But Even If Youve Been Cured It Can Have Lifelong Health Implications
Hepatitis C is a lot more than just a liver disease, Reau says. It has been associated with many medical conditions, such as an increased risk of developing diabetes, kidney disease and cancer.
While curing hepatitis C significantly reduces the risk of serious complications, like liver failure, liver cancer and the need for transplantation, it doesnt completely eliminate the health risks associated with the disease.
Hep C is linked to scarring of the liver or cirrhosis and the more scar tissue that develops, the greater the likelihood of complications, Reau says. If there is a lot of scarring, you will need lifelong monitoring.
Reau also recommends leading a healthy lifestyle to help prevent re-infection and further liver damage: Limit alcohol consumption, control your weight, avoid high-risk activities and manage diabetes if you have it.
What Is A Biopsy
A biopsy is a medical procedure. A tiny piece of liver is removed and examined to find out the extent of damage. It involves a large needle and local anesthetic, as well as some risk of bleeding. A pathologist looks at the piece of liver under microscopes to determine how much damage has occurred in the liver. This is a very useful test and used to be done very commonly. However, the procedure is done much less frequently than in the past. For most patients with hepatitis B and C, liver biopsy is not required. Today, other tests can be used to try to estimate the fibrosis in the liver.
The Link Between Hepatitis B And Liver Cancer
If you do get symptoms of hepatitis B, most people can expect the infection to last for between one to three months. In some cases, the symptoms of hepatitis B can last for six months or even longer. Long-lasting hepatitis B is more common in younger children and babies, though it can still affect a small number of adults This is unlike some other forms of hepatitis, such as hepatitis B and C, which can cause a chronic infection. Note : in some people, hepatitis A infection only causes mild symptoms and no jaundice. In others, particularly in children aged under 5 years, no symptoms develop at all The virus can survive on equipment and surfaces for up to 3 weeks. People who inject drugs can get Hepatitis C can also spread when tattoo, piercing, or cutting equipment is contaminated with the . Hepatitis C virus and used on another person. Although rare, Hepatitis C can be spread through sex Hepatitis C. Hepatitis C is a viral infection that affects the liver. An estimated 2.4 million people are living with hepatitis C in the U.S. Most people do not experience any symptoms. Hepatitis C can be cured with prescription medication. Left untreated, it can lead to liver disease, cancer and even death. Find STD Testing Near You Hepatitis B infection can be acute and/or chronic chronic HBV can cause serious liver damage, including cirrhosis , liver cancer, and death from liver failure. Hepatitis B is much more infectious than HIV, which means it is spread much more easily
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How Is It Treated
Experts recommend that nearly everyone who has hepatitis C receive treatment. Talk with your doctor about whether you should get treatment.
Current treatments for hepatitis C almost always work. But they may cost a lot.
Taking care of yourself is an important part of the treatment for hepatitis C. Some people with hepatitis C don’t notice a change in the way they feel. Others feel tired, sick, or depressed. You may feel better if you exercise and eat healthy foods. To help prevent further liver damage, avoid alcohol and illegal drugs and certain medicines that can be hard on your liver.
You Are Risking Your Life
This much we know: as many as 85% of people who are infected with hepatitis C will develop a chronic infection. Of these, up to 70% will develop a serious such as liver or liver . Hepatitis C is the leading cause of cirrhosis and and the most common reason for liver transplantation in the United States. About 15,000 people die every year from hepatitis C related liver disease, the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports. Given these odds, not treating hepatitis C is not worth the risk. Getting treated now can help stave off these potentially fatal consequences.
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Eat Regular Nutritious Meals
Sometimes people with hepatitis C have a hard time eating. You may have no appetite, feel nauseated, or have different tastes than you are used to. Even if you don’t feel like eating, it’s very important to eat small meals throughout the day. Some people have nausea in the afternoon. If this happens to you, try to eat a big, nutritious meal in the morning.
If you have cirrhosis, it may not be a good idea to eat salty foods or foods that are high in protein. If you want to know more about which foods to avoid and which foods are good to eat, ask your doctor about meeting with a registered dietitian to discuss a healthy eating plan.
