Sunday, May 22, 2022

What Is Hepatitis C And What Are The Symptoms

Can You Prevent Hepatitis C Infection

HEPATITIS C CAUSES, SYMPTOMS AND TREATMENT OPTION

Thereâs no vaccine to prevent hepatitis C. To avoid getting the virus:

  • Use a latex condom every time you have sex.
  • Don’t share personal items like razors.
  • Don’t share needles, syringes, or other equipment when injecting drugs.
  • Be careful if you get a tattoo, body piercing, or manicure. The equipment may have someone else’s blood on it.

What Happens At The Start Of The Disease

Hepatitis C can spread through the body through blood contamination. The virus mostly impacts the liver as it processes many of the bodys contaminated fluids.

A common sign of hepatitis is bruising or bleeding easily. You may also experience fatigue and a poor appetite. Jaundice may occur due to the liver becoming weak, causing the skin or eyes to turn yellow in color.

You may also notice swelling in your legs and the buildup of fluid in the abdomen. These problems may develop even if you start losing weight. Your urine may also become dark in color. The dark tone may persist even if you are hydrated.

What Do You Do If You Become Ill

Talk to your health care provider about getting tested if you think you:

If you have hepatitis C, tell those who may have been exposed to your blood or bodily fluids. They should get tested and be treated if necessary. Bodily fluids, like semen and vaginal fluid, are a concern because they could be carrying small amounts of infected blood.

Some adults with hepatitis C will recover from the disease on their own within 6 months. Until your health care provider confirms your recovery status, you are still contagious and can spread the disease.

After recovery, you are no longer contagious because you will not have the disease anymore. But you can get hepatitis C again.

Unfortunately, most adults with hepatitis C:

  • cannot recover on their own
  • develop a more serious form of the disease if they are sick for longer than 6 months

Recommended Reading: What Is Hepatitis B Vaccine For

Questions For Your Doctor

When you visit the doctor, you may want to ask questions to get the information you need to manage your hepatitis C. If you can, have a family member or friend take notes. You might ask:

  • What kinds of tests will I need?
  • Are there any medications that might help?
  • What are the side effects of the medications you might prescribe?
  • How do I know when I should call the doctor?
  • How much exercise can I get, and is it all right to have sex?
  • Which drugs should I avoid?
  • What can I do to prevent the disease from getting worse?
  • How can I avoid spreading hepatitis C to others?
  • Are my family members at risk for hepatitis C?
  • Should I be vaccinated against other types of hepatitis?
  • How will you keep tabs on the condition of my liver?
  • What Are The Symptoms Of Hepatitis C In Women

    Hepatitis C in America 2015

    What is hepatitis C?

    Hepatitis C is an infection caused by the hepatitis C virus . There are different types of hepatitis viruses, including hepatitis A, B, D, and E. Among the different viruses, hepatitis C is the most serious because it can be chronic and cause severe liver damage.

    The virus spreads through contact with infected blood, so certain people have a higher risk of infection. This includes healthcare workers exposed to blood and drug users. Getting a tattoo or piercing with unsterilized equipment also increases the risk of infection.

    Hepatitis C affects both men and women. As a whole, the symptoms and complications of the disease are the same for both sexes. But the virus can affect women differently.

    Also Check: Difference Between Hepatitis A And B

    Do I Have To Have Drug Treatment

    The choice is up to you and your doctor. The decision to use drug therapy can be hard to make because of the potential side effects. Your doctor will closely monitor your symptoms and the amount of the virus in your body. He or she will also consider your overall health. This includes looking at blood test results. All are important factors to consider before you and your doctor start drug treatment for your hepatitis C.

    Contaminated Needles And Infected Blood

    You can get hepatitis C from sharing contaminated needles, syringes and other injecting equipment during recreational drug use. Banknotes and straws used for snorting may also pass the virus on.

    Being exposed to unsterilised tattoo and body piercing equipment can also pass hepatitis C on. Occasionally, you can get it from sharing a towel, razor blades or a toothbrush if there is infected blood on them.

    Hepatitis C infection is also passed on in healthcare settings, from needle stick injuries or from medical and dental equipment that has not been properly sterilised. In countries where blood products are not routinely screened, you can also get hepatitis C by receiving a transfusion of unscreened blood and blood products.

    You can prevent hepatitis C by:

    • never sharing needles and syringes or other items that may be contaminated with infected blood
    • only having tattoos, body piercings or acupuncture in a professional setting, where new, sterile needles are used
    • following the standard infection control precautions, if youre working in a healthcare setting.

