Hepatitis C (HVC) is a viral infection passed through contaminated blood that can result in serious liver damage if left untreated. This disease is the top cause of liver transplants.
More than 3 million Americans have a long-term infection from hepatitis C and can unknowingly pass it to others through blood and bodily fluids.
You are at risk of HVC if you:
- Received a tattoo or piercing using unclean equipment in a non-sterile environment
- Are healthcare worker back within infected needle or otherwise exposed to infected blood
- Snort cocaine or inject illegal drugs
- Have HIV or a partner who does
- Have a risky sex life with multiple partners often without protection
- Were ever in prison and shred needles, had sex, or had a tattoo there
- Received an organ transplant or blood transfusion before 1992
- Received clotting factor concentrates before 1987
- Received hemodialysis treatments for a long period of time
- Were born to a woman with a hepatitis C infection
- Were born between 1945 and 1965, the time period with the highest incidence of hepatitis C infection
SYMPTOMS OF HEPATITIS C
HVC is a chronic infection that remains silent within the body for many years until the liver is damaged enough to cause the body to manifest symptoms. These include:
- Bleeding easily
- Bruising easily
- Poor appetite
- Jaundice, yellowing of the skin and eyes
- Dark colored urine
- Itchy skin
- Swelling in the leg
- Fluid buildup in the abdomen
- Weight loss
- Drowsiness, slurred speech, and confusion
- Spider-like blood vessels on your skin
Left untreated, Hep C can lead to scarring of the liver, liver cancer, or liver failure.
TREATING HEPATITIS C
Treatment for hepatitis C used to include shots of interferon and a pill called ribavirin that revved up your immune system to allow you to fight the disease. This approach did not cure the disease. Current treatments involve direct-acting antiviral drugs that can remove all traces of the virus from your blood within as few as 12 weeks. Since there are several types of HVC, there are different drugs for each type.
If you have any of the risk factors for Hepatitis C, you should ask your doctor about a screening test to make sure that your liver is not at risk.
SCHEDULE HEPATITIS C TREATMENT AT OASIS ADVANCED GASTROENTEROLOGY
Testing and treatment for Hepatitis C can spare your liver function. Contact Oasis Advanced Gastroenterology in Palm Springs to schedule a liver function screening with Dr. Asgeri.
Request an appointment online or call 760-699-7607.