Doctors And Specialists Who Can Treat Hepatitis
Robert Burakoff, MD, MPH, is board-certified in gastroentrology. He is the vice chair for ambulatory services for the department of medicine at Weill Cornell Medical College in New York, where he is also a professor. He was the founding editor and co-editor in chief of Inflammatory Bowel Diseases.
If you have hepatitis, you may be wondering who can treat your hepatitis. Well, a hepatitis specialist can help. But do you know the difference between the different kinds of clinicians who can treat your hepatitis? To help you understand who does what, here’s a short description of the different professionals who might work in your healthcare setting.
Can Hepatitis C Be Prevented Or Avoided
The only way to prevent hepatitis C is to avoid coming in contact with an infected persons blood. Always have protected sex . Dont do intravenous drugs. Dont share personal care items with a person who has hepatitis C. If youre a health care worker, follow your workplaces standard safety practices.
Managing Your Work Life With Hepatitis C
You cant lose your job solely because of having hepatitis C, but your employer can legally terminate your job if you cant perform your duties, reports Hep. If you feel that hepatitis C or your treatments interfere with your ability to work, the article suggests speaking with your employer and disclosing that youre sick. This could prevent termination, and your employer might offer accommodations.
They might allow telecommuting a few days or extra time off for appointments. Or you may be eligible for paid or unpaid leave check your employers policy to find out.
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Learn If A Specialist Is Covered By Your Insurance
If you have health insurance, its important to learn which specialists and services are covered by your plan. In most cases, its less expensive to visit a specialist whos in your network of coverage. If you visit an out-of-network specialist, you may have to pay more.
To learn if a specialist is covered by your insurance plan, contact your insurance provider. They can help you learn how much youll have to pay out of pocket to visit the specialist. They can also share the names of other specialists who are in your network.
Its also a good idea to contact the specialists office to ask if they accept your insurance. It never hurts to double-check.
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.
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Who Is More Likely To Get Hepatitis C
People more likely to get hepatitis C are those who
- have injected drugs
- had a blood transfusion or organ transplant before July 1992
- have hemophilia and received clotting factor before 1987
- have been on kidney dialysis
- have been in contact with blood or infected needles at work
- have had tattoos or body piercings
- have worked or lived in a prison
- were born to a mother with hepatitis C
- are infected with HIV
- have had more than one sex partner in the last 6 months or have a history of sexually transmitted disease
- are men who have or had sex with men
In the United States, injecting drugs is the most common way that people get hepatitis C.13
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.
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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.
What To Consider Before Joining A Clinical Trial
Before signing up for a clinical trial, the NIH recommends asking the following questions: What is the purpose and length of the study? Will you have to travel to a different state? If so, are you responsible for your own transportation, hotels, and meals? Its also important to know the risks associated with participating. You may have side effects from treatment, some severe.
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Dont Breathe In Toxic Fumes From Paint Cleaners Or Other Harsh Chemicals
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.
A Hepatologist Completes Extensive Training In Hepatitis C And Is An Expert In Hepatitis C Care
A hepatologist is a physician who specializes in treating diseases related to the liver. The liver is involved in many aspects of human health, so hepatologists must train extensively to master this area of study. Hepatology is a subspecialty of gastroenterology, the study and treatment of disorders that involve the esophagus, stomach, small intestine, colon and rectum, gallbladder, bile ducts, and liver. A hepatologist will have expertise in treating hepatitis C and other liver conditions, and may or may not be part of a gastroenterology practice.
All doctors complete a training program called a residency after they finish medical school. But hepatologists receive considerable training beyond that. Hepatologists spend several additional years in a fellowship, in which they train under experienced hepatologists and focus on patients with hepatitis C and liver issues. At the end of this period, a specialist is qualified to take an exam to become a board-certified hepatologist. Look for a doctor who is board certified in hepatology, and youll know youre seeing an expert.