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    Potential Complications Of Hepatitis C

    Chronic hepatitis C infection is a long-lasting illness with potentially serious complications. About 75% to 85% of those with acute hepatitis C infection go on to develop chronic illness. Of those in the chronic illness group, more than two-thirds will develop liver disease. Up to 20% will develop cirrhosis, or scarring of the liver, within 20 to 30 years. Cirrhosis affects liver function and causes elevated blood liver enzymes. Up to 5% of people with chronic hepatitis C infection will die from liver cancer or cirrhosis. Chronic hepatitis C infection is the most common reason for liver transplantation in the U.S.

    How Is Hepatitis C Spread

    What is Hepatitis C? – Mayo Clinic

    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.

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    Contact Us Today For Hepatitis C Treatment

    If you need help treating or detecting hepatitis C, contact us at Health Services of North Texas in Denton, TX. We also have offices in Plano, and Wylie, TX, so you can receive the treatment you require whether you are in Denton or Collin County. Contact us today to learn more about how our services work and what you can expect from treatment.

    Causes And Risk Factors Of Hepatitis C

    Hepatitis C is transmitted when the blood of an infected person enters the body of someone who isn’t infected.

    Before 1992, when widespread screening of the blood supply began, people could contract the virus through blood transfusions and organ transplants.

    Today, the most common ways that transmission occurs are:

    Using personal care items including razors and toothbrushes that have come in contact with blood infected with HCV can put you at risk of hepatitis C.

    “Hepatitis C can be easily transmitted with any blood-to-blood contact ,” Dr. Malvestutto says. “There have been cases of transmission through sharing of razors or sharing ‘straws’ to inhale drugs nasally.”

    Though less common, it’s also possible to acquire a hepatitis C infection by having unprotected sex with someone who has the virus.

    Given that hepatitis C is spread through blood contact, an infected mother cannot give her baby hepatitis C through breastfeeding and you cannot contract the virus through saliva .

    Some factors that increase your risk of hepatitis C:

    Hepatitis C has some surprising ways of showing up. For example, your birth date alone may put you at a higher risk. Healthcare professionals and members of the military are also at greater risk.

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    How Will I Know If My Treatment Works

    The goal of treatment is to reduce the amount of the hepatitis C virus in your blood to levels that cant be detected after 24 weeks of therapy. The amount of the virus in your blood is called your viral load. At the end of your treatment, your doctor will need to measure your viral load and find out how healthy your liver is. He or she may repeat many of the same tests that were done when you were first diagnosed with hepatitis C.

    If your blood has so few copies of the virus that tests cant measure them, the virus is said to be undetectable. If it stays undetectable for at least 6 months after your treatment is finished, you have what is called a sustained virologic response . People who have an SVR have a good chance of avoiding serious liver problems in the future.

    Treatment may not reduce your viral load. You may not have an SVR after treatment. If thats true, your doctor will discuss other treatment options with you. For example, if 1 round of treatment did not decrease your viral load enough, your doctor may recommend a second round. Even if treatment doesnt keep you from having active liver disease, lowering your viral load and controlling chronic liver inflammation may help you feel better for a longer time.

    Preventing The Spread Of Hepatitis C

    The Symptoms, Stigma, and Struggles of Life with Hep C ...

    There is no vaccine available to prevent a person from being infected with hepatitis C. Recommended behaviours to prevent the spread of the virus include:

    • Always use sterile injecting equipment. This can be accessed from your local needle and syringe program service.
    • Avoid sharing personal items such as toothbrushes, razors, nail files or nail scissors, which can draw blood.
    • If you are involved in body piercing, tattooing, electrolysis or acupuncture, always ensure that any instrument that pierces the skin is either single use or has been cleaned, disinfected and sterilised since it was last used.
    • If you are a healthcare worker, follow standard precautions at all times.
    • Wherever possible, wear single-use gloves if you give someone first aid or clean up blood or body fluids.
    • Although hepatitis C is not generally considered to be a sexually transmissible infection in Australia, you may wish to consider safe sex practices if blood is going to be present, or if your partner has HIV infection. You may wish to further discuss this issue and personal risks with your doctor.

    Read Also: What Does Hepatitis B Do

    How Is Monitoring Done After Treatment For Hepatitis C

    Once patients successfully complete treatment, the viral load after treatment determines if there is an SVR or cure. If cure is achieved , no further additional testing is recommended unless the patient has cirrhosis. Those who are not cured will need continued monitoring for progression of liver disease and its complications.

    While cure eliminates worsening of fibrosis by hepatitis C, complications may still affect those with cirrhosis. These individuals still need regular screening for liver cancer as well as monitoring for esophageal varices that may bleed.

    Because hepatitis B co-infection may reactivate or worsen even after treatment for HCV, monitoring for hepatitis symptoms may be needed after the end of therapy.

    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.

    Recommended Reading: Hepatitis C Antigens And Antibodies

    How Do You Test For Hepatitis C

    A simple blood test carried out by a healthcare professional will show whether you have the virus. You may also be given an extra test to see if your liver is damaged.

