Viral Hepatitisa Very Real Consequence Of Substance Use
Hepatitis is an inflammation of the liver. It can be caused by a variety of toxins , autoimmune conditions, or pathogens .1 Viral hepatitis is caused by a family of viruses labeled A, B, C, D, and E. To learn more about the route of transmission and prognosis for each virus, visit the Centers for Disease Control and Preventions Division of Viral Hepatitis. Hepatitis B and hepatitis C are the most common viral hepatitis infections transmitted through the sometimes risky behaviors of people who use drugsparticularly among people who inject drugs. An estimated 862,000 people are living with HBV chronic infections, with about 22,000 acute infections recorded in 2017. An estimated 2.4 million Americans are living with HCV based on 2013-2016 annual average, with an estimated 44,700 new cases of acute HCV in 2017. In fact, new cases of acute HCV have increased rapidly in the US since 2010, and have most often been associated with injection drug use.6 Three out of four people living with HCV are baby boomers born between 1945 and 1965.7
Sharing Toothbrushes Scissors And Razors
There’s a potential risk that hepatitis C may be passed on through sharing items such as toothbrushes, razors and scissors, as they can become contaminated with infected blood.
Equipment used by hairdressers, such as scissors and clippers, can pose a risk if it has been contaminated with infected blood and not been sterilised or cleaned between customers. However, most salons operate to high standards, so this risk is low.
How Does Fibrosis Form From Hepatitis C
Fibrosis or scarring results when liver cells are destroyed due to HCV infection. Fibrosis is the formation of excessive connective tissue that builds up in the liver due to injury resulting from chronic inflammation. Fibrosis itself may have no symptoms. However, it can lead to decreased blood flow through the liver and impaired liver function. Eventually, areas of scarring become interconnected and the texture of the liver itself changes. Over time, fibrosis can progress to an advanced stage called cirrhosis. With extensive fibrosis , blood is no longer able to flow through the liver and liver function becomes significantly impaired.1
Recommended Reading: Hepatitis C And Liver Disease
Before Sharing Sensitive Information Make Sure You’re On A Federal Government Site
Treatment for hepatitis c is rapidly evolving. Hepatitis c is a viral infection that causes inflammati. Know what to look for and how this rash is treated. Hepatitis c can cause many symptoms including skin issues such as jaundice, itching, and blood spots. Learn about the signs and symptoms and how you can avoid the buildup of fat in the liver.
Who Is At Risk For Hepatitis C
You are more likely to get hepatitis C if you
- Have injected drugs
If you have chronic hepatitis C, you probably will not have symptoms until it causes complications. This can happen decades after you were infected. For this reason, hepatitis C screening is important, even if you have no symptoms.
Recommended Reading: Hep C Without Hepatic Coma
How Does Hepatitis Affect The Body
Typically, symptoms for all types of hepatitis occur once the infection begins causing damage to the liver. In acute cases, symptoms develop quickly and in chronic instances, signs may take up to 6 months to begin showing concern.
General signs and symptoms for acute and chronic hepatitis
All hepatitis types will have the following signs and symptoms in common:
- Flu-like symptoms
- Abdominal pain
- Loss of appetite and unexplained weight loss
- Dark urine
Other signs and symptoms for hepatitis A
- Muscle aches
- Clay-coloured stools
Other signs and symptoms for hepatitis B and D
- Abdominal discomfort
- Tan-coloured stools
All symptom for hepatitis B must be assessed and treated by a medical professional as quickly as possible to prevent an infection developing into HDV and further health complications. If you are exposed to the virus and can seek treatment within the first 24 hours following exposure, an infection can be prevented with prompt medical attention.
A HDV infection may not always display obvious symptoms but when they do, they are very similar to those of hepatitis B. Symptoms of HDV can often make those of HBV worse, which can make diagnosis a little trickier.
Other signs and symptoms for hepatitis C
- Abdominal discomfort
- Itching skin
If there are already signs of damage to your liver, you will display the following symptoms:
Other signs and symptoms for hepatitis E
- Liver enlargement
- Nausea and vomiting
Non-viral hepatitis signs and symptoms
Our Areas Of Innovation For Hepatitis
Liver biopsies provide a great deal of information about the extent of damage in a childs liver, but the procedure is invasive and can be both painful and risky. Researchers at Boston Childrens use an ultrasound-based imaging technology called FibroScan that may be able to help doctors assess liver scarring without a liver biopsy.
The commitment and compassion with which we care for all children and families is matched only by the pioneering spirit of discovery and innovation that drives us to think differently, to find answers, and to build a better tomorrow for children everywhere.
Don’t Miss: How Is Hepatitis C Transmitted Cdc
Is Liver Transplantation An Option For A Person With Hepatitis C
Hepatitis C is the leading reason for 40% to 45% of liver transplants in the U.S. Hepatitis C usually recurs after transplantation and infects the new liver. Approximately 25% of these patients with recurrent hepatitis will develop cirrhosis within five years of transplantation. Despite this, the five-year survival rate for patients with hepatitis C is similar to that of patients who are transplanted for other types of liver disease.
