About Center For Liver Diseases
The UPMC Center for Liver Diseases provides complete care for a variety of liver diseases. Our expert hepatologists manage and treat patients using cutting-edge practices and therapies. We research and evaluate new treatments to provide the best care possible. work out of several outpatient locations in western Pennsylvania and a specialty inpatient unit at UPMC Montefiore in Oakland. We manage your care and, if necessary, can help you make the transition to subspecialists, including transplant surgery and oncology.
How Do You Treat Hepatitis C
In the past, there was no medication to treat hepatitis C. However, over the last few years, medications have been approved to cure the disease.
If you have symptoms, or youre found to have an asymptomatic chronic infection, your doctor will likely refer you to a liver specialist who can help determine the best course of treatment.
Your doctor can also monitor your symptoms and perform blood tests to confirm whether certain treatments are working for you.
Its difficult to tell if you have hepatitis C based on symptoms.
Be sure to practice preventive measures to protect yourself from developing the condition:
- Practice safe sex to prevent getting sexually transmitted diseases.
- If you get tattoos or piercings, make sure that the employees use sterile needles.
The Symptoms And Warning Signs Of Hepatitis C
Hepatitis C is an aggravation of your liver and can be intense.
Be that as it may, in the beginning periods of the malady, the vast majority dont see any side effects, so it tends to be difficult to discern whether you have it.
The hepatitis C infection is considering the most genuine of the hepatitis infections.
In PeekerHealth let us show you more about this infection
Recommended Reading: Hepatitis A Vaccine Cost Walmart
Enlargement Of The Parotid Gland
In hepatitis C, salivary glands and other oral structures are often taken along with the liver. Patients develop an increase in size and pain in the parotid gland, and other salivary glands can also be involved. Thus, patients with chronic sialadenitis should be tested for hepatitis C infections, especially if they have a high risk of the disease.
As noted above, the signs and symptoms of hepatitis C are slightly different from those we classically know. They are often unspecific and very vague in the early stage of the disease, and patients go through the chronic phase of the disease without even knowing. Then, and only when the liver is severely affected by hepatitis C, jaundice, bleeding, swelling of the liver, and edema are found. But then it might be too late to do something about it.
Thus, we do not recommend waiting for symptoms of hepatitis C. If youre at risk of hepatitis C transmission due to blood transfusions, drug use, unprotected sex, needle pricks, or any other safety breach, you need to test for hepatitis C instead of waiting for the signs and symptoms.
Diagnosis Of The Hepatitis C Virus
Initially, the doctor will perform a blood test to determine whether or not there is any infection present. If an infection is detected, the doctor will then order an ultrasound test to see whether there are any signs of cirrhosis or liver cancer. In cases where ultrasound results are unclear, the doctor may order additional tests, such as a CT scan or MRI. For some patients, doctors may recommend a liver biopsy which involves inserting a thin needle through the abdominal wall to remove a small sample of liver tissue for laboratory testing. This is another method used for accurate diagnosis before treatment.
Don’t Miss: Hepatitis C Can You Get Rid Of It
Early Warning Signs Of Hepatitis C
When it comes to treatable diseases and conditions, it is important to diagnose them at the right time. Diagnosing diseases in the nascent stages can provide the individual multiple treatment options and even increase the chances of survival.
One such disease is Hepatitis C. Hepatitis C is a viral infection that can cause inflammation in the liver and can cause permanent damage to the bodys organs. Hepatitis C manifests in two stages: acute hepatitis and chronic hepatitis. Acute hepatitis is the early stage of the disease, where individuals often experience a lack of signs and symptoms. Here are a few early signs and symptoms that should help you keep an eye out and get tested and diagnosed at the right time.
Other common and early signs of hepatitis C may include nausea and even vomiting. In the second or chronic stage of hepatitis C, individuals may experience easy bleeding, bruising, poor appetite, a buildup of fluid in their abdomen, swelling in the legs and feet, unintentional loss of weight, confusion, spider angiomas, causing spider-like veins and blood vessels on your skin, and even drowsiness along with slurred speech.
