Articles
Read Also: Hepatitis C Ab W/reflex To Hcv Rna Qn Pcr
Should You Get Tested For Hepatitis C
Since you can live with hep C for decades without knowing itit can take 10 to 40 years for hep C to progress from mild disease to cirrhosis, liver failure or liver cancerthe Centers For Disease Control and Prevention recommends a one-time blood screening test for anyone born between 1945 and 1965. This population is more at risk of having received a tainted blood transfusion.
Hepatitis C can only be diagnosed through a simple blood test called an HCV antibody test. True to its name, it looks for antibodies, proteins released into the bloodstream, that show up in someone infected with the hep C virus. If you have a positive HCV antibody test, youll then be given a follow-up HCV RNA test to learn whether you have an active infection.
Preventing The Spread Of Hepatitis C
There is no vaccine available to prevent a person from being infected with hepatitis C. Recommended behaviours to prevent the spread of the virus include:
- Always use sterile injecting equipment. This can be accessed from your local needle and syringe program service.
- Avoid sharing personal items such as toothbrushes, razors, nail files or nail scissors, which can draw blood.
- If you are involved in body piercing, tattooing, electrolysis or acupuncture, always ensure that any instrument that pierces the skin is either single use or has been cleaned, disinfected and sterilised since it was last used.
- If you are a healthcare worker, follow standard precautions at all times.
- Wherever possible, wear single-use gloves if you give someone first aid or clean up blood or body fluids.
- Although hepatitis C is not generally considered to be a sexually transmissible infection in Australia, you may wish to consider safe sex practices if blood is going to be present, or if your partner has HIV infection. You may wish to further discuss this issue and personal risks with your doctor.
Read Also: What Does Hepatitis Feel Like
Hiv And Hepatitis C Coinfection
HCV infection is common among people with HIV who also inject drugs. Nearly 75% of people living with HIV who report a history of injection drug use are co-infected with HCV. All people who are diagnosed with HIV are recommended to be tested for HCV at least once. People living with HIV are at greater risk for complications and death from HCV infection. Fortunately, direct acting antivirals that are used to treat HCV work equally well in people with and without HIV infection. For more information about HIV and HCV coinfection, visit the HIV.govs pages about hepatitis C and HIV coinfection.
Read Also: Treatment Of Hepatitis C Virus Infection
How Do People Get Hepatitis C
Hepatitis C virus is found in the blood of people with HCV infection. It enters the body through blood-to-blood contact.
Until reliable blood tests for HCV were developed , people usually got hepatitis C from blood products and blood transfusions. Now that blood and blood products are tested for HCV, this is no longer the typical means of infection.
Currently, people usually get hepatitis C by sharing needles for injection drug use. An HCV-infected woman can pass the infection to her baby during birth. It is also possible to get hepatitis C from an infected person through sexual contact, an accidental needlestick with a contaminated needle, or improperly sterilized medical, acupuncture, piercing, or tattooing equipment.
Recommended Reading: Primary Biliary Cirrhosis And Autoimmune Hepatitis
Chronic Hepatitis C Symptoms
If you donât get diagnosed and treated, you could have the disease for years and not know it. Doctors call this the chronic form, because it lasts a long time. Some people who’ve had it for a while get scarring of the liver, which is called cirrhosis. or liver cancer.
In addition to the above symptoms, signs that your liver isnât working the way it should include:
- Ascites — fluid buildup in your belly
- Hepatic encephalopathy — confusion, drowsiness, and slurred speech
- Jaundice of the skin
Top Results For Hepatitis C Signs And Symptoms
Hepatitis C is a sneaky virus. You may not have any symptoms at all. Most people donât. This is one if the reasons, along with treatability now, that all adults are recommended to get tested. Your doctor could check your liver and see only a little damage. Youre usually not diagnosed until they spot a problem with your liver enzymes after a routine blood test.
Don’t Miss: Does Medicare Cover Hepatitis C Screening
What Is Hepatitis D
Hepatitis D is the inflammation of the liver caused by the hepatitis D virus. It is a defective RNA virus this virus needs HBV for its replication. It is a serious condition that only affects people who already have a history of hepatitis B infection. It occurs as coinfection with acute hepatitis B or as a superinfection in chronic hepatitis B.
