What’s the Deal with Hepatitis C?
- Posted on: Nov 15 2018
Hep C. These days, you see lots of TV commercials about getting tested and screened for it. It’s easy to assume hepatitis is a condition only concern to those who may have shared needles during drug use. But that’s not the case. Hepatitis C is a virus that can have many origins and can lead bad health outcomes should you ignore its possible presence in your body.
At Ogden Clinic GI at McKay, we can help with long-term treatment of hepatitis C.
What is hepatitis C?
Hepatitis C is a viral infection that causes liver inflammation that can lead to serious liver damage. This is a virus whose presence can be unknown for a long time. Once it’s in your blood, it travels to your liver. There it can lurk, exhibiting no symptoms, but starting to do damage. Hepatitis C is the leading cause of cirrhosis of the liver and liver cancer in the U.S.
What are the ways of becoming infected with hepatitis C?
Hepatitis C is mostly spread through blood. It can be transmitted through various methods:
- Shared needles
- A blood transfusion prior to 1992
- Sexual contact
- A tattoo or acupuncture with contaminated needles
- Unsafe medical practices
- Shared personal items with an infected person
- Long-term kidney dialysis
- Passed from a pregnant mother to her unborn child
Prior to 1992, hepatitis C was commonly spread through blood transfusions and organ transplants.
What are the symptoms of hepatitis C?
Many people with the virus have no idea because it often causes no symptoms. It is “silent” until it has damaged the liver enough to cause the signs and symptoms of liver disease. These are common symptoms and signs:
- Bleeding easily
- Bruising easily
- Poor appetite
- Yellow discoloration of the skin and eyes (jaundice)
- Dark-colored urine
- Itchy skin
- Fluid buildup in the abdomen
- Swelling in the legs
- Weight loss
- Confusion, drowsiness, slurred speech
- Spider-like blood vessels on your skin
Every hepatitis C infection starts with an acute phase. Acute symptoms will usually appear one to three months after exposure and will last 2-9 weeks.
When it becomes chronic, treatment is needed. Since 2013, the FDA has approved a number of medications for treatment of chronic hepatitis C. They are very effective.
If you believe you may have hepatitis C, please give us a call at Ogden Clinic GI at McKay, 801.475.3680. We can help you treat the virus before it damages your liver.
Posted in: Hepatitis C