    If youve got hepatitis C you should be tested for other STIs. It’s important that you tell your recent sexual partner/s so they can also get tested and treated. Many people who have hepatitis C do not notice anything wrong, and by telling them you can help to stop the virus being passed on. It can also stop you from getting the infection again.

    Alcohol And Other Toxins

    What are the early signs and symptoms of Hepatitis B & C? | Apollo Hospitals

    Abundance liquor utilization can cause Liver harm and irritation. This may likewise be alluded to as alcoholic Hepatitis.

    The liquor straightforwardly harms the cells of your Liver. Over the long run, it can make super durable harm and lead to thickening or scarring of Liver cirrhosis and Liver disappointment.

    Other poisonous reasons and Hepatitis cause incorporate abuse of meds and openness to poisons.

    Recommended Reading: Is Hepatitis The Same As Hiv

    Getting Tested For Hepatitis C

    Seek medical advice if you have persistent symptoms of hepatitis C or there’s a risk you’re infected, even if you do not have any symptoms.

    A blood test can be carried out to see if you have the infection.

    GPs, sexual health clinics, genitourinary medicine clinics or drug treatment services all offer testing for hepatitis C.

    Early diagnosis and treatment can help prevent or limit any damage to your liver, as well as help ensure the infection is not passed on to other people.

    Could I Give Hepatitis C To Someone Else

    Yes, once you have hepatitis C, you can always give it to someone else. If you have hepatitis C, you cannot donate blood. You should avoid sharing personal items like razors and toothbrushes. It is very rare to pass hepatitis C in these ways, but it can happen. Always use a condom when you have sex. If you have hepatitis C, your sexual partners should be tested to see if they also have it.

    Talk to your doctor first if you want to have children. The virus isnt spread easily from a mother to her unborn baby. But it is possible, so you need to take precautions. However, if youre trying to have a baby, do not have sex during your menstrual cycle. The hepatitis C virus spreads more easily in menstrual blood.

    Also Check: Can Hepatitis C Be Cured Totally

    Treatment And Medication Options For Hepatitis C

    The last few years have seen extraordinary advances in the treatment of hepatitis C.

    For decades, the standard treatment was a combination antiviral therapy consisting of a pegylated interferon and ribavirin, sometimes called PEG-riba therapy. This involved weekly injections of the pegylated interferons along with twice-daily oral doses of ribavirin. Sometimes interferon was prescribed without ribavirin.

    The treatment by interferon lasted six months to a year, and cured only 40 to 50 percent of hepatitis C patients. The painful injections often made patients feel ill with flu-like symptoms.

    But now, hepatitis C can be treated with a number of direct-acting antiviral pills that act faster and much more effectively than the older interferon treatment. These combination oral medicines have 90 to 100 percent cure rates, and they work in weeks instead of months. Some of these drugs may be used in combination with ribavirin.

    Related Conditions And Causes Of Hepatitis C

    Hepatitis C Testing

    Other types of viral hepatitis include hepatitis A, B, D, and E.

    Hepatitis A and E are generally acquired from contaminated food and drink, while hepatitis B and D are transmitted via bodily fluids. You can only get hepatitis D if you already have hepatitis B.

    Though viruses are the most common causes of hepatitis, there are also forms of nonviral hepatitis, including:

    • Alcoholic hepatitis caused by prolonged alcohol abuse, per the Mayo Clinic
    • Autoimmune hepatitis, in which the immune system attacks healthy liver cells, per the NIDDK

    One of the most common reasons for liver transplantation in the United States is organ failure due to hep C. This network serves as a comprehensive resource for those exploring liver transplant options, organ donation, and medical advances. Profiles of people who have had transplants and connections to support groups are available.

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    Hepatitis C Testing And Diagnosis

    Doctors will start by checking your blood for:

    Anti-HCV antibodies: These are proteins your body makes when it finds the hep C virus in your blood. They usually show up about 12 weeks after infection.

    It usually takes a few days to a week to get results, though a rapid test is available in some places.

    The results can be:

    • Nonreactive, or negative:
    • That may mean you donât have hep C.
    • If youâve been exposed in the last 6 months, youâll need to be retested.
  • Reactive, or positive:
  • That means you have hep C antibodies and youâve been infected at some point.
  • Youâll need another test to make sure.
  • If your antibody test is positive, youâll get this test:

    HCV RNA: It measures the number of viral RNA particles in your blood. They usually show up 1-2 weeks after youâre infected.

    • The results can be:
    • Negative: You donât have hep C.
    • Positive: You currently have hep C.

    You might also get:

    Liver function tests: They measure proteins and enzyme levels, which usually rise 7 to 8 weeks after youâre infected. As your liver gets damaged, enzymes leak into your bloodstream. But you can have normal enzyme levels and still have hepatitis C. Learn the reasons why you should get tested for hepatitis C.

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