How Can Hcv Be Prevented
Persons who use or inject illegal drugs should be advised to:
- Stop using and injecting drugs
- Enter and complete substance abuse treatment, including relapse prevention programs or
- If continuing to inject drugs to:
- Never reuse or share syringes, needles, water, or drug preparation equipment if injection equipment has been used by other persons, clean with bleach and water
- Use only syringes obtained from a reliable source
- Use a new sterile syringe to prepare and inject drugs
- Use sterile water to prepare drugs, otherwise use clean water from a reliable source
- Use a new or disinfected container and a new filter to prepare drugs
- Clean the injection site with a new alcohol swab prior to injection and
- Safely dispose of syringes after one use.
Persons diagnosed with a sexually transmitted disease or who are sexually active should be advised to:
- Have sex with only one partner or not at all
- Use latex condoms correctly during every sexual encounter and
- Get vaccinated against HBV .
You May Like: How Is Hepatitis B Diagnosed
Symptoms Of Hepatitis C
Hepatitis C often does not have any noticeable symptoms until the liver has been significantly damaged.
This means many people have the infection without realising it.
When symptoms do occur, they can be mistaken for another condition.
Symptoms can include:
- feeling and being sick
The only way to know for certain if these symptoms are caused by hepatitis C is to get tested.
What Is The Treatment Provided For Hepatitis D
Hepatitis D has no cure. It can only be prevented from being severe and can be managed to control the severity of the disease.
As soon as the detection of hepatitis D is done, you should contact your health care provider immediately to avoid further complications.
Pegylated interferon-alpha is generally recommended for hepatitis D virus infection this medication is taken once daily by mouth.
This treatment may last at least 48 weeks, irrespective of the patient’s response.
Most of the time, viruses tend to give a low rate of response to the treatment, but the treatment is associated with a lower likelihood of progression of the disease.
More concentration on the need to reduce the burden of chronic hepatitis B is seen.
The treatment with minimal side effects or no side effects is recommended to compensate for conditions like cirrhosis , autoimmune disease , and active psychiatric conditions.
What Should Be Done After A Person Is Exposed To Hcv
- Follow-up of occupational HCV exposures:
- Perform anti-HCV testing of source patient.
- For the person exposed to an HCV-positive source:
- Perform baseline testing for anti-HCV, ALT activity, with follow-up testing at 4-6 months .
- Confirm all positive anti-HCV results obtained by enzyme immunoassay using HCV RNA testing.
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
Recommended Reading: Causative Agent For Hepatitis C
Can Hepatitis C Be Cured
Unlike Hepatitis A and Hepatitis B, a vaccine for Hepatitis C is not available.
However, treatment options are available and Hepatitis C may be cured .
Learn more about your treatment options and speak to your healthcare provider today.
The Hepatitis C virus is considered cured if the virus is not detected in your blood when measured with a blood test 3 months after treatment is completed. This is called a sustained virologic response and data suggest that you will stay virus free indefinitely.
Try to keep yourself as healthy as possible, keep your medical appointments and get regular check-ups. Remember that you could become re-infected if you expose yourself to high-risk situations such as injection drug use, and so do everything possible to avoid these situations. Speak with a substance abuse counselor if needed.
Stages Of Hepatitis C
The hepatitis C virus affects people in different ways and has several stages:
- Incubation period. This is the time between first exposure to the start of the disease. It can last anywhere from 14 to 80 days, but the average is 45
- Acute hepatitis C. This is a short-term illness that lasts for the first 6 months after the virus enters your body. After that, some people who have it will get rid of, or clear, the virus on their own.
- Chronic hepatitis C. For most people who get hepatitis C — up to 85% — the illness moves into a long-lasting stage . This is called a chronic hepatitis C infection and can lead to serious health problems like liver cancer or cirrhosis.
- Cirrhosis. This disease leads to inflammation that, over time, replaces your healthy liver cells with scar tissue. It usually takes about 20 to 30 years for this to happen, though it can be faster if you drink alcohol or have HIV.
- Liver cancer. Cirrhosis makes liver cancer more likely. Your doctor will make sure you get regular tests because there are usually no symptoms in the early stages.
Learn more about the stages and progression of hepatitis C.
You May Like: What Does Hepatitis C Do To Your Body