Needle Use Or Accidental Stick
You can get hepatitis C from:
- Sharing needles and other equipment used to inject drugs.
- Having your ears or another body part pierced, getting a tattoo, or having acupuncture with needles that have not been sterilized properly. The risk of getting hepatitis C in these ways is very low.
- Working in a health care environment where you are exposed to fresh blood or where you may be pricked with a used needle. Following standard precautions for health care workers makes this risk very low.
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.
Cirrhosis Of The Liver
When permanent scar tissue replaces healthy liver cells and your liver loses the ability to function, its called cirrhosis. In this condition, your liver can no longer heal itself. This can cause a variety of health concerns, including a buildup of fluid in your abdomen and bleeding from veins in the esophagus.
When the liver fails to filter toxins, they can build up in your bloodstream and impair brain function. Cirrhosis of the liver can sometimes develop into liver cancer. This risk is greater in people who drink excess alcohol. Treatment of cirrhosis depends on the progression of the condition.
Chronic hepatitis C can cause serious long-term health consequences. End-stage hepatitis C occurs when the liver is severely damaged and can no longer function properly.
Symptoms may include:
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Are There Supplements That Are Good For My Liver
If a person eats a balanced diet, they will normally get enough vitamins and minerals. People with liver disease should avoid taking large amounts of supplements or “mega-vitamins.” This is because the liver has to do extra work to process them. Your provider may put you on a general multivitamin without iron.
Can Hepatitis Be Treated
Michael says, Now we have more options which are better for the patient and more affordable.
Each form of hepatitis has its method of treatment. Once you know what type of hepatitis you have, you can expect the following treatment process:
- Hepatitis A is a short-term illness that responds well to bed rest, hydration, and nutrition.
- Hepatitis B in its acute form doesnt require treatment but the chronic form of the disease is treated with antiviral medications.
- Hepatitis C is also treated with antiviral medication for both the acute and chronic forms of the disease.
- Hepatitis D doesnt have a very effective treatment regimen at this time there is a medication available but it has low efficacy.
- Hepatitis E usually resolves on its own as a short-term illness.
For prevention, there is a vaccine available to target hepatitis A and hepatitis B. You can also prevent hepatitis D by getting the hepatitis B vaccine. If you believe you have symptoms of hepatitis please call Gastroenterology Associates of Southwest Florida, PA for an appointment at 239-275-8882.
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Treatment If The Condition Gets Worse
Severe liver damage caused by chronic hepatitis C usually takes 20 or more years to develop.
If your hepatitis C continues to get worse, it can cause your liver to stop working, a condition called end-stage liver failure. In this case, a liver transplant may be the only way to extend your life. But if you are drinking alcohol, are sharing needles to inject drugs, or have severe depression or certain other mental illnesses, liver transplant may not be an option.
What Is The Outlook
Most people with hepatitis A recover without any complications. Once youve had hepatitis A, you cant get it again. Antibodies to the virus will protect you for life.
Some people may be at an increased risk for serious illness from hepatitis A. These include:
- older adults
acute hepatitis B infections in the United States in 2018.
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How Long Does It Last
Hepatitis A can last from a few weeks to several months.
Hepatitis B can range from a mild illness, lasting a few weeks, to a serious, life-long condition. More than 90% of unimmunized infants who get infected develop a chronic infection, but 6%10% of older children and adults who get infected develop chronic hepatitis B.
Hepatitis C can range from a mild illness, lasting a few weeks, to a serious, life-long infection. Most people who get infected with the hepatitis C virus develop chronic hepatitis C.
What Are The Treatment Guidelines For Hepatitis C
Hepatitis C treatment is best discussed with a doctor or specialist familiar with current and developing options as this field is changing, and even major guidelines may become outdated quickly.
The latest treatment guidelines by the American Association for the Study of Liver Disease and Infectious Disease Society of America recommends use of DAAs as first-line treatment for hepatitis C infection. The choice of DAA varies by specific virus genotype, and the presence or absence of cirrhosis. In the U.S., specific insurance providers also might influence the choice due to the high cost of DAAs. Although the individual, public health, and cost benefits of treating all patients with hepatitis C is clear, the most difficult barrier to treating all people with HCV is the very high cost of the drug regimens. Patients are encouraged to discuss options with their health care professional.
Treatment is recommended in all patients with chronic hepatitis C unless they have a short life expectancy that is not related to liver disease. Severe life-threatening liver disease may require liver transplantation. Newer therapies with DAAs have allowed more and more patients to be treated.
What are the goals of therapy for hepatitis C infection?
