What To Know About Hepatitis C
Hepatitis C (Hep C) is a serious, blood-borne disease that has been under the radar. It’s not talked about much, so even though it affects millions, many people don’t know about it. It’s almost been forgotten.
“Hepatitis” means inflammation of the liver. The liver is a vital organ that processes nutrients, filters the blood, and fights infections. When the liver is inflamed or damaged, its function can be affected.
Hep C is a silent disease—many people feel few or no symptoms for years, but the virus never stands still. By the time symptoms do show up, liver damage is often advanced. Do not wait for symptoms to appear before seeking treatment.
Approximately 70%–80% of people with acute hepatitis C do not have any symptoms. Some people, however, can have mild to severe symptoms soon after being infected.
As many people have no symptoms, they may not know that they have hepatitis C, and therefore don’t seek treatment. During this time, the infected person can spread the virus to others.
Symptoms of hepatitis C may include:
- Fatigue (feeling tired even if you’ve had a normal amount of rest and activity)
- Loss of appetite
- Nausea (upset stomach)
- Abdominal pain (pain in the gut)
- Dark urine
- Clay-colored stools
- Joint pain
- Jaundice (yellow color in the eyes or skin)
It’s important to keep in mind that the sooner Hep C is treated, the better the chances are for being cured.
The Hep C test is a simple, one-time blood test, but it’s not part of routine blood work. Ask your doctor if Hep C testing is right for you at your next visit.
Hepatitis C Facts:
- People can live with it for years—even decades—with no symptoms.
- Meanwhile, Hep C slowly damages their liver. By the time symptoms do appear, liver damage is often advanced.
- Left untreated, Hep C can cause liver damage, liver cancer, and even death.
- Each year, more people die from Hep C than from HIV.
- About 3.9 million people in the U.S. have the disease.
- 1 in 30 Baby Boomers has Hep C
- The Hep C virus wasn’t discovered until 1989.
- Donated blood was not screened for Hep C until 1992.
- The CDC recommends that all people born 1945–1965 get tested
Hep C is a virus that is spread by blood-to-blood contact. Even a very small amount of infected blood can transmit the virus.
There are many ways Hep C can be spread, including:
- Recreational drugs that involve needles or straws
- Sharing personal care items like razors or toothbrushes
- Needlestick injuries in healthcare settings
- Sexual contact with a person infected with the hepatitis C virus
- Getting a tattoo with unsterilized equipment
- Received a blood transfusion or organ transplant before 1992, or had long-term kidney dialysis
Both the blood tests and medication, if needed, are covered by most private health insurance, Medicaid, and Medicare plans.
Parkview Health Services supplies Hep C medications through our in house Specialty Drug division. We have the knowledge and expertise to meet the needs of those diagnosed with Hep C. From the Prior Authorization process, to patient counseling, right through to delivery… Parkview is here for you!
For more information on these services contact us today at [email protected]