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Your Friendships With Hepatitis C
The most common reason involved fears related to transmitting the disease.
Remember, though: Hepatitis C isnt transmitted through casual contact but rather through direct contact with infected blood, explains the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists .
Other reasons for conflict involved ignorance about the disease and discrimination.
Infectious Disease And Travel Medicine Specialists Located In Las Vegas Nv
Hepatitis C infection can lead to potentially life-threatening liver disease, but prompt treatment can help prevent these serious complications. Alka Rebentish, MD, and Chukwudum Uche, MD, FIDSA, FACP, at Infectious Disease Associates & Travel Medicine Clinic provide hepatitis C testing and treat patients who have chronic hepatitis. Call the clinic in Las Vegas, Nevada, today to find out more or book an appointment using the online tool.
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Medication Prices For Hepatitis C
The cost of treating hepatitis C varies depending on the type of medication and the length of treatment. One report estimated the lifetime cost of treating a hepatitis C infection at $64,490. Some people pay more, though.
According to other data, published in September 2018 in the Journal of Health & Biomedical Law, a single sofosbuvir pill costs $1,000, in which case a 12-week treatment costs $84,000. Meanwhile, treatment with Olysio could cost as much as $23,600 per month. Because the treatment length is 24 to 48 weeks, the total cost is $100,000 for a full course of treatment.
Unfortunately, because of high drug costs, some people have limited access to treatment, and some insurance companies dont cover certain medications.
Before starting a treatment for hepatitis C, contact your insurer to make sure its covered under your policy.
Medical Treatment For Hepatitis A B & C
Treatment for hepatitis A, B, or C is based on which type of hepatitis is present in the bloodstream and the severity of the resulting liver damage. Depending on the results of diagnostic tests, our specialists at NYU Langone may recommend antiviral medication to stop the virus from replicating and protect your liver from further damage.
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How Do Doctors Test For Hepatitis C
Doctors check for hepatitis C through a blood test called an HCV antibody test.
When a person contracts HCV, their immune system releases HCV antibodies into the bloodstream. The HCV antibody test looks for the presence of these proteins.
A negative, or nonreactive, result shows that the person does not currently have an HCV infection. A positive, or reactive, result indicates that the person contracted HCV at some point.
It is important to note that a positive antibody test does not necessarily mean that the individual currently has hepatitis C. Once someone has had hepatitis C, they will always have hepatitis C antibodies.
For this reason, if a blood test returns a positive HCV result, the doctor will order another blood test to check for an active infection. This test, called the nucleic acid test , detects HCV genetic material called RNA, which will be present if the person has an active HCV infection.
A negative NAT result means that the person previously had an HCV infection but that the virus is no longer in their body. If the result is positive, the person currently has the virus in their body, and it can transmit to other people.
A person will need to receive treatment for an acute HCV infection. However, this may not be possible if they are pregnant. Experts recommend against taking HCV drugs during pregnancy, as they may damage the developing baby.
Anyone with chronic hepatitis C should visit a doctor regularly to monitor their liver health.
Hepatitis C: Why See A Specialist
Hepatitis C is a complex disease that affects everyone differently. Some patients dont have any symptoms, while others may have severe liver damage that requires immediate treatment. Thats why all hepatitis C patients should follow the specific treatment plan tailored to their specific needs. But your primary care doctor may not have all the information you need to manage your hepatitis C successfully.
Thats where specialists come in: a hepatitis C specialist, called a hepatologist, has the right skills and insight to help you stay in control of your hepatitis C. Heres why:
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Hepatitis C Long Term Effects
A hepatitis C infection that continues over many years can cause significant complications, such as:
- Scarring of the liver
- Liver cancer
- Liver failure
It is important that all adults ages 18 to 79 years be screened by hep C doctors for hepatitis C, even those without symptoms or known liver disease. While hep C treatment can cure chronic hepatitis C, long term damage to the liver may be irreversible if not diagnosed early. Seeking screening and treatment from a hep C clinic can reduce your risk for chronic liver issues.
