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What Happens If You Don T Treat Hepatitis C

Preemptive Hcv Treatment Before Immunotherapy Or Chemotherapy

How to treat hepatitis C

Pregnancy

The risk of vertical transmission in mothers with an HCV monoinfection is 5% and is not diminished by cesarean section. Mothers are not advised against breastfeeding either.

There is an urgent indication for preemptive antiviral treatment in patients with a chronic hepatitis B infection before they undergo certain types of immunotherapy or chemotherapy . There is insufficient evidence at present for any recommendation of an analogous procedure for patients with chronic hepatitis C.

You May Make Your Illness Worse

If you dont treat your hepatitis C, theres a good chance you are not taking other important doctor-recommended steps to keep your liver healthy. This should include monitoring your alcohol intake as well as being careful not to take too much acetaminophen, which is found in more than 600 over-the-counter and prescription medications. Each week, more than 50 million Americans use a medicine that contains acetaminophen. For people with hepatitis C, too much acetaminophen and/or alcohol can further damage an already stressed liver.

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Blood And Vessel Problems

People with hepatitis C often get a condition called cryoglobulinemia. This happens when certain proteins in your blood stick together in cold weather. They can build up in vessels and block blood flow, which causes swelling and damage. The condition can affect your skin, organs, nerves, and joints.

Hepatitis C also can cause problems with blood itself. You may not make enough white blood cells, which fight infections, or platelets, which help your blood clot.

The infection can also make you bruise easily or get red or purple spots under your skin. Those are signs of a bleeding disorder called immune thrombocytopenic purpura.

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What Are Genotypes And Do They Matter

Six different genotypes of hepatitis C have been identified. Genotypes 1 and 3 are the most common causes of hepatitis C in Australia and make up 90 per cent of all cases. They are important because they help determine the treatment you need. Unlike in the past, however, your genotype is not important in terms of the chance of cure. With the treatment drugs, all six genotypes have a very high chance of cure.

What Happens To Your Body When You Have Hepatitis C

Medicine To Cure Hep C

Health experts advise against sharing toothbrushes, needles, and razors for a reason: this practice can lead to hepatitis C, a viral infection of the liver. The same could happen if you have unprotected sex with someone carrying the hepatitis C virus , warns the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai. HVC can also be transmitted from mother to child during pregnancy, as well as from person to person through tattoo needles.

Approximately 80% of people infected with HCV are asymptomatic, reports the World Health Organization. Those who have symptoms may experience joint pain, nausea, cramping, fatigue, and diminished appetite. In some cases, hepatitis C may cause jaundice, fever, and changes in urine or stool color. Other common symptoms include itching, edema, drowsiness, easy bruising or bleeding, and unintentional weight loss, according to the Mayo Clinic.

This viral infection can be acute or chronic. The acute form subsides within six months, whereas chronic hepatitis C is a lifelong condition, explains the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. Unfortunately, acute hepatitis C becomes chronic in 75% to 85% of cases, which may lead to serious health risks. So what happens to your body long-term when you have hepatitis C? Let’s find out.

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How Can You Avoid Hepatitis C

Right now there is no vaccination to protect you againsthepatitis C. However, you can take steps to protectyourself from becoming infected:

  • Dont use injectable drugs.
  • If you use drugs, get vaccinated against hepatitis A and hepatitis B and enter a treatment program.
  • Never share needles, syringes, water, or works for intravenous drug use, to inject steroids, or cosmetic substances.
  • Handle needles and other sharp objects safely.
  • Do not use personal items that may have come into contact with an infected persons blood.
  • Do not get tattoos or body piercings from an unlicensed facility or in an informal setting.
  • Wear gloves if you have to touch another persons blood. Always clean hands after removing gloves.
  • Have safer sex. Each time you have sex use a condom.

For more information, see Safer Sex.

