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.
Hepatitis C Symptoms + 8 Natural Ways To Manage Them
Hepatitis C symptoms often go overlooked because they are similar to common illnesses, like the flu. In fact, most people with hepatitis C dont experience symptoms until decades after they contract the virus after their liver is damaged. Thats the scary thing about hepatitis C it often becomes a chronic condition before people even know they have it. Its also the leading cause of liver cancer, the most common reason for liver transplants in the U.S. and a common cause of cirrhosis. Plus, studies show that the prevalence of hepatitis C is on the rise.
A very recent study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine found that cases of hepatitis C virus infection in U.S. women in their reproductive years doubled from 2006 to 2014, rising from roughly 15,000 cases to 30,000. As a result, an estimated 1,700 infants were born with hepatitis C between 2011 and 2014.
So what are the causes of hepatitis C and how do you know if youre infected? Keep reading to answer these questions. If you think youre at risk of contracting the virus, make an appointment to get tested. The sooner your doctor diagnoses you, the higher your chances of fighting the virus, even with natural remedies that support your liver and help it to function properly.
What Will My Doctor Need To Know To Treat Me
If you want to be assessed for treatment, you need to make an appointment with a doctor. They will be mostly interested in the condition of your liver. Your doctor will organise, if possible, for you to have a Fibroscan examination. If Fibroscan is not available, your doctor will probably use an APRI test. This is an online calculator that estimates the health of your liver. It involves a blood test called a liver function test.
Dont forget, its very important to get a PCR test 12 weeks after finishing treatment this will mean the doctor can make sure you are cured.
Innovating Against A Silent Killer
Imagine taking an injection and a pill that made you feel every day worse than you ever felt from the infection that was being treated. Alexea Gaffney-Adams, MD, infectious disease specialist
Hepatitis C is dubbed the silent killer as it typically progresses without symptoms, often leaving patients unaware they are infected until their condition is very serious. HCV damages the liver slowly over many years, often moving from inflammation to scarring to permanent, irreversible scarring .
Once a patient has cirrhosis, the liver is unable to heal itself, and this condition can rarely be reversed. For those with end-stage liver disease, treatment is more focused on preventing further damage in an effort to avoid complications, including liver cancer, liver transplantation, and premature death. Hepatitis C has also been associated with other serious conditions, including diabetes, kidney disease, and depression.
In 1987, scientists working at Chiron Corporation, later acquired by Novartis, partnered with the CDC. Using a novel molecular cloning approach, they officially identified and named the virus hepatitis C in 1989.
Interferon was the first, and for a time, the only treatment for hepatitis C. An interferon is a protein produced by the bodys immune system in response to an infection. Side effects were debilitating, and many patients dropped out of what was a very long course of treatment. It was also a largely ineffective treatment.
Hepatitis C Treatment: Lifestyle Changes And Vaccines
There are also lifestyle changes you should make if you are diagnosed. If you are diagnosed with hepatitis C, you should:
- Discontinue alcohol consumption immediately. The combination of alcohol with hepatitis C is particularly dangerous for many patients.
- Maintain a healthy weight. Obesity can speed the progression of liver scarring.
- Get vaccinated against hepatitis A and B if you are not already immune, There are currently no vaccines for hepatitis C.
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Prevention Is The Best Medicine
Even though hepatitis C rarely spreads within a household, if you or a family member have the disease, its wise to take precautions to prevent its spread especially if anyone in your home is immune compromised, or has cuts or open sores that increase the risk of infection.
In general, use these common sense preventive tips:
- Unless you are in a long-term, monogamous relationship, practice safe sex.
- Clean up spilled or dried blood with a bleach-based cleaning solution and wear rubber gloves.
- Do not share razors.
- Do not share toothbrushes. Though hepatitis C is not transmitted through saliva, there might be blood on the toothbrush, Reau says.
Note that hepatitis C is not transmitted by sharing eating utensils, hugging, kissing, coughing or sneezing.
Yoga To Prevent Hepatitis C
It is believed that yoga and meditation can also help cure hepatitis C. Yoga movements can help you control breathing and improve focus. Many people who do yoga are healthier and focused than those who dont. So it is suggested to do yoga every day for 10-15 minutes for better health and reduce Hepatitis C.
Additional Tips to Cure Hepatitis C:
- Wash your hands properly after going to the bathroom and before eating food.
- Use latex condoms, which may lower the risk of transmission.
- Avoid tap water when traveling to certain countries or regions
- Dont share drug needles.