Most transplant centers delay therapy until recurrent hepatitis C in the transplanted liver is confirmed. Oral, highly effective, direct-acting antivirals have shown encouraging results in patients who have undergone liver transplantation for hepatitis C infection and have recurrent hepatitis C. The choice of therapy needs to be individualized and is rapidly evolving.
What Happens To People With Hepatitis C
Hepatitis C, or HCV, replicates in the liver. During this process, parts of the virus trigger your immune system into action. In the process of trying to rid your body of the HCV infection, the immune system actually kills infected liver cells. Over a slow process of many years, the interaction between the immune system and your liver can result in scarring of the liver and loss of liver function.
Most people who are infected with hepatitis C develop a chronic infection with the virus. But for some people, their body gets rid of the virus on its own very early after they are first infected. More than half of people with hepatitis C will never have any health problems from it. The disease generally progresses slowly, over the course of 10 to 40 years.
Also Check: Where To Get Hepatitis B Test
What Are The Effects Of Hepatitis On The Liver
Hepatitis, a condition marked by inflammation of the liver, can have devastating effects on this vital organ. Most commonly caused by a viral infection, it interferes with the livers ability to process wastes properly, which causes them to build up in the persons blood and bodily tissues. This can not only cause such symptoms as itching, fever, and nausea, but also scarring of the liver tissues, liver cancer, and even liver failure. Unfortunately, a hepatitis infection can even cause the death of the patient.
Hepatitis is a serious condition that may cause permanent damage to a persons liver and a severe decline in his health status. When a person has hepatitis, his liver becomes inflamed and unable to remove wastes from the body. The wastes build up and may cause a range of symptoms, including the yellowing of the skin and eyes, fatigue, body aches, and itching. Nausea, vomiting, fever, and soreness in the part of the abdomen that houses the liver are also among the symptoms. A person may even notice darkened urine as a result of the effects of hepatitis on the liver.
The yellowing of a persons skin is a direct result of the effects of hepatitis on the liver. One of the wastes the inflamed liver doesnt process properly is called bilirubin. This waste gives a yellowish tint to a persons eyes and skin and is sometimes the first clue that something is wrong.
Your Immune System And Hepatitis C
The job of our immune system is to defend the body from invasion by foreign substances or organisms, such as bacteria or viruses like HCV. Think of the redness and swelling you experience when you get a splinter in your finger. Your immune system reacts to the splinter and the bacteria that enter the body with it by sending a range of immune system cells to the site of invasion or injury to fight infection. These cells produce chemicals that serve as tools in fighting the invasion. The inflammation at the site of the splinter is a sign that your immune response is working.
When the immune system encounters HCV, specialized cells called macrophages bring the antigen to B-cells and also display part of the antigen to circulating Th cells . The antigen is fingerprinted by the B-cell and this information is used to develop an antibody, a protein that specializes in attacking that antigen. The cells also closely examine the antigen and determine whether they should stimulate production of B-cells for antibody production or stimulate production of killer T-cells. Killer T-cells are produced if the antigen has invaded cells. The killer T-cell attaches itself to an infected cell and in most cases destroys that cell.
Also Check: Can Hepatitis C Go Away On Its Own
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.
What Causes Hepatitis C
The hepatitis C virus causes hepatitis C. The hepatitis C virus spreads through contact with an infected persons blood. Contact can occur by
- sharing drug needles or other drug materials with an infected person
- getting an accidental stick with a needle that was used on an infected person
- being tattooed or pierced with tools or inks that were not kept sterilefree from all viruses and other microorganismsand were used on an infected person before they were used on you
- having contact with the blood or open sores of an infected person
- using an infected persons razor, toothbrush, or nail clippers
- being born to a mother with hepatitis C
- having unprotected sex with an infected person
You cant get hepatitis C from
- being coughed or sneezed on by an infected person
- drinking water or eating food
- hugging an infected person
- shaking hands or holding hands with an infected person
- sharing spoons, forks, and other eating utensils
- sitting next to an infected person
A baby cant get hepatitis C from breast milk.18
Also Check: What Is Hepatitis B Virus
What Is The Relationship Between Drug Use And Viral Hepatitis
Drug and alcohol use places people at particular risk for contracting viral hepatitis. Engaging in risky sexual behavior that often accompanies drug use increases the risk of contracting HBV and, less frequently, HCV. People who inject drugs are at high risk for contracting HBV and HCV from shared needles and other drug preparation equipment, which exposes them to bodily fluids from other infected people. Because drug use often impairs judgement, PWID repeatedly engage in these unsafe behaviors, which can increase their risk of contracting viral hepatitis. One study reported that each person who injects drugs infected with HCV is likely to infect about 20 others, and that this rapid transmission of the disease occurs within the first 3 years of initial infection.4 Drug and alcohol use can also directly damage the liver, increasing risk for chronic liver disease and cancer among those infected with hepatitis. This underscores that early detection and treatment of hepatitis infections in PWID and other people who use drugs is paramount to protecting both the health of the person and that of the community.
