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How Would You Know If You Had Hepatitis C

Celebrities You Didn’t Know Received Organ Donations

What to know about Hepatitis C

Organ transplants are a miracle of modern medicine, saving lives every day. It’s a serious procedure and it’s shocking to discover that so many well-known celebrities have undergone it even while carrying on in the public eye. Many of them are seemingly young and healthy, and although they’ve spoken out about their experiences, from the outside you’d never guess what they’ve been through.

On the other end of the spectrum, some of the older rock n’ roll generation developed diseases from their rough lifestyles that landed them on the organ donor waiting list, causing some controversy among the public. Click through the gallery to learn more about their stories.

What Is Hepatitis B

Hepatitis B is a viral infection that causes liver inflammation and damage. Inflammation is swelling that occurs when tissues of the body become injured or infected. Inflammation can damage organs.

Viruses invade normal cells in your body. Many viruses cause infections that can spread from person to person. The hepatitis B virus spreads through contact with an infected persons blood, semen, or other body fluids.

You can take steps to protect yourself from hepatitis B, including getting the hepatitis B vaccine. If you have hepatitis B, you can take steps to prevent spreading hepatitis B to others.

The hepatitis B virus can cause an acute or chronic infection.

Testing For Hepatitis C

Hepatitis C is usually diagnosed using 2 blood tests: the antibody test and the PCR test. These can be as part of a routine blood test or are often combined as a dried blood spot test. The dried blood spot test is similar to a blood sugar test in pricking the finger to get a blood spot that is put on a testing card. This is then sent to a laboratory to be tested.

Another similar test is an antigen test, which if used can often get the results back in 90 minutes. This is very expensive and not many services have access to the machine needed.

Read Also: How Do You Cure Hepatitis A

Germy Water And Food Are Risky

Hepatitis A and E are both considered acute viral diseases: that is, most people recover completely without long-term damage. However, the infections can be more serious in people who already have liver diseases. Both viruses are transmitted by what’s known as the fecal-oral route: that is, eating food or drinking water that’s been contaminated by the feces of someone who has the virus. This is especially common in places with contaminated food or water or sites with flooding. While hepatitis E is rare in the U.S., Americans aren’t in the clear when it comes to either infection. For one, if you plan to travel to countries with poor sanitation, you’ll want to make sure you practice good hygiene, including washing your hands after bathroom trips, drinking purified water, and avoiding uncooked foodsspecifically meat from pigs, boar, and deer. These animals can carry the hep E virus, and the CDC warns that it’s possible to get the virus as the result of eating undercooked meat from infected animals. It’s best to be cautious when cooking: The FDA says to cook pork until it reaches an internal temperature of 145 degrees as measured by a food thermometer.

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Risk Factor: Using Unsterile Tattoo Instruments

Symptoms and warning signs of Hepatitis C

Another risk factor for hepatitis C infection is using unsterile tattoo instruments and body piercings, says Dr. Goff. Its a big red flag if the facility where you were tattooed or pierced was unlicensed and equipment wasnt cleaned properly. Before getting a tattoo or piercing, make sure to do your research, recommends the Mayo Clinic. That means asking whether employees are properly trained and licensed according to your state laws and ensuring they wear gloves and use proper equipment .

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Who Can Be Treated For Hepatitis C

Treatment decisions should be made by both you and your provider. Current treatments for hepatitis C are very successful and can cure most people of the virus.

  • Treatment regimens exist for all genotypes.
  • Treatment regimens exist for HCV-HIV coinfection.
  • Treatment regimens exist for all stages of disease .
  • Treatment regimens exist for patients who have taken treatment in the past but were not successful.
  • What Is Hepatitis A

    Hepatitis A is a viral infection that causes liver inflammation and damage. Inflammation is swelling that occurs when tissues of the body become injured or infected. Inflammation can damage organs.

    Viruses invade normal cells in your body. Many viruses cause infections that can be spread from person to person. The hepatitis A virus typically spreads through contact with food or water that has been contaminated by an infected persons stool.

    Hepatitis A is an acute or short-term infection, which means people usually get better without treatment after a few weeks. In rare cases, hepatitis A can be severe and lead to liver failure and the need for an emergency liver transplant to survive. Hepatitis A does not lead to long-term complications, such as cirrhosis, because the infection only lasts a short time.

    You can take steps to protect yourself from hepatitis A, including getting the hepatitis A vaccine. If you have hepatitis A, you can take steps to prevent spreading hepatitis A to others.

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    You Can Have It And Not Know It

    What is hepatitis B?