- Dont share personal itemssuch as toothbrushes, razors and nail clippers with an infected person.
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Dandelion To Get Rid Of Hepatitis C
Dandelion is the infuriating little weed that we unknowingly eliminated from our backyard. We do not realize that this humble plant actually is a storehouse of nutrients. Dandelion is an essential remedy, which is useful and is rich in antioxidant properties. Which further helps in eliminating the toxins that cause damage to the liver.
How To Cure Hepatitis At Home
How to cure Hepatitis at home:
Hepatitis is one sort of liver infection which needs the individual to be very careful and cautious. There are types of Hepatitis, Hepatitis A, Hepatitis B and Hepatitis C. Not taking the required precautions and the treatment can lead to serious complications which might last lifelong. There are multiple treatments offered for this Hepatitis and this is more manageable these days as compared to previously. Any sort of Hepatitis needs to be diagnosed. This diagnosis done at the early stages can help you tackle this quicker and better. Before you choose any home treatments for Hepatitis it is better to consult your doctor.
The catechins, which are antioxidants, present in green tea help in the protection of the liver cells. Specific catechins can also help in blocking the virus of the Hepatitis C from infecting your liver and prevent liver cancer. It is advisable to choose green tea instead of the supplements when choosing home remedies for Hepatitis.
Silymarin is an extract from the plant of the milk thistle. This works as a herbal remedy for the treatmentof Hepatitis. This is also used to flush out the toxins from the liver and bring down the inflammation. Silymarin can save the liver from damage by blocking out the virus of Hepatitis C.
How to cure Hepatitis at home:
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Potential Outcomes Of Treatment
In order to adequately monitor your response to treatment, youll need to visit your healthcare provider so he or she can examine you in person and discuss how youre feeling. The level of Hepatitis C virus in your bloodstream will be checked to monitor your response to treatment. The potential outcomes of treatment are the following:
- Sustained virologic response : You are considered cured if the Hepatitis C virus is not detected when measured with a blood test three months after youve completed treatment. This is called a sustained virologic response and data suggest that you will stay virus free indefinitely.
- Nonresponse: The Hepatitis C virus does not become undetectable as a result of treatment. This can be further categorized as partial response, when the viral levels become lower but not undetectable, or null-response which is when the viral level never drops significantly.
- Relapse: The Hepatitis C virus becomes undetectable on treatment, but then is detectable again, either during treatment or after treatment is stopped.
- Incomplete treatment: Treatment ended earlier that the prescribed duration.
The goal of treatment is to have an SVR. This is when you are considered cured. Taking your medication as prescribed will increase your chance of being cured and decrease the long-term complications of Hepatitis C.
What Are The Symptoms Of Hepatitis C
The majority of people get no symptoms at all, therefore are unaware they are infected. A small percentage of people do feel sick after contracting the virus, with symptoms like fever, nausea, joint pain, loss of appetite and mild jaundice. The people who do develop symptoms are more likely to overcome the infection on their own and not require medication.
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Skin Signs Of Liver Cancer
Liver cancer can also cause different types of rashes, particularly if HCV is the underlying cause. These not only include previously mentioned conditions like dermatomyositis but also:
- Acanthosis nigricans: This is the darkening and thickening of the skin commonly seen in people with hepatocellular carcinoma. It is often seen in skin folds of the groin, armpits, and neck.
- Acanthosis palmaris: Also known as tripe hands, this is the thickening of the skin of the palms accompanied by an abnormal velvety skin texture.
- LeserâTrÃ©lat sign: This is the abrupt outbreak of raised, brownish lesions called seborrheic keratoses, most commonly on the back but sometimes on the legs, arms, face, and neck. The sudden appearance of these lesions is characteristic of different cancers.
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What Are The Best Home Remedies For Hepatitis C
Hepatitis C is a serious medical condition, consult your doctor before attempting any homeopathic remedies such as vitamins, supplements, or tinctures. Some home remedies could interfere with hepatitis C treatments or medication, so be sure you are following your recommended protocol, doses, and regimens.
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Tracking The Costs Of Hepatitis C Treatment
Researchers are continuing to create medications that shorten the duration of treatment for hepatitis C.
According to the Pharmacy Times, the cost of treatment can be as low as $54,600 for the 12-week course and the entry to the market of new, cheaper drugs is likely to continue to bring the cost of hepatitis C treatments down.
The level of insurance cover for hepatitis C treatments can vary, depending on a persons insurance policy and overall health.
