Hepatitis C infection can lead to potentially life-threatening liver disease, but prompt treatment can help prevent these serious complications. Alka Rebentish, MD, and Chukwudum Uche, MD, FIDSA, FACP, at Infectious Disease Associates & Travel Medicine Clinic provide hepatitis C testing and treat patients who have chronic hepatitis. Call the clinic in Las Vegas, Nevada, today to find out more or book an appointment using the online tool.
Hepatitis C is a viral disease that affects your liver. It can result in mild short-term illness or chronic, lifelong infection.
Acute hepatitis C develops within six months of any exposure to the hepatitis C virus. In many cases, acute infection develops into chronic hepatitis C. Without treatment, chronic hepatitis C can lead to potentially life-threatening health problems, including:
More than half the people who contract acute hepatitis C go on to develop chronic hepatitis C.
You can catch hepatitis C from the blood of someone who already has the virus. Most hepatitis C cases affect people who share needles and other equipment when taking drugs. It’s also possible to get infected if you suffer a needlestick injury in a health care setting such as a hospital or clinic.
It’s also possible for mothers to pass on hepatitis C to their babies. Less common ways of catching hepatitis C include sharing personal items that could have blood on them, like toothbrushes or razors, or getting a body piercing or tattoo from an unregulated provider. Some cases of hepatitis C are sexually transmitted.
You can get hepatitis C more than once, so even if you’ve had it and recovered successfully, you could catch the disease again.
In most cases, acute hepatitis C causes few if any symptoms. If you do have symptoms, they could include:
Chronic hepatitis C typically causes no symptoms either. You might feel extra tired or depressed, but these are symptoms of many other conditions, too.
It’s not until you start experiencing liver problems that you might have noticeable symptoms. It can take many years – over 20 in some cases – for this to happen.
Many cases of hepatitis C come to light during routine blood screenings without the patient having any idea they’re infected.
There’s no specific treatment for acute hepatitis C. If you’re sick or know you have the infection, your doctor should monitor you to see if you recover or develop chronic hepatitis C.
If you do develop chronic hepatitis C, there are medications available that cure more than 90% of cases. Treatment involves taking oral medication for between eight and 12 weeks.
Infectious Disease Associates & Travel Medicine Clinic provides expert, up-to-date treatment for patients who have chronic hepatitis C and help you deal with any complications.
There’s no vaccine against hepatitis C, but to help protect your liver, you should have vaccinations against hepatitis A, especially if you travel outside the United States, and hepatitis B.
Call Infectious Disease Associates & Travel Medicine Clinic today if you need further information about hepatitis C or book an appointment online.