    Hepatitis B is a liver disease caused by the hepatitis B virus . HBV is far more infectious than HIV and can be prevented by a vaccine. People who have not been vaccinated may be at risk of getting infected.

    About 95 percent of adults will recover within 6 months of becoming infected and as a result will develop lifelong protection against it. The remaining 5 percent are unable to clear the virus and will become chronically infected. Chronic hepatitis B infection is treatable.

    It is estimated that less than 1 percent of Canada’s population is infected with either acute or chronic HBV. People who are infected before the age of 7 are at a higher risk of developing chronic infection. In 2011, the overall reported rate of acute hepatitis B infection in Canada was 0.6 reported cases per 100,000 people living in Canada.

    Why is hepatitis B a health concern?

    Many people infected with HBV do not know they have the virus because symptoms can take two to six months to appear and only about 50 percent of people develop symptoms. During this time, they can spread the infection to others. You may not know you have this infection until damage has already been done to your liver. Potential complications from chronic HBV infection include cirrhosis of the liver, liver failure, liver cancer and premature death.

    Why do I need my liver?

    How is hepatitis B spread?

    HBV is spread through contact with infected blood and body fluids including semen and vaginal fluid.

    When Should You See A Doctor Or Other Healthcare Professional

    What is Hepatitis C and Why Should You Care?

    Since so many people dont experience any symptoms, healthcare professionals recommend getting screened for hepatitis C at least once in your adult life. They may recommend more frequent screenings if you have a higher risk of contracting the virus.

    Hepatitis C doesnt always become severe, but the chronic form can increase your risk for liver damage, liver cancer, and liver failure.

    If you have any symptoms that suggest hepatitis C, especially if theres a chance youve been exposed, connect with a doctor or another healthcare professional as soon as possible to discuss your options for testing and treatment.

    With a prompt diagnosis, you can get treatment earlier, which may help prevent damage to your liver.

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    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.

    What The Cdc Recommends

    Were you born between 1945 and 1965? If so, then youre a member of the Hepatitis C generation. The CDC recently recommended that all people born between during this time have a 1-time screening test for Hepatitis C. We now have new drugs that can treat and cure Hepatitis C so you should go get tested today.

    The life you save may be your own! Please contact your local healthcare provider.

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    Articles On Hepatitis C

    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. You’re usually not diagnosed until they spot a problem with your liver enzymes after a routine blood test.

    Hepatitis C And Injecting Drugs

    Falling Through The Cracks: The 2019 Hepatitis C In ...

    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.

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    Additional Tests You Might Need

    Once youve been diagnosed with Hepatitis C, your doctor will likely order a number of tests to find out about the health of your liver and decide on a treatment plan thats most appropriate for you.

    Hepatitis C genotype

    The Hepatitis C genotype refers to a specific strain or type of the Hepatitis C virus. There are six major types of Hepatitis C around the world: genotypes 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6. In the United States, genotypes 1, 2, and 3 are common:

    • Genotype 1: Most Americans with Hepatitis C have this type
    • Genotype 2: About 10% of Americans with Hepatitis C have this type
    • Genotype 3: About 6% of Americans with Hepatitis C have this type

    The genotype of Hepatitis C does not change over time, so you only need to get tested once.

    Genotype tests are done before a person starts treatment. Hepatitis C treatment works differently for different genotypes, so knowing your genotype helps your doctor choose the best treatment for you.

    Testing for Hepatitis A and Hepatitis B

    Your doctor may test to see if your body is immune to Hepatitis A and Hepatitis B. If these tests show no prior exposure or protection, he or she will recommend that you be vaccinated against these two viruses to eliminate the chance of becoming infected.

    Liver function tests or liver enzymes

    • ALT
    • AST

    Liver function tests also include ALP and total bilirubin, among other things.

    Tests to measure liver scarring or fibrosis

    • Liver Biopsy
    • Elastography
    • Serum markers

    Imaging tests

    Sometimes The Infection Goes Away On Its Own

    Acute hepatitis is C is a short-term illness that occurs within the first six months after being exposed to the virus. Like the human papillomavirus , early acute hepatitis C can clear on its own without treatment this happens about 25% of the time.

    However, it’s more likely that the virus will remain in your body longer than six months, at which point it’s considered to be chronic hepatitis C infection.

    “Being younger or a woman tends to be a factor in whether the virus clears on its own, and genetics may play a role,” Reau says. “But we can’t determine with certainty which people are certain to clear the infection and which aren’t.”

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    How Does Hepatitis C Affect My Liver

    Over time, hepatitis C can damage the liver and cause inflammation as well as cirrhosis or liver cancer, according to the CDC. The catch is that you may not notice the viruss effects until years or decades after you contracted it.