What Are The Symptoms Of Hepatitis B And C
In most patients, hepatitis B develops slowly over the course of several decades, and thus most patients have no symptoms. People who have advanced liver disease such as cirrhosis of the liver may experience complications and symptoms that reflect liver failure. Other symptoms include:
- A buildup of fluid within the abdominal cavity
- Confusion and tremors , which are complications due to the inability of the liver to filter out toxins that are normally cleaned out by a healthy liver
- Vomiting of blood, or blood within the stool . This is a complication in which enlarged veins within the esophagus or stomach bleed as a consequence of increased pressure around the diseased liver.
Most patients with chronic hepatitis C infection report no symptoms. But some patients may have very nonspecific symptoms related to fatigue and discomfort on the right side of the abdomen. Often, symptoms that lead to a diagnosis of hepatitis C are noticeable only at the end stage of liver disease, when the patient has developed liver cirrhosis and liver failure.
Because hepatitis B and C typically have no specific symptoms, many people who have the viruses dont even know it.
Also Check: Can Hepatitis C Turn Into Hiv
Can People Donate A Kidney If They Have Hepatitis C
It is possible for individuals with HCV to donate healthy kidneys, either during their lifetime or after they die. However, it depends on the health of their kidneys.
Previously, people with HCV could not donate kidneys, but this has changed with the availability of direct-acting antiviral drugs. These drugs offer cure rates above 95% for people who have contracted the virus and also have chronic kidney disease or end stage renal disease.
There is a high demand for organ donors in the U.S., so a doctor may recommend using a healthy kidney from an HCV-positive donor and then treating the recipient with DAAs after the transplant surgery.
Some evidence indicates that HCV-positive individuals who receive kidneys from HCV-positive donors have than people who receive a kidney from HCV-negative donors. However, they have a shorter waiting time, which can be lifesaving.
People with HCV are not eligible for kidney donation if they have any kidney damage or disease.
Symptoms Of Hepatitis C
Hepatitis C often doesn’t 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:
- flu-like symptoms, such as muscle aches and a high temperature
- feeling tired all the time
- loss of appetite
Read more about the complications of hepatitis C.
Recommended Reading: What Is Hepatitis B Surface Antibody
How Is Hepatitis A Treated
HAV usually goes away on its own within six months.
Doctors often recommend bed rest, drinking lots of fluids, eating a healthy diet and avoiding alcohol. Medicines are not used to treat HAV. Talk to your doctor before taking prescription or over-the-counter drugs, vitamins or herbal supplements.
Itchy skin caused by HAV can be treated with non-prescription anti-itch medicine.
It is important to see your doctor regularly to make sure your body has fully recovered from the virus. Also, talk to your doctor about getting vaccinated for hepatitis B.
How Is Monitoring Done After Treatment For Hepatitis C
Once patients successfully complete treatment, the viral load after treatment determines if there is an SVR or cure. If cure is achieved , no further additional testing is recommended unless the patient has cirrhosis. Those who are not cured will need continued monitoring for progression of liver disease and its complications.
While cure eliminates worsening of fibrosis by hepatitis C, complications may still affect those with cirrhosis. These individuals still need regular screening for liver cancer as well as monitoring for esophageal varices that may bleed.
Because hepatitis B co-infection may reactivate or worsen even after treatment for HCV, monitoring for hepatitis symptoms may be needed after the end of therapy.
You May Like: What Are The Early Symptoms Of Hepatitis C
Limit Your Alcohol Intake
Drinking alcohol can negatively affect an already damaged liver. Its important to decrease the amount of alcohol you consume on a regular basis. Your doctor may even recommend that you refrain from alcohol altogether.
Your liver is the primary organ responsible for metabolizing nutrients and other substances you ingest. If theres too much alcohol in your system, your liver enzymes may be ill-equipped to process it. In turn, the excess alcohol circulates through the rest of your body.
As a rule of thumb, its important to drink in moderation. This equates to two drinks a day for men, and one a day for women .
Still, moderate alcohol consumption can be dangerous when youre living with hepatitis C. Ask your doctor for specific recommendations.
What Type Of Doctor Treats Hepatitis C
Hepatitis C is treated by either a gastroenterologist, a hepatologist , or an infectious disease specialist. The treatment team may include more than one specialist, depending on the extent of liver damage.Surgeons who specialize in surgery of the liver, including liver transplantation, are part of the medical team and should see patients with advanced disease early, before the patient needs a liver transplant. They may be able to identify issues that need to be addressed before surgery can be considered. Other persons who can be helpful in managing patients include dietitians to consult on nutritional issues and pharmacists to assist with management of drugs.
You May Like: Where Can I Get Hepatitis B Vaccine