Avoid Alcohol And Drugs
One of the most important jobs of your liver is to break down drugs and alcohol. If you have hepatitis C, one of the best things you can do is to avoid substances that may harm your liver, such as alcohol and illegal drugs. If you have cirrhosis, you also may need to avoid certain medicines.
If you use illegal drugs or drink alcohol, it is important to stop. Being honest with your doctor about your drug and alcohol use will help you deal with any . If you don’t feel that you can talk openly with your doctor, you may want to find a doctor you feel more comfortable with. If you want to stop using drugs or alcohol and need help to do so, ask your doctor or someone else you trust about drug and alcohol treatment options.
Because many medicines can stress your liver, talk to your doctor before you take any prescription or over-the-counter medicines. This includes herbal remedies as well.
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What Can I Do To Stay As Healthy As Possible
To promote good health while living with HCV infection, learn about the disease and consider the following:
- Get more information about hepatitis C from your health care provider, local health unit, or support groups. See Hepatitis Education Canada at , Canadian Liver Foundation at www.liver.ca/ and Help4Hep at www.help4hep.org/
- Avoid alcohol as it can cause damage to the liver and increases the liver damage caused by HCV. If you do use alcohol, try to reduce the amount that you use. To learn more about support options, visit CATIE www.catie.ca/en/practical-guides/hepc-in-depth/treatment/hepatitis-c-treatment-and-drug-use
- Avoid illegal drug use and smoking. To find a needle exchange site, take home naloxone kits and training, or an overdose prevention site, see the toward the heart site and HealthLinkBC File #102a Understanding Harm Reduction: Substance Use
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Hepatitis B Foundation: Adults Living With Hepatitis
From this, we can see the importance of normalizing ALT level. In fact, ALT level is the key of chronic hepatitis B, no matter the viral count, treatment is not needed if you keep the ALT level in a normal range, meaning that having viruses in the body is actually acceptable as long as it is not damaging the liver Protect yourself from hepatitis C. Hepatitis C is an infectious liver disease caused by a virus. Untreated, it can lead to cirrhosis. If you have hepatitis C and drink alcohol, you’re far more likely to develop cirrhosis than if you didn’t drink. Check before mixing medications and alcohol Hepatitis B is a viral infection that causes inflammation of the liver. Hepatitis B can be an acute, short-term infection or a chronic, long-lasting infection Hepatitis B is a potentially life-threatening liver infection caused by the hepatitis B virus . It is a major global health problem. It can cause chronic infection and puts people at high risk of death from cirrhosis and liver cancer. A safe and effective vaccine that offers a 98-100% protection against hepatitis B is available Hepatitis B: For hepatitis B, treatment can delay or limit liver damage by suppressing the virus. Like treatment for HIV, hepatitis B treatment may need to be taken for the rest of your life. Hepatitis C: Hepatitis C is a curable disease. Left untreated, it can cause several liver damage, liver cancer, or death
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If I Have Hepatitis C Infection Does This Mean I Am Going To Have Other Health Problems
Hepatitis C can cause scarring of the liver leading to cirrhosis and liver cancer. Other conditions have also been linked to hepatitis C and are known as extra-hepatic manifestations of hepatitis C. They include diabetes mellitus, arthritis, hypothyroid, and aplastic anemia among other conditions. Talk to your provider for more information.
It’s 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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Can Hep C Be Cured Completely
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.
If You Have Hepatitis C Should You Get A Flu Shot
Yes. Having chronic hepatitis C is actually a good reason to get the flu shot. Chronic hepatitis C is a condition that can increase your risk of complications if you do get influenza. That’s why it is recommended for people with hepatitis C, and most chronic liver diseases, to be vaccinated against the flu.
To stay up to date with your influenza vaccinations, you need to be vaccinated every year–ideally, early in the flu season or as soon as the vaccine becomes available. Typically, flu season is considered to be October to March. It’s best to get vaccinated annually because the vaccine is designed differently each year to target the strains of influenza that are expected to circulate during that particular flu season.
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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.