Dont Take Vitamins And Supplements Without Talking To Your Doctor

Dietary supplements havent been shown to be effective treatments for hepatitis C, according to the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health, and some may even have harmful side effects and interact poorly with medications. If you take vitamins or supplements, or are considering taking them for other health reasons, make sure your doctor knows. In some cases, your doctor may recommend a particular brand or suggest a different approach if the potential interactions or risks are too high.

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Biggest Risks Of Not Treating Hepatitis C

You feel 100% fine, yet your doctor just told you that you have hepatitis C.

Confused? You are not alone. About 3.2 million people in the United States have chronic hepatitis C virus infection, and most of them dont have a clue. Like you, they feel and look absolutely fine.

With this as the backdrop, you may be questioning whether to even treat your hepatitis C, but the risks of not treating chronic hepatitis C far outweigh any of these concerns.

There are six big risks you take by not treating your hepatitis C today:

Proinflammatory Cytokines Induce Depression

Viral hepatitis (A, B, C, D, E) – causes, symptoms, diagnosis, treatment & pathology

Mercifully, for patients with hepatitis C, treatment with the cytokine interferon IFN-alpha has been supplanted by more effective and tolerable treatment options. But during the years of its clinical hegemony, IFN-alpha provided a unique model system for understanding behavioral and biological responses to chronic inflammation relevant to depression. Results from many studies have been quite consistent in demonstrating that IFN-alpha exposure produces a widespread increase in depressive and anxious symptoms, with a sizable minority of patients meeting full criteria for major depressive disorder within a month of commencing treatment. As reviewed in Miller and Raison , IFN-alpha treatment also produces all known biological changes associated with MDD more generally, including increased circulating pro-inflammatory cytokines, disruption of the diurnal cortisol rhythm and induction of glucocorticoid resistance, altered sleep physiology, and changes in monoamine metabolism, with many of these changes associating with increased depression during treatment . Supporting these findings are studies showing that even a single exposure to inflammatory stimuli induces depressive symptoms and depressive-style social cognitions in healthy volunteers, with these effects being strongest in women .

Anton Pozniak, in, 2010

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How Many Victorians Are Affected By Hepatitis C And Who Is Affected

Hepatitis C is the most common blood borne virus in Australia with approximately 230,000 people currently living with hepatitis C in Australia and around 65,000 in Victoria.

The population most at risk of acquiring hepatitis C are people who currently inject drugs including people from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander and culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds, prisoners, older people, and young injectors and/or new initiates to injecting drug use.

Which Medications Are Used To Treat Hep C

In the last several years, treatment for hepatitis C has changed dramatically, thanks to a class of drugs known as direct-acting antivirals . These meds target and eliminate proteins found in the virus. Theyre much gentler on the body than the more intrusive treatments of the past. Patients have fewer side effects and shorter treatment timessome in just eight weeks.

The two most common medications prescribed are Mavyret and Epclusa , both of which include a cocktail of several antiviral meds in one pill. While theyre equally effective in curing the virus, the one your doctor chooses may depend on other meds youre taking or on your insurance company.

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Treatments For Hepatitis C

The goal of treatment is a virological cure . This is defined as undetectable viral RNA in plasma 24 weeks after treatment has finished. A sustained virological response prevents the development of cirrhosis. In patients who already have cirrhosis, a sustained virological response reduces the risks of liver failure and hepatocellular carcinoma.

The approved treatment combinations for hepatitis C in Australia are summarised in Tables 2 and 3. Currently, all PBS-subsidised regimens involve peginterferon plus ribavirin.

TABLE 3 TGA-approved interferon-free regimens for hepatitis C
Viral genotype

F0-3 METAVIR fibrosis stage 0-3

F4 METAVIR fibrosis stage 4

* Not listed on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme at the time of writing.

Response rate was defined as proportion of patients with a sustained virological response measured at 3 or 6 months after the end of treatment.

8 weeks may be considered in treatment-naïve patients with no cirrhosis and a baseline viral RNA concentration < 6 x 106 IU/mL.