How Can I Protect Myself From Hepatitis C Infection
If you dont have hepatitis C, you can help protect yourself from hepatitis C infection by
- not sharing drug needles or other drug materials
- wearing gloves if you have to touch another persons blood or open sores
- making sure your tattoo artist or body piercer uses sterile tools and unopened ink
- not sharing personal items such toothbrushes, razors, or nail clippers
Hepatitis C can spread from person to person during sex, but the chances are low. People who have multiple sex partners, have HIV or other sexually transmitted diseases, or who engage in rough or anal sex have a higher chance of getting hepatitis C. Talk with your doctor about your risk of getting hepatitis C through sex and about safe sex practices, such as using a latex or polyurethane condom to help prevent the spread of hepatitis C.
If you had hepatitis C in the past and your body fought off the infection or medicines cured the infection, you can get hepatitis C again. Follow the steps above, and talk with your doctor about how to protect yourself from another hepatitis C infection.
If you think you may have been exposed to the hepatitis C virus, see your doctor as soon as possible. Early diagnosis and treatment can help prevent liver damage.
Read Also: Can Chronic Hepatitis B Be Cured
Treatment Of Patients With Hepatitis C
The physician will consider the best treatment plan according to the stage and condition of the disease, and take any other diseases or illnesses the patient may have into account. The disease can be cured with oral medications. These are designed to get rid of the infection permanently. Response to the medications can be assessed by testing for the virus levels in the blood after treatment is completed. This type of treatment helps not only to improve the patients condition but also to clear the hepatitis C virus from the body and thus prevent cirrhosis and liver cancer.
What Is Hepatitis C
Hepatitis C 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 C virus spreads through contact with an infected persons blood.
Hepatitis C can cause an acute or chronic infection.
Although no vaccine for hepatitis C is available, you can take steps to protect yourself from hepatitis C. If you have hepatitis C, talk with your doctor about treatment. Medicines can cure most cases of hepatitis C.
You May Like: Royal Canin Hepatic Wet Dog Food
Late Signs Of Liver Disease
If you dont notice or experience any early signs, it can take as long as 15 years for symptoms of hepatitis C-liver disease to emerge. The damage to your liver starts off as a slow, simmering inflammation that, over time, can progress to scarring , , liver cancer, and the need for a . Hepatitis C is the leading cause of cirrhosis and and the most common reason for liver transplantation in the United States.
Symptoms of end-stage are far less innocuous than the early signs of an acute infection. They may include easy bleeding or , persistent or recurring , intense itching, , and . Swelling in your abdomen and legs due to fluid buildup, liver , and problems with concentration and memory may also occur.
If you develop cirrhosis, your liver can fail. Other signs of are bleeding of the digestive tract caused by enlarged veins in the esophagus connecting the throat and stomach. Another consequence of cirrhosis is brain and nervous system damage due to the buildup of toxins in your blood, which occurs when the failing liver can no longer clean and detoxify your blood.
If you develop any of these symptoms, contact your doctor. If your blood test is positive for hepatitis C infection, he or she may need to perform liver biopsies to evaluate how much the hepatitis C virus has affected your liver. The degree to which your liver is affected by hepatitis C is an important driver in treatment decisions.
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.
Don’t Miss: Hepatitis C Cdc Fact Sheet
Southern Cross Medical Library
The purpose of the Southern Cross Medical Library is to provide information of a general nature to help you better understand certain medical conditions. Always seek specific medical advice for treatment appropriate to you. This information is not intended to relate specifically to insurance or healthcare services provided by Southern Cross. For more articles go to the Medical Library index page.
Chronic Hepatitis C Symptoms
If you donât get diagnosed and treated, you could have the disease for years and not know it. Doctors call this the chronic form, because it lasts a long time. Some people who’ve had it for a while get scarring of the liver, which is called cirrhosis. or liver cancer.
In addition to the above symptoms, signs that your liver isnât working the way it should include:
- Ascites — fluid buildup in your belly
- Easy bleeding
- Hepatic encephalopathy — confusion, drowsiness, and slurred speech
- Jaundice of the skin
You May Like: Natural Remedies For Hepatitis C
Understanding The Early Signs Of Hepatitis
Hepatitis is the inflammation of the liver. It commonly occurs due to viral infection. Understanding the disease and identifying its early signs is vital as unmanaged hepatitis can lead to cirrhosis and liver cancer. According to WHO, viral hepatitis causes 1.34 million deaths worldwide.
