Hepatitis C is a treatable disease; anyone with risk factors should be screened.
Approximately 3 to 5 million people in the United States are living with chronic hepatitis C, an infection that causes inflammation and scarring in the liver. Heavy alcohol use, fatty liver, autoimmune diseases, among other, can lead to cirrhosis of the liver, but the hepatitis C virus is the most common cause. If left untreated, chronic hepatitis C can cause scarring of the liver that results in cirrhosis which in turn results in long-term health problems, including liver failure, liver cancer and death. This danger is compounded by the fact that many infected people aren’t aware they have the disease because they don’t feel sick or experience symptoms. Unlike hepatitis A and hepatitis B, for which vaccines exist, there is no vaccine for hepatitis C.
But there is some good news: Hepatitis C can now be cured. There are several effective medications for it, and if it’s caught early and treated, people with the disease can live a normal life. The key is finding it early.
Unfortunately, there is a stigma associated with hepatitis C, and our patients often struggle with telling their loved ones they have it. These patients assume that if they have hepatitis C, they did something bad, as the most common cause is injection drug use. The truth is, if a person tests positive for hepatitis C, it doesn’t mean he or she is a drug addict; there are several ways people can get the disease. Some people are born with it; others become infected through a blood transfusion or a needlestick with infected blood.
Read Full Article: Hepatitis C Doesn’t Have to be a Life Sentence: One Heart – UT Southwestern
|Read Full Article: Hepatitis C Doesn’t Have to be a Life Sentence: One Heart – UT Southwestern|