Skin Signs Of Cirrhosis
Cirrhosis not only affects the liver but also the blood and circulatory system. Abnormal blood clotting accompanied by bleeding and/or dilation of blood vessels near the surface of the skin can cause symptoms like:
- Spider angiomas: Also known as spider veins or spider nevus, these are thin reddish or purplish lines on the skin’s surface that look like a spider’s web.
- Petechiae: These are purplish dots on the skin caused by burst and bleeding capillaries, most often on the lower legs.
- Purpura: Also known as skin hemorrhages or blood spots, these purple-colored spots are larger than petechiae, mainly on the lower legs and ankles.
How Do You Prevent Hepatitis C
Researchers have yet to develop a vaccine that prevents hepatitis C .
Just as you might not know you have hepatitis C, other people with the condition may not know they have it, either. But you can take a few key precautions to avoid contracting it:
- Avoid sharing needles.
- When getting piercings or tattoos, check to make sure the piercer or tattoo artist uses only sterile, unopened needles and ink.
- Avoid sharing nail clippers, razors, and toothbrushes.
- Use sterile gloves when caring for someone elses wound.
Since hepatitis C is transmitted through blood, you wont get it by sharing food and drinks with someone who has the condition or by hugging, touching, or holding hands.
Hepatitis C is not commonly transmitted through sexual contact. But using a condom or another barrier method when having sex can always help lower your chances of contracting a sexually transmitted infection.
Keep in mind that you can contract hepatitis C again, even if youve had it already.
Diagnosis Of The Hepatitis C Virus
Initially, the doctor will perform a blood test to determine whether or not there is any infection present. If an infection is detected, the doctor will then order an ultrasound test to see whether there are any signs of cirrhosis or liver cancer. In cases where ultrasound results are unclear, the doctor may order additional tests, such as a CT scan or MRI. For some patients, doctors may recommend a liver biopsy which involves inserting a thin needle through the abdominal wall to remove a small sample of liver tissue for laboratory testing. This is another method used for accurate diagnosis before treatment.
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Hepatitis C Virus Information For Health Care Providers
- The number of new hepatitis C virus infections per year in the U.S. declined from an average of 240,000 in the 1980s to about 30,000 in 2003.
- Most new infections are due to illegal injection drug use.
- Transfusion-associated cases occurred prior to routine HCV screening of blood donors and now occurs at a rate of less than one case per million units of transfused blood.
- An estimated 3.9 million persons in the U.S. have been infected with HCV, of whom 2.7 million have chronic infection.
What Causes Autoimmune Hepatitis In Children
It is not known exactly why the immune system begins attacking liver cells in children with autoimmune hepatitis.
Experts are looking at a number of possible causes, including:
- Genetics. Physical traits passed down from parents
- Environment. Causes of disease from outside the body, such as toxic substances, certain medicines, or germs
- Problems with the immune system. For example, in patients with autoimmune hepatitis, it seems that some cells that regulate the immune system are fewer or weaker, while other cells that make the immune system attack are more frequent or more active.
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Chronic Hepatitis C: What Are The Signs And Symptoms
Even when an acute infection becomes chronic, it can be years before a person receives a diagnosis, thus delaying treatment. In fact, the majority of people with chronic hepatitis C are asymptomatic until the liver becomes severely damaged, often decades after exposure, says Amesh Adalja, MD, an infectious disease physician and senior scholar at Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security who is based in Pittsburgh.
Its common for people to unknowingly carry HCV until they go through a blood screening or other examination for reasons unrelated to hepatitis C.
However, chronic hepatitis C is a serious issue that can result in long-term health problems, including liver damage, liver cancer, liver failure, and death.
What Is The Right Therapy For A Patient With Autoimmune Hepatitis
AIH can be treated very effectively with immunosuppressive agents. The gold standard is the treatment with prednisone alone or in combination with azathioprine.
The indication for starting an immunosuppressive treatment has to be evaluated, and the treatment strategy must be adjusted to the patients individual risk for developing adverse events of either corticosteroids or azathioprine. For instance, in obese patients, patients with osteoporosis, or patients with brittle diabetes, the steroid dose should be as low as possible, whereas in patients with cytopenia, azathioprine should be avoided .
Patients with refractory disease and burned out cirrhosis may be candidates for liver transplantation. Alternative immunosuppressive agents are not well established in AIH, but the promising agents with the most empiric use are mycophenolate mofetil and cyclosporine.
Indications for treatment of AIH
Absolute indication for starting an immunosuppressive treatment in patients with AIH include the following:
An elevation of ALT > 10 fold ULN
A more than 5-fold ULN elevated ALT in conjunction with a more than twofold-elevated gamma globulin
Bridging necrosis or multiacinar necrosis in the histological picture
Cases of severe and intolerable symptoms
Patients with absolute indications for treatment have a poor prognosis without immunosuppressive therapy.