Your Liver Will Only Get Worse
Yes, you feel fine, but your blood work and liver could suggest that all is not well. If your doctor is recommending anti-viral treatment, it could mean that there is already evidence of liver damage. Treatment can prevent this damage from spiraling out of control. Todays antiviral treatments can cure hepatitis C, if started early enough in the process.
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How Can I Prevent Passing Hcv On To Others
HCV infection is usually spread by blood-to-blood contact with someone who has a current HCV infection. There is a very low risk of spreading the virus through other body fluids, such as semen or vaginal fluids. This is more likely if blood is present in those fluids.
If you are living with HCV infection, you can reduce the chance of passing the virus to others by doing the following:
Can Hepatitis B Be Prevented
The hepatitis B vaccine is one of the best ways to control the disease. It is safe, effective and widely available. More than one billion doses of the vaccine have been administered globally since 1982. The World Health Organization says the vaccine is 98-100% effective in guarding against the virus. Newborns should be vaccinated.
The disease has also been more widely prevented thanks to:
- Widespread global adoption of safe blood-handling practices. WHO says 97% of the blood donated around the world is now screened for HBV and other diseases.
- Safer blood injection practices, using clean needles.
- Safe-sex practices.
You can help prevent hepatitis B infections by:
- Practicing safe sex .
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You Will Miss Out On A Cure
Over the past decade much has changed regarding C treatment and prognosis. Many people are afraid of side effects associated with hepatitis C medications, but todays anti-virals cause far fewer problems than older drugs. Whats more, your doctor can provide easy-to-follow tips on how to manage any that come up during the course of your treatment. Importantly, hepatitis C treatment is not forever and a cure is possible. What are you waiting for?
Can I Drink Alcohol Once In A While If I Have Hepatitis C
Alcohol can clearly contribute to worsening liver disease. You must discuss with your health care provider if any amount of alcohol is safe for you.
Alcohol can cause inflammation and scarring in the liver. If you have any underlying liver condition, such as hepatitis C or hepatitis B or damage from long-term alcohol use, your liver will be more sensitive to alcohol. When you have hepatitis C virus, alcohol on top of the hepatitis C can cause the inflammation and scarring to be worse, and overall damage to the liver may happen much faster when you drink alcohol.
Here is some helpful information about alcohol and hepatitis:
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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.
What Are The Types Of Hepatitis B
There are two types of hepatitis B infection: acute and chronic.
An acute infection happens at the beginning, when you first get infected with hepatitis B. Many people are able to clear it from their bodies and recover. In fact, this is true of about 4 in 5 adults who are infected.
If you are not able to clear the infection within six months or longer, you have chronic hepatitis B. It is chronic hepatitis B that leads to inflammation and the serious, and possibly fatal, illnesses of cirrhosis of the liver and liver cancer. Treatment can slow disease progress, reduce the chance of liver cancer and increase your chances of surviving.
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Contaminated Needles And Infected Blood
You can get hepatitis C from sharing contaminated needles, syringes and other injecting equipment during recreational drug use. Banknotes and straws used for snorting may also pass the virus on.
Being exposed to unsterilised tattoo and body piercing equipment can also pass hepatitis C on. Occasionally, you can get it from sharing a towel, razor blades or a toothbrush if there is infected blood on them.
Hepatitis C infection is also passed on in healthcare settings, from needle stick injuries or from medical and dental equipment that has not been properly sterilised. In countries where blood products are not routinely screened, you can also get hepatitis C by receiving a transfusion of unscreened blood and blood products.
You can prevent hepatitis C by:
- never sharing needles and syringes or other items that may be contaminated with infected blood
- only having tattoos, body piercings or acupuncture in a professional setting, where new, sterile needles are used
- following the standard infection control precautions, if youre working in a healthcare setting.
What Are The Different Types Of Blood Tests How Often Should I Get These Tests Done
There are several different blood tests, or “labs” that your provider may order for you. The tests measure the amounts of various proteins and enzymes that the liver produces. This is a way of finding out how damaged the liver is. Your provider can determine how often each test needs to be done. Please see Understanding Lab Tests for more details about the tests you may have.
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