Well, the good news is hepatitis C is curable. Though it is a chronic infection, recently developed drugs can clear the virus completely from the system. If the viral load (number of virus particles in the blood) is nil after three months of treatment completion, people are considered “cured.” This is called sustained virologic response (SVR) and data suggest that, in these cases, people will stay virus-free for life.
However, people must remember that hepatitis C is a lot more than just liver disease. Hepatitis C is often associated with many medical complications, such as a heightened risk of developing kidney diseases and cancer in the future. The drugs used in the treatment are accompanied by adverse reactions like every other drug. Hence, prevention is the best cure in this case.
Intensive therapy with antivirals against hepatitis will significantly reduce the risk of liver failure, liver cancer and the need for a liver transplant. However, often, the disease causes severe liver scarring. This scarring of the liver (cirrhosis) is irreversible and can cause potential complications, such as liver failure. Hence, people with hepatitis C need lifelong monitoring.
How is hepatitis C treated?
Acute hepatitis C is a short-term illness that can occur within the first six months after being exposed to the virus. The modes of infection are via sexual intercourse, needle stick injury, infected blood transfusion, infected organ transplant, dialysis or a mother to her child during delivery. People are also at risk if they have engaged in high-risk behaviors like intravenous (IV) drug use, shared needles or had unprotected sex.
In many cases, early hepatitis C infection can clear on its own without treatment in about one in four individuals. This is especially possible in younger people. The treatment options for hepatitis C include
These are the mainstay of treatment against hepatitis C. The treatment aims to have no detected hepatitis C virus in the body at least 12 weeks after treatment.
The "direct-acting" antiviral medications are given over 12 weeks. These are combination medications and will cure early acute hepatitis C in more than 90 percent of people. They are
- Harvoni (combination of ledipasvir and sofosbuvir)
- Viekira Pak (a mix of ombitasvir, paritaprevir, ritonavir and dasabuvir)
The choice of medications and length of treatment depend on the
- Hepatitis C genotype
- Presence of existing liver damage
- Co-existing medical conditions
- Prior treatments
Discuss the best option with the doctor. The right medications and proper monitoring are essential.
Liver transplantation is an option if the infection is advanced and there is severe scarring in the liver. After a potential donor is found, the doctor can perform a liver transplant. During surgery, the surgeon will replace the damaged liver with a healthy liver. The transplanted livers may come from organ donors or living donors who agree to donate a portion of their livers.
Even after the transplant, the infection is likely to return. Hence, they require treatment with antiviral medication to prevent damage to the transplanted liver.
Unfortunately, there is no vaccine for hepatitis C. The doctor will recommend getting vaccines against hepatitis A and B viruses according to the schedule. These are separate viruses that may damage the liver and complicate the course of chronic hepatitis C.
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Diagnosing Hepatitis C. https://liverfoundation.org/for-patients/about-the-liver/diseases-of-the-liver/hepatitis-c/diagnosing-hepatitis-c/#can-hepatitis-c-be-cured
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Hepatitis C (HCV, Hep C)Hepatitis C is an inflammation of the liver due to the hepatitis C virus (HCV), which is usually spread by blood transfusion, hemodialysis, and needle sticks, especially with intravenous drug abuse. Symptoms of chronic hepatitis include fatigue, fever, muscle aches, loss of appetite, and fever. Chronic hepatitis C may be cured in most individuals with drugs that target specific genomes of hepatitis C.
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Hepatitis is inflammation of the liver. There are a variety of toxins, diseases, illicit drugs, medications, bacterial and viral infections, and heavy alcohol use can case inflammation of the liver. Hepatitis C viral infection (HCV) is one type of hepatitis. According to the CDC, in 2014 there were an estimated 30,500 cases of acute hepatitis C infections in the US. An estimated 2.7-3.9 million people in the US have chronic hepatitis C. The virus is spread from person-to-person via blood-to-blood contact.
Symptoms of HCV infection include joint pain, jaundice, dark urine, nausea, fatigue, fever, loss of appetites, clay colored stool. Hepatitis C can be cured with medications in most people. There is no vaccine against the hepatitis C virus.
Hepatitis C SlideshowWhat is hepatitis C (Hep C, HVC)? Learn about hepatitis C symptoms, how you get Hep C, contagiousness, and treatment for hepatitis C.
Hepatitis C QuizHow many Americans have hepatitis C? Take this quiz to learn the facts about this chronic disease.
Hepatitis SlideshowHepatitis C, B, and A are viruses that cause liver inflammation. Hepatitis B vaccines and hepatitis A vaccines are available. Hepatitis symptoms may not appear for weeks to months after infection. Hepatitis A transmission occurs most often via contaminated food. Hepatitis B and hepatitis C transmission require contact with infected bodily fluids or blood.
Is Hepatitis C Contagious?Hepatitis C or hep C causes acute and chronic liver disease. Hep C is a form of liver disease with symptoms like fatigue, jaundice, nausea and vomiting, anorexia, and abdominal discomfort. Hepatitis C is a contagious viral infection caused by persons sharing drug needles, surgical instruments that have not been properly sanitized, and organ transplantation.
Is Hepatitis Contagious?Hepatitis means "inflammation of the liver," and there are several different types of such as A, B, C, D, and E. Some types of hepatitis are contagious and some types are not. Hepatitis symptoms vary upon the type of disease; however, the following symptoms may develop in someone with hepatitis: fatigue, nausea and vomiting, abdominal pain and discomfort, jaundice (yellowing of the skin and whites of the eyes), and loss of appetite. Treatment for hepatitis depends upon the cause. Some types of hepatitis have a vaccine to prevent spread of disease such as hepatitis A and B.