The ultimate goals of antiviral therapy are to
- prevent transmission of hepatitis C,
- prevent progression to cirrhosis and liver cancer, and
- improve survival and quality of life.
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Managing Symptoms When Hepatitis Gets Worse
Your doctor will help you manage specific symptoms like itchy skin or pain. You can also make lifestyle changes that can help you feel better and might stop further damage to your liver.
Eat a balanced diet. No matter how advanced your cirrhosis, a well-balanced, nutritious diet is one of the best ways to stay healthy. If you have fluid buildup, your doctor may tell you to cut back on salt.
Avoid alcohol and certain medications, supplements, and herbs. Ask your doctor what’s safe for you.
Joint And Muscle Pain
A condition called arthralgia causes joint pain and is common in people with hepatitis C. Itâs different from arthritis, which causes pain and swelling in joints. But infected people can also get hepatitis C-related arthritis.
Fibromyalgia, which causes body aches and muscle pain, is also common in people with hepatitis C.
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What Are The Side Effects Of Treatments For Hepatitis C Infection
Side effects of interferon or pegylated interferon
- The most common side effects of interferon or pegylated interferon include fever, flu-like symptoms, and depression. Patients must be monitored closely for depression. Risk of suicide is a reason to avoid interferons.
- Interferons also reduce white blood cell and/or red blood cell counts . This may cause increased susceptibility to infection. Interferons also increase the risk of certain cancers. Death rarely occurs as a result of therapy, but may occur from progression of liver failure in patients with advanced cirrhosis.
Side effects of ribavirin
- Ribavirin most commonly causes anemia due to destruction of red blood cells . This can be severe enough that people with heart disease may suffer a heart attack from insufficient blood flow, so people with heart disease should not receive this drug. Anemia improves with a reduction in the dose of ribavirin. Injected growth factor that stimulates the production of red blood cells often is used to improve the anemia associated with ribavirin. Ribavirin also accumulates in the testicles and ovaries and causes birth defects in animals. Although no birth defects have been reported in humans, both men and women should use contraceptive measures to avoid pregnancy during and for at least six months after ribavirin treatment.
Side effects of DAAs
- The most common and significant side effects of boceprevir , sofosbuvir , and ledipasvir/sofosbuvir include
- fatigue ,
How Do I Tell Someone I Have Hepatitis C
Informing someone that you have hepatitis C can be hard. Most people know little about this disease. You can start with how you found out about your diagnosis. It helps to be prepared with educational materials on HCV, and to be aware of the ways that people can and cannot be infected. For example, it is very rare for HCV to be transmitted during sex. Be sure to tell anyone who may be directly affected, such as:
You may want to encourage others to be tested for HCV if they have similar risk factors.
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.
Awareness Prevention And Early Diagnosis Are Essential
There’s a good reason why hepatitis C is known as a “silent killer.”
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, an estimated 3.2 million Americans live with chronic hepatitis C infection, which is transmitted through infected bodily fluids like blood and semen, and causes inflammation of the liver. Yet up to 75% of people who have hepatitis C aren’t aware they have it.
Most of those living with the virus experience only mild symptoms or don’t have any symptoms at all until they develop serious liver damage or another life-threatening liver disease. Unfortunately, that means they aren’t getting diagnosed and treatment is delayed until the later stages when irreversible liver damage has occurred.
Here, hepatologistNancy Reau, MD, associate director of the Solid Organ Transplant Program at Rush University Medical Center, explains who is at risk for hepatitis C and offers advice to help you protect yourself.
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Is It Safe To Take Aspirin Or Tylenol If I Have Hepatitis C
Tylenol is an over-the-counter pain killer. It can be harmful in high doses. If you have hepatitis or liver disease, then you can take Tylenol, but no more than 2,000 mg total over 24 hours. In general, this could be one 500 mg tablet every 6 hours, at the most. Acetaminophen is also included as an ingredient in some opiate medications and in some over-the-counter cold/flu medications, so please be aware of the dose of acetaminophen you may be taking from some combination medicines.
Aspirin, ibuprofen , naproxen , and other nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs , can be harmful if you have cirrhosis. They are safe in hepatitis patients who do not have cirrhosis. But, if a patient has cirrhosis, then NSAIDs cannot be taken at all. If you are not sure, always check with your provider.
C Diff Epidemic Likely To Get Worse
Experts Say Cases of the Diarrhea Bug Are Now in All 50 States
Oct. 30, 2008 — The nation’s epidemic of the nasty superbug Clostridium difficile, or C. diff, will likely get worse before it gets better, says a panel of experts.