Hepatitis is divided into five categories, namely hepatitis A, B, C, D, and E. A different virus causes infection in each of these types. Hepatitis A, B, and C are the most common types of viral hepatitis, while the remaining two occur rarely.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services estimates that 2.4 million Americans have hepatitis C, whereas approximately 850,000 people have hepatitis B. According to the CDC, most cases of hepatitis go unreported. In 2018 alone, around 24,900 Americans were reported to have hepatitis A, 21,600 cases of hepatitis B, and 50,300 cases of hepatitis C.
What Are The Complications Of Undiagnosed Hepatitis C
- Hepatitis C is known to be associated with two skin conditions, lichen planus and porphyria cutanea tarda.
- Diabetes, heart disease, and arterial blockage are more common among patients with chronic hepatitis C infection than in the general population. It may be that liver damage and chronic inflammation caused by hepatitis C may affect the levels of blood fats and blood sugar.
- Low platelet counts may occur as a result of the destruction of platelets by antibodies.
Don’t Miss: Symptoms Of Advanced Hepatitis C
What To Do To Prevent Hepatitis C
Because there is currently no vaccine available for hepatitis C, the key to preventing it is avoiding known risk factors for infection. For example, refrain from sharing any sharp objects, needles or syringes with other people. Dont share razors or toothbrushes with others, avoid blood transfusions unless absolutely necessary, etc. The hepatitis C virus, however, does not spread by eating together with others or by sharing plates, bowls or cutlery. Breastfeeding, hugging, kissing, touching as well as sneezing or coughing dont pose any risk.
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: What Are The Symptoms Of Having Hepatitis C
Checking Your Blood Labs
A lab test can give your doctor a clue that something is wrong. Get them done annually. However, please do not count on them. I had many labs tests with elevated liver enzymes only 1 time before my liver failed. A CBC and liver panel can offer clues to what is going on. The gold standard is to have your liver tested or biopsied to understand how the late warning signs of Hepatitis C are affecting your body. Your doctor may also look out for anemia due to varices bleeding, low platelets due to spleen health, or elevated ALT or AST .
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.
Read Also: How Can You Contact Hepatitis C
How Is Hepatitis C Spread
Hepatitis C spreads through contact with the blood of someone who has HCV. This contact may be through
- Sharing drug needles or other drug materials with someone who has HCV. In the United States, this is the most common way that people get hepatitis C.
- Getting an accidental stick with a needle that was used on someone who has HCV. This can happen in health care settings.
- Being tattooed or pierced with tools or inks that were not sterilized after being used on someone who has HCV
- Having contact with the blood or open sores of someone who has HCV
- Sharing personal care items that may have come in contact with another person’s blood, such as razors or toothbrushes
- Being born to a mother with HCV
- Having unprotected sex with someone who has HCV
Before 1992, hepatitis C was also commonly spread through blood transfusions and organ transplants. Since then, there has been routine testing of the U.S. blood supply for HCV. It is now very rare for someone to get HCV this way.
How Is Hepatitis C Analyzed
Since it tends to be hard to tell, in light of side effects, regardless of whether you have contracted hepatitis C, you can be trying for it.
A straightforward blood test can affirm whether you have the condition.
After your specialist gets the consequences of your blood test,
they may suggest that you experience a biopsy of your liver to decide whether you have liver harm from ceaseless it.
Recommended Reading: How Can Someone Contract Hepatitis C
Baby Boomers Are Especially Vulnerable
“The hepatitis C virus didn’t have a name or a screening test until in 1989,” Reau says. “That means people born between 1945 and 1965, the group referred to as ‘baby boomers,’ are at highest risk of infection. They grew up before health care facilities started taking standard precautions, like not sharing vials of medicine among patients and requiring staff to wear gloves.”
The CDC reports that baby boomers are five times more likely to have Hepatitis C than other adults, accounting for 75% of those living with the disease.
These are some other reasons you may be at risk:
- You have engaged in high-risk behaviors like IV drug use or unprotected sex
- Your biological mother has/had hepatitis C
- You received blood transfusions, an organ transplant or dialysis before 1989
- You were or are currently incarcerated
Does Hepatitis Require Long
If you have hepatitis, your doctor will want to monitor your treatment and liver. Youll have periodic blood tests to check if your liver is improving. Complete recovery may take months. Depending on how advanced the hepatitis was when you were diagnosed, you could have permanent liver damage, known as cirrhosis. You will need regular imaging of your liver because cirrhosis can lead to liver cancer.
Recommended Reading: Ways To Contract Hepatitis C