Hepatitis is a disease that causes inflammation of the liver, most commonly caused by a virus. The virus invades the cells in the liver and causes swelling, fibrosis and overall dysfunction. Anyone who has this disease, even without symptoms, can give it to someone else through blood and bodily fluids. While there is no vaccine or cure for HCV, there are several treatment options. Hepatitis C is the most widespread blood-borne virus in the US. Here's what else you need to know. Click To Tweet
The most common types of Hepatitis are A, B, and C. Hepatitis C Virus (HCV) is the most widespread blood-borne virus in the United States (U.S.).If the virus does not clear up within 6 months it’s considered chronic hepatitis, and may go on to cause liver cancer, cirrhosis or liver failure.
- Stomach pain
- Loss of appetite
- Joint pain
- Sharing needles
- Unsafe sex
- Birth (passes from mother to child)
- Exposure to infected needles (had a blood transfusion before 1992)
- You were born between 1945 and 1965
- You are on dialysis
- You have body piercings or tattoos
- You use or have used intravenous drugs
- Your mother has hepatitis C
- You work around blood or needles
- You have not practiced safe sex
Pro Tip: If you’re considered a baby boomer (born between 1945 and 1965) you should be tested for Hepatitis C.
Treatment for HCV varies based on how advanced it is and how much damage it has inflicted on your liver. Once diagnosed, your local doctor will create a treatment plan that will include antiviral medication. Depending on the amount of damage your liver has endured, a transplant may be the only viable option.
Protect Your Health
The key to finding a healthy way forward with HCV is diagnosis and treatment. It’s crucial, especially if you have one or more risk factor, that you get tested. The sooner you start treatment, the less damage the virus can do to your liver.