§ 24 weeks is recommended for patients who have failed treatment with peginterferon + ribavirin with or without a protease inhibitor.

# 24 weeks is recommended for patients who have had a previous null response to peginterferon + ribavirin, defined by a decrease in the viral RNA level of < 2 log10 IU/mL at week 12 or < 1 log10 IU/mL at week 4 during previous peginterferon + ribavirin treatment.

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What About Patients With Hepatitis C Who Also Have Hepatitis B

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Hepatitis B virus can flare in patients who are co-infected with hepatitis B and hepatitis C and are taking medication for hepatitis C. This has been reported as a potential risk for patients who are taking hepatitis C treatment and have underlying hepatitis B as well. The flare usually occurs within a few weeks after the patient starts taking medication for hepatitis C. Therefore, patients who have both hepatitis B and hepatitis C should be seen by a hepatitis expertbeforestarting treatment of the hepatitis C they may need to start taking hepatitis B treatment to avoid a hepatitis B flare.

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You Will Develop Severe Symptoms If Left Untreated

While hepatitis C infection can start off silently, untreated hepatitis C comes out roaring. Some people will develop symptoms down the road including tiredness, nausea and vomiting, stomachache, and occasionally yellow eyes and skin, dark urine, and light-colored stools. These nuisance-like symptoms can seriously damage your quality of life. And hepatitis C doesnt stop there. Left untreated, it will progress and cause more serious and potentially fatal liver disease.

Hepatitis C Attacks More Than Your Liver

In the early stages of cirrhosis, the liver can still perform most of its functions, but as cirrhosis worsens, it can cause complications, including:

Type 2 diabetes Up to 20 percent of people with chronic hepatitis C also have type 2 diabetes, partly because the virus may cause insulin resistance, according to a study published in January 2020 by the journal Clinical Diabetes. The virus may trigger diabetes, but having diabetes can also worsen your hepatitis C, including increasing the risk of cirrhosis and liver cancer, particularly if you dont treat either condition.

Luckily, having type 2 diabetes and hepatitis C wont lessen the effects of direct-acting antivirals, the 2020 study found.

Still, its important to ask the doctors who treat your hepatitis C and diabetes to closely coordinate your treatment plan, so you can manage both conditions. You should also make necessary lifestyle changes to keep your blood sugar levels stable, such as eating small, frequent meals and snacks that are low in fat and refined carbs.

Treating and clearing a hepatitis C infection also improves insulin sensitivity in among those who have high insulin resistance, according to a study published in April 2022 in the journal Frontiers in Endocrinology, which may decrease your risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

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Some Hepatitis C Patients Develop Liver Cancer

Cirrhosis is a risk factor for liver cancer, notes the Centers for Disease Prevention and Control. The odds of developing primary liver cancer, or hepatocellular carcinoma, increase by 1% to 4% per year in people with severe liver scarring. A large number of patients also experience decreased liver function, a condition associated with high mortality rates.

Hepatocellular carcinoma accounts for about 90% of all liver cancers, according to clinical evidence published in Nature Reviews Disease Primers. Researchers estimate that more than one million people will develop this condition by 2025. A staggering 80% to 90% of cases develop in patients with cirrhosis, but hepatitis B and D, heavy alcohol use, non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, and some chemicals can lead to liver cancer, too.

Treatment depends on the stage of the disease and may include liver transplantation, surgery, radiotherapy, or medications. Most patients require lifelong treatment and can experience adverse effects ranging from pain and tiredness to sexual dysfunction.

Dont Breathe In Toxic Fumes From Paint Cleaners Or Other Harsh Chemicals

Hepatitis B: Treatment and care for a chronic condition

When youre treating hepatitis C, its important to stay away from toxins that could harm your liver, Lee says. Exposure to fumes can damage your liver cells, leading to an accumulation of fats in the liver, liver cell death, cirrhosis, and liver cancer, he says.