At HealthCore Clinic, we treat hepatitis C using our integrated approach. We combine medical and behavioral health with your treatment to remove barriers and ensure each patient is able to complete the treatment successfully. We treat the hepatitis C infection with antiviral medications and regular check-ins with your healthcare team for 3 months on average. The goal of the treatment is to eliminate the hepatitis C virus from your body.
Our integrated approach to hep C treatment provides you access to improve your whole health and wellness all under one roof. Patients are more actively engaged in improving their health and living hepatitis C free through a team-based approach. You are the leader of your hep C treatment team.
Our integrated approach to hep C treatment includes:
- Free Transportation
- Free transportation to all medical, behavioral health, pharmacy, lab, and office visits related to the hepatitis C treatment at HealthCore Clinic are available.
Managing Depression And Hepatitis C
Depression is a side effect of some hepatitis C medications, such as peginterferon alfa, which is used in developing countries, notes the Mayo Clinic. If depression symptoms begin after you start a new drug, ask your doctor about switching to a medication with fewer side effects. In the meantime, take steps to improve a low mood.
The NHS suggests going for a walk, avoiding alcohol, eating a balanced diet, getting plenty of sleep, and talking with family or friends. If your symptoms dont improve, ask your doctor for a referral to a mental health professional.
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Acute And Chronic Hepatitis C
Hepatitis C is a viral liver infection that is spread through contaminated blood and bodily fluids.
Acute Hepatitis CAcute hepatitis C can cause mild to no symptoms and can resolve in a short period of time, sometimes without you knowing you have it.
Chronic Hepatitis CNearly 75% of acute hepatitis C cases turn into chronic hepatitis C. Symptoms of this ongoing infection may take years to appear. Left untreated or poorly managed, chronic hepatitis C can lead to irreversible liver damage and liver cancer.
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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Do I Need A Liver Specialist
A liver specialist specializes in liver disease conditions and up to date with current treatments and testing needed to evaluate and monitor your condition. They are also familiar with complications and associated conditions related to hepatitis C.
They can be familiar with patient assistance programs and work as your patient advocate to help you obtain assistance from the right resources for treatment. Choosing your healthcare team is very important. You are the captain, but a liver specialist, nurses, and pharmacy/treatment providers are essential in fighting hepatitis C and liver disease.
How Can I Prevent Spreading Hepatitis C To Others
If you have hepatitis C, follow the steps above to avoid spreading the infection. Tell your sex partner you have hepatitis C, and talk with your doctor about safe sex practices. In addition, you can protect others from infection by telling your doctor, dentist, and other health care providers that you have hepatitis C. Dont donate blood or blood products, semen, organs, or tissue.
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Treatment For Hepatitis A B And C
For those diagnosed with hepatitis B or C, our experts work together to create and coordinate personalized care plans to suppress the virus and, when possible, provide a cure. Our doctors can recommend new antiviral medical therapies that have the potential to treat hepatitis B and C effectively, without the side effects of prior treatments. Treatment is also available for hepatitis A, although this condition often resolves on its own without therapy.
Hepatitis C: What You Need To Know
- If you have hepatitis C, your doctor will want to monitor you for signs of liver cancer.
- Injection drug use is the main cause of hepatitis C.
- Blood tests and a liver biopsy will help diagnose hepatitis C.
- Receiving vaccinations against hepatitis A and B, losing weight and avoiding alcohol may be part of the treatment plan.
Hepatitis C virus is a major cause of acute and chronic hepatitis as well as cirrhosis. Hepatitis C almost always leads to chronic hepatitis and is also associated with hepatocellular carcinoma .
Hepatitis C is mostly caused by injection drug use. Other causes are hemodialysis, intranasal cocaine use, tattoos, body piercing and fetuses exposed during pregnancy. Hepatitis C can be sexually transmitted, but it happens rarely.
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