Some insurance companies will pay for people whose hepatitis C has not responded to less-expensive treatments or for those who are already showing signs of liver damage.
Some insurance companies may require a person to prove they have been drug- and alcohol-free before authorizing treatment.
Insurance companies may believe people who fall into these categories will cost them less money.
If a person has a hepatitis C diagnosis, they may first ask what treatments their doctor recommends. Then, they should contact their insurance company to find out what medications their insurance plan may cover.
Even if an insurance plan does not provide cover for treatments, there are still some patient assistance programs that help reduce the costs of specific treatments.
To find out about these, people can try researching the following:
Obtaining additional financial assistance and discounts can sometimes be a time-consuming and frustrating process.
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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.
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Who Is At Risk Of Getting Hepatitis C
Those at risk of getting hepatitis C include people who:
- received a blood transfusion before 1992
- have had tattoos or body piercing, especially in unlicensed facilities or with unsterile equipment
- have had a needle stick injury in the course of their work, such as health professionals who have been accidentally pierced with a used needle
- have lived in, or received healthcare, in South East Asia, the Indian subcontinent, the Middle East or Eastern Europe
- have been in prison and used unsterile needles or been involved in unsafe tattooing practice
- have lived in close contact with a person diagnosed with hepatitis C
- were born to a mother with hepatitis C .
While sexual transmission of hepatitis C is rare, it is possible. Having a sexually transmitted disease or HIV, sex with multiple partners or rough sex appears to increase a persons risk for hepatitis C.
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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.
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What Are The Side Effects Of Hepatitis C Medication
Side effects are a common risk factor of taking prescription medication necessary to treat hepatitis C. Some of the most common side effects of antiviral medications recommended for HVC include but are not limited to nausea, vomiting, bloody diarrhea, dizziness, confusion, fainting and difficulty breathing.
Diagnosis Of Hepatitis C
If you are at risk of hepatitis C infection, or think you may have been exposed to hepatitis C in the past, see your doctor for an assessment of your liver health. This will include blood tests and possibly a non-invasive test for liver damage .
There are 2 blood tests used to diagnose hepatitis C. Usually these can be done at the same time but sometimes they will be done separately.
The first test known as a hepatitis C antibody test can tell you whether you have ever been exposed to hepatitis C.
It may take 2 to 3 months from the time of infection until a blood test can detect antibodies to hepatitis C, so there is a window period during which you cannot tell if you are or have been infected. In this time, take precautions to prevent the potential spread of the virus.
The second test is called hepatitis C PCR, which will be done if the antibody test is positive. This determines if the virus is still present in your blood or liver or if you have already cleared the infection.
If you have cleared the virus or had successful treatment to cure it, the PCR test will be negative.
A liver ultrasound or Fibroscan can also be performed to assess if you have any liver damage.
If your doctor is inexperienced in diagnosing hepatitis C you can call the LiverLine on for information, and to find a GP who can help you.
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Where Can I Go If I Have Further Questions Or Need More Information
- Your local GP and pharmacist can provide you with more information on the new treatments, including if they are right for you. To find a GP, please click here
- The Victorian Government funds a range of community organisations to provide information, care and support to people living with hepatitis C, and on the new treatments. For more information, please visit:
- Hepatitis Victoria’s website or their Hepatitis Infoline on 1800 703 003or refer to the Hepatitis Victoria, PBS factsheets
Getting A Hepatitis C Test From Your Doctor
Ideally, you should talk with a doctor about hepatitis C screening. Theyll ask you about any potential exposures or risk factors and will probably order a blood test to check for HCV antibodies. You can get your blood tested anywhere that does routine blood work.
Its the same procedure as getting a routine blood test.
how to interpret at-home hepatitis C test results:
- If you test negative for the HCV antibody test, you do not need to do any more testing unless you suspect a recent exposure. If so, you should consider an NAT.
- If you test positive for the HCV antibody test, you have had exposure to the hepatitis C virus. To find out if you have an active infection, youll need to get an HCV test.
Youll need to see a doctor to ask about getting an NAT or RNA test. You cannot order these types of tests online.
- A positive NAT means you have a current HCV infection and is useful if youve been exposed very recently and your body may not have developed antibodies. Your doctor will recommend a treatment plan.
- A negative NAT means you do not have a current HCV infection.
- A positive RNA means you have an active HCV infection and need treatment.
- A negative RNA but positive antibodies mean you have been exposed to HCV but do not have an active infection.
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