About 3.9 million Americans are infected with hepatitis C that affects the liver, and many don’t know it. For diagnosis and treatment of this possibly deadly disease, contact Gastro Office and expert gastroenterologist, Dr. Krishna Rayapudi. If you live in Hilliard, Ohio or the greater Columbus area, you can call his office or book an appointment online to learn about Hepatitis C and your health.
Hepatitis C is a viral infection that can damage your liver. There are several variations of hepatitis C, with type 1 being most common. It wasn’t discovered until 1989. You can live with the virus for years with no symptoms as it slowly damages your liver. Once symptoms appear, liver damage may not be reversed.
In the United States, hepatitis C infection is the most common cause of chronic hepatitis and the most common reason for liver transplants.
You get hepatitis C through exposure to infected blood. IV drug use and shared needles is a common reason it might be acquired. Other causes of hepatitis C include:
One in 30 baby boomers have the disease, so all should be tested to prevent long-term complications.
In its early stages, hepatitis C has few symptoms. You may have some fatigue during this time but may not associate it with the virus. Later stage symptoms include:
A blood test reveals whether you have the virus.
Hepatitis C causes a long-term, chronic infection called chronic hepatitis C in 75-85% of people diagnosed with the virus. This can lead to complications including:
Hepatitis C causes scarring of the liver, so it can’t function normally.
Hepatitis C can be treated with oral medications. How long medication is needed and the necessary dosage depends on the severity of your infection. Injectable drug therapy is also available.
During treatment with these medications, you may experience side effects including:
If you’re a baby boomer or have been exposed to blood through IV drug usage or a transfusion, consider being tested for hepatitis C. Call Gastro Office for an appointment or book one online.