Relative indication for starting an immunosuppressive treatment include the following:
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What Is The Treatment For Hcv
- Evaluate the patient for liver disease.
- There are a number of drugs licensed for treatment of persons with chronic HCV infection. Please visit www.HCVguidelines.org for additional information on HCV treatment.
- Evaluate patient for HAV and HBV immunization status vaccinate if indicated.
- Advise against alcohol consumption and, if necessary, provide counseling for alcohol abuse.
How Is Hepatitis C Transmitted
Because HCV is primarily spread through contact with infected blood, people who inject drugs are at increased risk for HCV infection. HCV can also be transmitted from an infected mother to child at the time of birth, from unregulated tattoos or body piercings, and from sharing personal items that may be contaminated with infected blood, even in amounts too small to see. Much less often, HCV transmission occurs through sexual contact with an HCV-infected partner, especially among people with multiple sex partners and men who have sex with men. Currently in the United States, health care related transmission of HCV is rare, but people can become infected from accidental needle sticks and from breaches in infection control practices in health care facilities.
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How Do You Get Hepatitis C
Hepatitis C spreads when blood or body fluids contaminated with the hepatitis C virus get into your bloodstream through contact with an infected person.
You can be exposed to the virus from:
- Sharing injection drugs and needles
- Having sex, especially if you have HIV, another STD, several partners, or have rough sex
- Being stuck by infected needles
- Birth — a mother can pass it to a child
- Sharing personal care items like toothbrushes, razor blades, and nail clippers
- Getting a tattoo or piercing with unclean equipment
You canât catch hepatitis C through:
- Have been on long-term kidney dialysis
- Have abnormal liver tests or liver disease
- Were born to a mother with hepatitis C
Since July 1992, all blood and organ donations in the U.S. are tested for the hepatitis C virus. The CDC says it is now rare that someone getting blood products or an organ would get hepatitis C. That said, The CDC recommends that anyone over the age of 18 get tested for Hepatitis C. If you haven’t been screened, you should consider having it done.
Learn more about the risk factors for hepatitis C.
How Do Doctors Treat Hepatitis C
Doctors treat hepatitis C with antiviral medicines that attack the virus and can cure the disease in most cases.
Several newer medicines, called direct-acting antiviral medicines, have been approved to treat hepatitis C since 2013. Studies show that these medicines can cure chronic hepatitis C in most people with this disease. These medicines can also cure acute hepatitis C. In some cases, doctors recommend waiting to see if an acute infection becomes chronic before starting treatment.
Your doctor may prescribe one or more of these newer, direct-acting antiviral medicines to treat hepatitis C:
You may need to take medicines for 8 to 24 weeks to cure hepatitis C. Your doctor will prescribe medicines and recommend a length of treatment based on
- which hepatitis C genotype you have
- how much liver damage you have
- whether you have been treated for hepatitis C in the past
Your doctor may order blood tests during and after your treatment. Blood tests can show whether the treatment is working. Hepatitis C medicines cure the infection in most people who complete treatment.
Hepatitis C medicines may cause side effects. Talk with your doctor about the side effects of treatment. Check with your doctor before taking any other prescription or over-the-counter medicines.
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Hepatitis Cases In Children
The number of cases of hepatitis in children has increased recently. Public health doctors and scientists are looking into what could be causing this.
See a GP if your child has symptoms of hepatitis, including yellowing of the eyes and skin .
Good hygiene, including supervising hand washing in young children, can help to prevent infections that can cause hepatitis.
How Is It Spread
Hepatitis A is spread when a person ingests fecal mattereven in microscopic amountsfrom contact with objects, food, or drinks contaminated by feces or stool from an infected person.
- Birth to an infected mother
- Sex with an infected person
- Sharing equipment that has been contaminated with blood from an infected person, such as needles, syringes, and even medical equipment, such as glucose monitors
- Sharing personal items such as toothbrushes or razors
- Poor infection control has resulted in outbreaks in health care facilities
Hepatitis C is spread when blood from a person infected with the Hepatitis C virus even in microscopic amounts enters the body of someone who is not infected. The hepatitis C virus can also be transmitted from:
- Sharing equipment that has been contaminated with blood from an infected person, such as needles and syringes
- Receiving a blood transfusion or organ transplant before 1992
- Poor infection control has resulted in outbreaks in health care facilities
- Birth to an infected mother
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Warning Signs & Symptoms Of Hepatitis You Should Not Ignore
Hepatitis is the inflammation of the liver, which is triggered by different causes. One of the most common causes of hepatitis is one of five different viruses, known as Hepatitis A, B, C, D, or E. They are viruses with varying disease mechanisms, but they all cause a liver disease known as viral hepatitis.
Other types of hepatitis can be triggered by alcohol, toxic substances, and autoimmune disease. Most of them have similar symptoms, but the diseases development is very different from one another, and sometimes the infection is asymptomatic until it causes liver cancer or cirrhosis.