Cases of the potentially dangerous diarrhea bug have now been seen in all 50 states, says L. Clifford McDonald, MD, of the CDC’s Division of Healthcare Quality and Promotion. And “we haven’t hit bottom yet,” says Lance Peterson, MD, of the Evanston Northwestern Healthcare Research Institute in Illinois.
Most cases of C. diff occur in people taking antibiotics. Spores enter the body through the mouth, which is the entryway for the gastrointestinal tract. The overgrowth of the C. diff bacteria in the colon, or large intestine, can cause diarrhea, which is often severe and accompanied by intestinal inflammation known as colitis.
Antibiotics can kill “good” bacteria in the colon that keeps C. diff at bay, explains M. Lindsay Grayson, MD, vice chairman of the committee that chose which studies to highlight at the meeting and an infectious diseases specialist at Austin Health in Melbourne, Australia.
Infection often runs rampant in hospitals and nursing homes, where patients and health care workers are in close proximity. Typically, the bug can’t be wiped out by standard cleaning agents, he tells WebMD.
The experts spoke here at a joint meeting of the American Society for Microbiology and the Infectious Diseases Society of America.
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What To Expect If You Get Cirrhosis
In the early stages of hepatitis C, your liver still has enough cells to do its many jobs. But with time, more cells die, and pressure builds up in the vein leaving the liver.
When that happens, symptoms of cirrhosis like jaundice may show up.
These are some possible complications of cirrhosis:
- Swelling in your legs and abdomen, which can lead to a serious bacterial infection.
- Enlarged blood vessels in your esophagus or stomach, which can burst and cause serious internal bleeding. This requires immediate medical attention.
- Enlarged spleen , which may lead to a low white blood cell or platelet count.
- Gallstones , from bile not flowing freely to and from your gallbladder.
- Greater sensitivity to drugs because your liver canât filter them from your blood.
- Resistance to the hormone insulin , leading to type 2 diabetes.
- Kidney and lung failure.
- Problems fighting infection.
Two other serious complications of cirrhosis are liver cancer and a buildup of toxins in your brain. The latter can interfere with your thinking, and can lead to coma.
Youâll need to see your doctor more often to manage these complications. Youâll have tests to see how your body is reacting. Your doctor may try a new combination of medications.
How Serious Is It
- People can be sick for a few weeks to a few months
- Most recover with no lasting liver damage
- Although very rare, death can occur
- 15%25% of chronically infected people develop chronic liver disease, including cirrhosis, liver failure, or liver cancer
- More than 50% of people who get infected with the hepatitis C virus develop a chronic infection
- 5%-25% of people with chronic hepatitis C develop cirrhosis over 1020 years
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Preventing The Spread Of Hepatitis
HCV is most often spread by blood contact. Never share needles, syringes, tattoo equipment, or snorting straws.
Don’t try to donate blood, organs, tissues, or semen.
Don’t share razors or toothbrushes, although it’s very rare to transmit hepatitis C this way.
If you need medical or dental care, tell the staff that you have hepatitis.
If you’re pregnant or plan to be pregnant, tell your healthcare provider. There is a small chance that hepatitis C can be transmitted to the unborn baby. HCV isn’t passed in breastmilk.
The risk of spreading the virus through sex is low, especially if you only have sex with one partner. Standard safer-sex practices, including using latex condoms, are advised if you have sex with more than one partner. There is no need to change your sexual practices if you are in a long-term relationship with one partner.
The risk of household spread is low. There is no need to avoid close contact or not share meals or utensils.
HCV does not involve any restrictions on work.
If You Have Hepatitis C Can You Have Sex Without Infecting Your Partner
Hepatitis C is a virus that is transmitted by blood. The most common ways people become infected with hepatitis C are through needle sharing, such as during injection drug use, or from blood transfusions received before 1992.
Becoming infected from sex is not common, but it does happen. If you have hepatitis C, the chance of infecting a sex partner is higher if you are with a new partner or if you have had many different partners over time. If you have hepatitis C, the chance of infecting a sex partner is lower if you are with a longtime stable partner and if you are in a monogamous relationship.
If your sex partner is new to you, or if you have many different partners, it is safer if you use condoms during sex to reduce the chance of transmitting hepatitis C.
It is always best to talk directly with your health care provider to assess whether you should start using condoms. If you are in a sexual relationship and either you or your partner has hepatitis C, the other partner should be tested for hepatitis C and other sexually transmitted viruses once a year, or as advised by your provider.
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