How Do You Treat Hepatitis C
When Dr. Fried started treating hepatitis C in 1990, the cure rate was 7 percent. Treatments have evolved since then, leading to a 95 percent cure rate. The treatment course includes taking one to a few pills a day for 12 to 24 weeks, and the medicines have few side effects. Hepatitis C is the only chronic viral infection that you can routinely cure, thanks to these new medicines.
The A B Cs Of Hepatitis
The hepatitis A virus causes acute inflammation of the liver that almost always gets better on its own, although it can be more serious if you get it when you are older or if you already have liver disease. It is easily spread from person to person, in food and water, and can infect many people at once. For example, if a food handler at a restaurant is infected with hepatitis A, those who eat food prepared by that handler may be infected. Hepatitis A can be prevented by getting vaccinated.
The hepatitis B virus can be both acute and chronic and is spread through blood or other body fluids in various ways. Hepatitis B is very common in Asia and Africa and those who were born or lived in these areas should be checked for hepatitis B. Like hepatitis A, a vaccine is available to prevent HBV infection as long as you have not been previously exposed. Although chronic HBV cannot be cured, there are oral medications available to treat and control the virus.
The hepatitis C virus is almost always chronic and spreads mostly by direct blood to blood contact. Although hepatitis A and B can be prevented by vaccination, hepatitis C cannot. However, there are currently oral medications available that are able to cure Hepatitis C in 95% of all cases regardless of prior treatment history.
Hepatitis A B And C: Whats The Difference
Hepatitis is often caused by a virus that comes in different strains. The most common strains of hepatitis are hepatitis A, B, and C. They all are contagious, but they differ primarily by the way they are spread.
Table: Differences among hepatitis A, B, and C
Table: Differences among hepatitis A, B, and C
You May Like: How Do You Contract Hepatitis C
Mad Cow Disease In Westland
Perhaps the most disturbing case in food production history is the Westland-Hallmark Meat Company scandal in 2008 when the largest beef recall was ordered for safety risks linked to animal abuse at the facility. The company was once the primary ground beef supplier to schools through the National School Lunch Program.
The New York Times reported that 143 million pounds of beef were part of a Class II recall due to concerns of mad cow disease from the meat company’s “downer cows”, livestock rendered unable to walk from sickness and cruel mistreatment. Mad cow disease can transmit to humans and induce variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, a fatal condition that involves brain tissue degeneration.
Westland-Hallmark Meat Company was charged $497 million in a federal lawsuit, according to Food Safety News, but the corporation went out of business after losses from the recall.
The Health Effects Of Hep B Became Too Much For Me
Later, I had a breakout of hep B, and my liver function tests showed that the virus might be damaging my liver. The doctor prescribed anti-viral medication, which helped to get my blood indicators back to normal. The doctor said I needed to take this treatment every day for the rest of my life, otherwise the virus would most likely become resistant to the medicine.
While I have followed the doctors advice, concerns over my health and the social pressures of living with hep B have had a dramatic effect on my personality. I became withdrawn and began to lose too much weight.
You May Like: How Does One Get Hepatitis B
What You Need To Know About Hepatitis
Hepatitis is a serious liver disease that affects millions of Americans. Get the facts on hepatitis types, causes, and treatments.
Hepatitis means inflammation of the liver, and it is most often caused by viral infections. Some types of hepatitis will cause discomfort but eventually go away, while others, like chronic hepatitis C, can be deadly.
Viral types of hepatitis A, B,C, D, and E are contracted in various ways. Other non-viral causes of hepatitis relate to toxic exposures and autoimmune disease.
Hepatitis C is the leading cause of liver cancer and also the number one reason for liver transplants in the United States. More than 1.2 million Americans are affected by hepatitis B, and over 3 million have chronic hepatitis C, though many don’t know they are infected.
The liver is responsible for filtering from the bloodstream harmful substances such as dead cells, toxins, fats, hormones, and a yellowish substance called bilirubin, a byproduct of the breakdown of old red blood cells, says Rashmi Gulati, MD, medical director of Patients Medical in New York City.
If the liver is inflamed, tender, and enlarged, it becomes unable to function normally. As a result, toxins that would normally be filtered out by the liver build up in the body, and certain nutrients are not processed and stored as they should be.
Signs And Symptoms Of Hepatitis
If you contract hepatitis, it may present in a way that is similar to a nasty bout of a flu, says Dr. Gulati. Common symptoms of hepatitis include:
- Joint pains
Other warning signs to look out for include dark urine, light, clay-colored stools, abdominal discomfort, and jaundice, the yellowing of the whites of the eyes or the skin due to an accumulation of bilirubin.
If you have hepatitis, a simple blood test will show elevated liver enzymes. Additional blood tests can help identify which virus, if any, is to blame.