Theres a long list of potentially noxious chemicals and volatile organic compounds , and some are common around the home and workplace, such as vinyl chloride , carbon tetrachloride , methylene chloride , and glycol ethers , Lee says. VOCs can also be found in spot removers, fabric or leather cleaners, PVC cement and primer, glue removers, aerosol spray products for some paints, leather treatments, pesticides, and air conditioner refrigerant.

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Reducing Infections Among Injecting Drug Users

Among injecting drug users, the sharing of needles and syringes is the key risk factor for acquiring HCV infection, although there is considerable evidence of a potentially high risk of infection associated with sharing drug-preparation equipment such as cookers, filters, swabs and water . However, there is good evidence to show that retention in opioid substitution treatment reduces injection frequency , and that it is most effective in reducing HCV transmission when used alongside interventions that support safer injection practices . Two studies that examined the independent and combined effects of needle and syringe programmes and opioid substitution treatment on HCV incidence concluded that the combined effect of these two interventions resulted in the greatest reductions in HCV transmission .

Modelling studies have been used to explore the potential effectiveness of different hepatitis C interventions, and these indicate that it may be difficult for opioid substitution treatment and high-coverage needle and syringe programmes to greatly impact on hepatitis C prevalence. Modelling the scale-up of both interventions for the United Kingdom shows that they are unlikely to lead to substantial reductions in the prevalence of chronic hepatitis C after 10 years, unless both interventions cover 80% or more of the injecting population .

Life Expectancy And Prognosis

Can you die from hepatitis? Technically, the complications of chronic hepatitis C are fatal. About 30,000 people in the U.S. die each year from cirrhosis.

How long can you live with untreated hep C? The disease affects everyone differently, so thereâs no rule. But about 70% to 80% of people with will get chronic help C. Within 20 years, about 20% to 30% of those people will get cirrhosis. From there, it depends on what type of cirrhosis you have, your treatment, and if you can get a liver transplant.

Can hepatitis C go away on its own? Yes. From 15% to 20% of people with hep C clear it from their bodies without treatment. Itâs more likely to happen in women and people who have symptoms. But it usually happens between 4 and 18 months after symptoms start.

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Direct Acting Antiviral Agents

This is the class of drugs acting against viral and host proteins involved in HCV life cycle. The major inhibitors of NS3 viral protein are telaprevir and boceprevir. Telaprevir was approved and recommended for use with PegIFN- and ribavirin in genotype-1 patients. This was classified as triple therapy. Since telaprevir treatment is reported to be effective against the resistant mutants in the short term duration, it was decided to use it for long-term and subsequently approved for the treatment. It is important to note here that the long term use of these drugs often leads to drug resistance including T54A/S, R155K/T, V36A/M, V55A, and A156/S/T/V, etc. Simeprevir is another NS3 protease inhibitor classified as second generation drug. This drug is a reversible inhibitor of NS3/4A protease. Danoprevir and faldaprevir are also second-generation HCV NS3/4A protease inhibitors and used in patients infected HCV genotype-1. In addition to these drugs, there are various other NS3 protease inhibitors like Vaniprevir , Narlaprevir , Asunaprevir , VX 985, and MK-5172 which are used for treatment of HCV infection. There is every possibility that these drugs may be approved for therapeutic use against HCV infection.

How Is It Treated

Physical Signs Of Hepatitis C

If you have chronic hepatitis C infection, your healthcare provider will examine you for liver problems andmay prescribe drugs to help control the disease.Hepatitis C drugs can help to:

  • Clear the virus from the body
  • Slow down or prevent liver damage
  • Lower the chance of getting cirrhosis and liver cancer

Before starting treatment it is important to discuss youroptions with your health care provider. Treatment forhepatitis C may not be for everyone. Some patientsmight not need treatment. Other patients might not beable to be treated due to other medical problems.

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