    The liver is an uncomplaining organ, explains Thelma King Thiel, RN, founder and chair of the Liver Health Initiative in Silver Spring, Maryland.

    Not All Forms Are Related To Risky Habits

    Free screening can help you know whether you have Hep C

    You’ve probably heard that actress Pamela Anderson has hepatitis C, which she says she contracted after sharing a tattoo needle with former husband Tommy Lee. But not all types of the virus are spread through direct exchange of bodily fluids. Of the five different types of hepatitis, some viruses spread through contaminated food or water , while type B travels through blood and body fluids, and type C through blood alone. In many cases, the liver can fight the infection on its own, but some can turn into chronic infections with long-term health consequences. As of now, vaccines only exist for types A and B.

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    Next Steps: Medical Care For Hepatitis C

    In addition to getting your positive antibody test result confirmed, it is important to get additional testing and vaccinations once you know you have HCV. You need to be tested for, and, if needed, vaccinated against hepatitis A and hepatitis B if you have hepatitis C to avoid getting more than one type of hepatitis, which will be hard on your liver. Your doctor will do more tests to see if your liver is damaged. You may also want to find out what kind of HCV you have and how much HCV you have in your blood . Getting all of these tests will give you and your doctor information so that you can make the best treatment decisions.

    Why Is It So Important To Take Hepatitis C Drugs Correctly

    Taking any medicine correctly is extremely important. Taking medicines correctly means:

  • not skipping doses
  • taking the medicine as instructed, such as with or without food
  • not running out of the medicine before you have picked up your refill
  • not stopping the treatment earlier than planned
  • For hepatitis C drugs, these issues are especially important because, if a medicine is not taken correctly, it may not kill the virus completely. Then, because the virus has “seen” the drug, it learns how to mutate and change in ways that allow it to escape the drug and avoid getting killed off. This is called drug resistance.

    Developing drug resistance is a serious issue. It means that the treatment may not work and that the patient may not respond to future treatments.

    To prevent drug resistance, it is important to take any medication correctly, but especially DAAs such as Harvoni, Mavyret, Epclusa, and Zepatier.

    Resistance can develop quickly. It is very important to take these new antiviral medications according to instructions, on schedule, and not to skip or reduce doses.

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    What Do Hepatitis C Symptoms Look Like

    Hepatitis C infection can go through two stages: acute and chronic. In the early, or acute stage, most people don’t have symptoms. If they do develop symptoms, these can include:

    • flu-like symptoms, tiredness, high temperature and aches and pains
    • loss of appetite
    • tummy pain
    • jaundice, meaning your skin and the whites of your eyes turn yellow

    While for some people, the infection will clear without treatment, in most cases, acute infection will develop into long-term chronic infection. Chronic infection may not become apparent for a number of years until the liver displays signs of damage. These symptoms can include:

    • mental confusion and depression these are specific to hepatitis C
    • constantly feeling tired
    • nausea, vomiting or tummy pain
    • dark urine
    • feeling bloated
    • joint and muscle pain

    Without treatment, chronic hepatitis C can cause scarring of the liver , which can cause the liver to stop working properly. A small number of people with cirrhosis develop liver cancer and these complications can lead to death. Other than a liver transplant, theres no cure for cirrhosis. However, treatments can help relieve some of the symptoms.

    How To Reduce Your Risk For Cirrhosis

    Common Questions about Liver Damage with Hepatitis C

    One of the main concerns for anyone with hepatitis C is cirrhosis, or scarring of liver tissue. This is because the virus can cause inflammation in the liver.

    When liver tissue becomes inflamed, the tissue tries to repair itself. This leads to scar tissue forming in the liver. The more scar tissue that is present, the harder it is for the liver to function effectively.

    Its thought that up to of people with hepatitis C will develop cirrhosis within 20 to 30 years of infection.

    You can help reduce your risk by:

    • avoiding alcohol, as it can limit your livers ability to remove toxins from your body
    • consulting with your doctor before taking prescription and over-the-counter medications and supplements as these can sometimes injure the liver
    • following a healthy diet rich in vegetables, fruits, and whole grains
    • controlling your cholesterol and blood sugar
    • getting at least 30 minutes of exercise per day
    • getting vaccinated against hepatitis A and hepatitis B

    Talk to your doctor about the hepatitis C treatment options available to you, as well as how you can reduce your risk for cirrhosis. Its important to seek treatment as soon as possible.

    If significant liver damage occurs, medications may not be enough to help you. A liver transplant may be necessary.

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