Read Also: Hepatitis C Genotype 2b Treatment
Current Status Of Prevention And Treatment
Safe and effective vaccines to protect against hepatitis A and hepatitis B are available. The hepatitis A vaccine is used in only a few countries greater use of the vaccine has the potential to control outbreaks. The hepatitis B vaccine is used widely around the world. In 2020, global coverageexternal icon with three doses of hepatitis B vaccine was 83%, and 42% of children received a dose at birth, which is necessary to prevent mother-to-child transmission of this infection. Improving rates of vaccination coverage, especially among infants and children, will reduce HBV infection, which could help reduce rates of liver disease and death.
Even though affordable, safe, and effective treatments can prevent liver disease and liver cancer among people living with hepatitis B and cure those living with hepatitis C, WHO estimated that only 10% of people with hepatitis B and 21% of people with hepatitis C worldwide knew they were infected in 2019. Of these, 22% and 62% had received treatment, respectively. .
Hepatitis And Cirrhosis Similarities And Differences
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.
Hepatitis and cirrhosis are both diseases that affect the liver. Since hepatitis and cirrhosis are in many ways on a continuum of disease, the symptoms may be very similar. However, there are a number of important differences between the two.
In general, hepatitis may or may not be reversible , whereas cirrhosis refers to permanent scarring of the liver, often as the result of chronic hepatitis. While some forms of hepatitis may come on very rapidly, cirrhosis also tends to develop more gradually.
Let’s take a look at the symptoms that may occur with both diseases, review the basics of each disease, and then outline some of their main similarities and differences.
You May Like: What Is Hepatic Artery Infusion
Which Is Worse Hepatitis B Or C
The scary thing about liver conditions like hepatitis is that you may be living with it and not even be aware.
Less than half of the people living with hepatitis B or hepatitis C are diagnosed. If you are one of these people living with an undetected case of hepatitis, you may be at risk for developing liver failure or liver cancer and transmitting the illness to other people.
What are the most common hepatitis infections? Is hepatitis B worse than hepatitis C? How is hepatitis detected and treated? Michael D. Cook, certified physician assistant at Gastroenterology Associates of Southwest Florida answers these questions and can help you understand the risks of hepatitis.
How Do You Get Hepatitis C
Just like hepatitis B, you can get this type by sharing needles or having contact with infected blood. You can also catch it by having sex with somebody who’s infected, but that’s less common.
If you had a blood transfusion before new screening rules were put in place in 1992, you are at risk for hepatitis C. If not, the blood used in transfusions today is safe. It gets checked beforehand to make sure it’s free of the virus that causes hepatitis B and C.
It’s rare, but if you’re pregnant and have the disease, it’s possible to pass it to your newborn.
There are some myths out there about how you get hepatitis C, so let’s set the record straight. It’s not spread by food and water . And you canât spread it by doing any of these things:
- Joint pain
See your doctor as soon as possible if you have any of these symptoms.
Sometimes, people have no symptoms. To be sure you have hepatitis, youâll need to get tested.
Read Also: What Is Hepatitis C And How Do You Catch It
How Is Viral Hepatitis Prevented
Prevention of hepatitis involves measures to avoid exposure to the viruses, using immunoglobulin in the event of exposure, and vaccines. Administration of immunoglobulin is called passive protection because antibodies from patients who have had viral hepatitis are given to the patient. Vaccination is called active protection because killed viruses or non-infectious components of viruses are given to stimulate the body to produce its own antibodies.
Avoidance of exposure to viruses
Prevention of viral hepatitis, like any other illness, is preferable to reliance upon treatment. Taking precautions to prevent exposure to another individual’s blood , semen , and other bodily secretions and waste will help prevent the spread of all of these viruses.
Use of immunoglobulins
Immune serum globulin is human serum that contains antibodies to hepatitis A. ISG can be administered to prevent infection in individuals who have been exposed to hepatitis A. ISG works immediately upon administration, and the duration of protection is several months. ISG usually is given to travelers to regions of the world where there are high rates of hepatitis A infection and to close or household contacts of patients with hepatitis A infection. ISG is safe with few side effects.
Individuals at increased risk of acquiring hepatitis A are:
Some local health authorities or private companies may require hepatitis A vaccination for food handlers.
Hepatitis B vaccine is recommended for:
What To Do About Hepatitis
If you have hepatitis A or B, in most cases youll get better with a doctors care and supportive treatment without specific anti-viral treatments.
Hepatitis C and other chronic forms will probably affect your life more profoundly, but you can do a lot to manage the condition and keep it under control.
If someone in your home has hepatitis, it is also important to take appropriate precautions to avoid spreading the disease.