In this article, were covering the signs and symptoms commonly shared by most viral hepatitis, and then were going through specific symptoms triggered by individual hepatitis viruses.
First of all, it is vital to recognize those symptoms shared by most types of hepatitis:
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Rash Symptoms From Acute Hcv Infection
Acute hepatitis C symptoms occur in around 20% of people exposed to the virus. The symptoms usually develop two to 12 weeks after exposure and cause symptoms ranging from nausea and vomiting to dark urine and jaundice .
A less common symptom of acute HCV infection is urticaria, a widespread, itchy rash also known as hives. Urticaria is characterized by raised, red welts with well-defined borders.
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Symptoms Of Hepatitis C
It is very important to know that not everyone with hepatitis C has symptoms. The only way to know if you have hepatitis is by talking to your doctor and getting a blood test.
Many people living with hepatitis C feel well and only have symptoms once the disease has progressed and there is serious liver damage.
If you do not have symptoms this does not mean that the virus isnt causing damage.
When first infected, some people may find:
- their urine becomes dark
- their eyes and skin turn yellow
- they experience a minor flu-like illness.
These symptoms may disappear within a few weeks, but this does not necessarily mean that the infection has been cleared.
Over time, symptoms that may develop include:
- tiredness and fatigue
- flu-like symptoms
- pain in the abdomen where the liver is located
- not feeling hungry and indigestion.
Around 30% of people who have been infected may clear the virus from their blood naturally, with no treatment, within 6 months. These people no longer have the hepatitis C virus and are not infectious, but will always have hepatitis C antibodies in their blood. The presence of hepatitis C antibodies shows that someone has been exposed to the virus, but does not offer any immunity against hepatitis C. People can become reinfected after clearing the virus naturally, or after treatment.
Asymptomatic And Symptomatic Hepatitis C Infection
Hepatitis C progresses in stages. During the initial acute phase, the disease is usually asymptomatic. As many as 30% will spontaneously clear the virus without knowing they had it. The rest will develop a chronic infection, of whom 15% to 30% will develop cirrhosis within 20 years.
As the disease slowly progresses, the likelihood of symptoms will increase. Even so, most people with chronic HCV infection will have either no symptoms or nonspecific signs such as chronic fatigue or depression.
While most people associate hepatitis C with liver-related symptoms, one in four people with a chronic HCV infection will develop extrahepatic symptoms .
These include skin-related symptoms that can occur during the acute and chronic stages and from hepatitis C treatment.
Cost Of Hepatitis C Medicines
The newer direct-acting antiviral medicines for hepatitis C can be costly. Most government and private health insurance prescription drug plans provide some coverage for these medicines. Talk with your doctor about your health insurance coverage for hepatitis C medicines.
Drug companies, nonprofit organizations, and some states offer programs that can help pay for hepatitis C medicines. If you need help paying for medicines, talk with your doctor. Learn more about financial help for hepatitis C medicines.
Related Skin Problems With Hepatitis C Infection
Some skin conditions share a possible association with chronic hepatitis C. For reasons not entirely clear, the risk of these is higher in people with hepatitis C than in the general population.
- Psoriasis: This autoimmune condition causes dry, raised, inflamed patches of skin covered with silvery-white scales. It is nearly twice as common in people with chronic hepatitis C as in those without.
- Dermatomyositis: This inflammatory autoimmune disease causes muscle weakness and a distinctive skin rash. In addition to a reddish-purple rash around the eyes, there may be dark red bumps on the knuckles, elbows, ankles, or knees.
- Erythema multiforme: This is a common skin reaction triggered by many different infections. It causes symmetric red, patchy skin lesions mostly on the arms and legs.
- Erythema nodosum: This is a skin symptom common in people with inflammatory bowel disease that causes tender red bumps on larger bony surfaces on the front of the lower leg. In the absence of IBD, hepatitis C may be suspected.
- Vitiligo: This is a condition that causes the destruction of pigment-producing skin cells called melanocytes, leading to patches of abnormally light skin. Hepatitis C may be suspected if vitiligo suddenly develops during adulthood.
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Can Hepatitis C Be Prevented
There is no vaccine for hepatitis C. But you can help protect yourself from hepatitis C infection by:
- Not sharing drug needles or other drug materials
- Wearing gloves if you have to touch another person’s blood or open sores
- Making sure your tattoo artist or body piercer uses sterile tools and unopened ink
- Not sharing personal items such toothbrushes, razors, or nail clippers
- Using a latex condom during sex. If your or your partner is allergic to latex, you can use polyurethane condoms.
NIH: National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases
Is It Contagious Or Hereditary
It is absolutely not contagious. It is generally not considered an inherited disease but a tendency to autoimmune diseases may run in some families. That is, children of patients with autoimmune hepatitis may be at slightly increased risk of developing autoimmune diseases of the thyroid or liver or arthritis. The risk, however, is only slightly greater than the normal population and thus genetic counselling is not necessary.
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