For hepatitis A, handwashing is extremely important. For hepatitis B and C, care should be taken to avoid contact with the blood of the infected individual, even the microscopic amounts that hide in toothbrushes and on razors, so never share these items.
Treatment can suppress or even eradicate hepatitis C. Older treatments for hepatitis C are combination antiviral therapy with pegylated interferon and ribavirin.
The treatment came with difficult side effects, and was effective for only about 40 to 80 percent of patients, depending on the type of hepatitis C they carried.
Newer drugs approved by the FDA in 2013 and 2014 are more effective, curing the viral infection for 90 percent of patients or more. New antiviral medications to treat hepatitis C include simeprevir and sofosbuvir , and combination therapies include Harvoni and Viekira Pak.
Don’t Miss: How Do You Get Hepatitis Ab And C
How Do You Get Hepatitis A
The main way you get hepatitis A is when you eat or drink something that has the hep A virus in it. A lot of times this happens in a restaurant. If an infected worker there doesn’t wash their hands well after using the bathroom, and then touches food, they could pass the disease to you.
Food or drinks you buy at the supermarket can sometimes cause the disease, too. The ones most likely to get contaminated are:
- Ice and water
Another way you can get hep A is when you have sex with someone who has it.
Living With Hepatitis B
Risk of chronic infection caused by hepatitis B is related to your age, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Protection . Approximately 90% of infected infants become chronically infected compared with 2%-6% of adult, reports the CDC.
Chronic hepatitis B infection can lead to serious health issues. If you have it, you should be monitored regularly by a doctor. This means you should check in with your doctor at least once or twice a year. Some people who have chronic hepatitis B infection require medicine, but others do not. Your doctor can discuss treatment options with you.
If you have chronic hepatitis B infection, it will likely stay in your blood and liver for a lifetime, according to The Hepatitis B Foundation. This means that you could pass the virus to others, even if you dont feel sick.
The most important thing to remember is that hepatitis B is a chronic medical condition that can be successfully managed if you take good care of your health and your liver, reports the Hepatitis B Foundation. You should expect to live a long, full life.
Also Check: Hepatitis B Treatment Cost In Us
How Do You Treat Hepatitis B
Like hepatitis A, medical treatment for acute hepatitis B is focused on getting plenty of rest and fluids and eating a healthy diet, although sometimes antiviral drugs are recommended for severe cases to help prevent liver failure. Patients with chronic hepatitis B may be given an oral antiviral drug to control the viral infection and minimize liver damage. These drugs are effective, but they rarely cure chronic hepatitis B. Therefore, these medications often have to be taken for life.
What Are The Symptoms Of Hepatitis B
Symptoms of hepatitis B can range from mild to severe. If you have a mild case of hepatitis, you may not even realize that you have it. It may not cause any symptoms, or may only cause symptoms similar to the stomach flu. The symptoms of hepatitis B may include:
- Loss of appetite.
- Jaundice .
- Joint pain.
Also Check: Is There A Pill That Cures Hepatitis C
How Do People Get Sick
Hepatitis viruses are spread from person to person through contact with infected feces , either directly or indirectly . People can carry the virus without showing symptoms, then spread it to other people, foods or surfaces.
People can get Hepatitis A after eating contaminated food and beverages. Food and drinks can become contaminated through:
- a contaminated food handler
- hands that were not washed properly after using the washroom
- contamination during harvest, manufacturing and processing
Common food sources of Hepatitis A include:
- contaminated water
What Is Hepatitis A
Hepatitis A accounts for 20 percent to 25 percent of hepatitis cases in developed countries. Hepatitis A is usually transmitted through the fecal-oral route, meaning a person somehow ingests contaminated feces from an infected person. If an infected person did not wash his or her hands properly after using the bathroom, the disease may spread from the persons hands. The incubation period is two to six weeks, during which the infected individual is contagious.
Another cause of hepatitis A is eating shellfish harvested from contaminated water. Developing countries experience hepatitis A epidemics caused by drinking water contaminated with raw sewage.
The prognosis for hepatitis A patients is excellent with self-limiting course, and recovery is complete. About 85 percent of people with hepatitis A recover within three months, and almost all recover within six months. The disease does not become chronic, and there are no long-term health implications.
Read Also: Where Can I Get A Hepatitis B Shot
The Discrimination Against My Hep B Status Began To Impact My Friendships
After migrating, in 2000, to Sydney from China, a very good friend of mine offered tremendous support to help me with my settlement. Australia was such a new environment and her help was very much appreciated. But, one day, without warning, she just walked away from me when she saw me and never spoke to me again. She instantly became like a stranger to me.
Then I realised it was because she must have known about my hep B status. She and I went to the same doctor, and I believe she found out through there. This hurt a lot, and I was very sad about the loss of our long-term friendship. After this, I never told other friends that I had hep B and, even carried my own cutlery .