Hepatitis

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    How long a course of treatment for hepatitis C takes depends on a few factors, including the type of the virus (genotype) you have, whether you’ve developed scarring of the liver (called cirrhosis) and whether you have been treated for the infection unsuccessfully before. In general, treatment typically ranges from 8 weeks to 48 weeks. The treatment is usually shortest in people who don’t have cirrhosis and haven’t been treated before.
     
    There are six genotypes of the hepatitis C virus. The combination of medications used to treat the infection and the time to complete treatment vary for each genotype. Recommended treatment times are as follows:
     
    Genotype 1: 12 to 24 weeks, or less commonly, 48 weeks
     
    Genotype 2: 12 weeks
     
    Genotype 3: 12 to 24 weeks
     
    Genotype 4: 12 to 24 weeks, or less commonly, 48 weeks
     
    Genotypes 5 and 6: 12 weeks, or less commonly, 48 weeks
     
    In addition, researchers are testing drug regimens that can shorten the treatment time to as little as 8 weeks in some people. 
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    ASudeepta Varma, MD, Psychiatry, answered
    What are some of the emotional aspects of living with Hepatitis C?
    Living with Hepatitis C can be challenging; many patients feel helpless, and there is a stigma assigned to the condition. Watch psychiatrist Sudeepta Varma, MD, discuss the emotional issues that Hep C patients experience and solutions that can help.
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    ARobert Brown, MD, Gastroenterology, answered on behalf of Columbia University Department of Surgery
    Hepatitis C is the leading cause of liver transplantation. Chronic HCV infection can lead to cirrhosis, liver cancer and liver failure.
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    Here's how you can stay healthy if you are living with hepatitis C:
    • Eat a healthy diet, stay physically active, see a doctor on a regular basis, and ask if you could benefit from new and better treatments.
    • Talk to your doctor before taking over-the-counter medicines and avoid alcohol because they can cause liver damage.
    • Reduce the risk of transmission to others by not donating blood or sharing personal items that might come into contact with blood.
    (The presence of the CDC logo and CDC content on this page should not be construed to imply endorsement by the U.S. government of any commercial products or services, or to replace the advice of a medical professional. The mark “CDC” is licensed under authority of the PHS.)
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    The following people should be tested for hepatitis C:
    • Born from 1945 through 1965
    • Have received blood products with clotting factor before 1987
    • Have received blood transfusion or organ transplant before July 1992
    • Have ever injected drugs, even if only one time
    • Have HIV
    • Have been on kidney dialysis for several years
    • Are health or public safety workers who have been stuck with a needle or other sharp object with blood from a person with hepatitis C or unknown hepatitis C status
    • Born to a mother with hepatitis C
    (The presence of the CDC logo and CDC content on this page should not be construed to imply endorsement by the U.S. government of any commercial products or services, or to replace the advice of a medical professional. The mark “CDC” is licensed under authority of the PHS.)
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    About 3 million adults in the United States are infected with the hepatitis C virus, and most are baby boomers. Up to three out of four people who are infected don't know they have hepatitis C, so they aren't getting the necessary medical care. Baby boomers -- anyone born from 1945 through 1965 -- should get tested for hepatitis C.

    (The presence of the CDC logo and CDC content on this page should not be construed to imply endorsement by the U.S. government of any commercial products or services, or to replace the advice of a medical professional. The mark “CDC” is licensed under authority of the PHS.)
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    A follow up test is needed after a hepatitis C antibody test, but only if the antibody test is positive. The hepatitis C antibody test can tell if you have ever been infected, but cannot tell whether you are still infected. Only a different follow-up blood test can determine if you are still infected. So that’s why the follow-up test is important. Without the follow-up test, a person will not know if they still have hepatitis C and cannot get the medical care they need.  And new CDC data shows only half of people with a positive hepatitis C antibody test had the follow-up test reported to the health department. The other half did not have a follow-up test reported, although some of them may have beentested.

    (The presence of the CDC logo and CDC content on this page should not be construed to imply endorsement by the U.S. government of any commercial products or services, or to replace the advice of a medical professional. The mark “CDC” is licensed under authority of the PHS.)
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    AScripps Health answered

    Infectious hepatitis A is a food- or water-borne disease (sometimes fatal) that attacks the liver. Immunization fully protects against the disease and should be taken by nearly all international travelers.

  • 4 Answers
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    AScripps Health answered

    If you’re part of the “baby boom” generation, born between 1945 and 1965, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has a message for you: Get tested for hepatitis C.

    Hepatitis C is spread through infected blood -- and that’s why baby boomers are at such high risk. The American Gastroenterological Association (AGA) notes that baby boomers represent 82 percent of Americans with hepatitis C. Because blood wasn’t regularly tested for the virus until the 1990s, people who had blood transfusions before that may have been infected. Hepatitis C can also be transmitted through IV drug use, unprotected sex, unsterile piercings or tattoos or exposure to infected blood, and may be passed from mother to baby during birth. People can continue passing the virus for decades after they are infected.

    Because hepatitis C can have no symptoms until considerable damage has been done to the liver, up to 75 percent of those infected don’t even know they have the virus. If newly infected patients have symptoms, they can be ambiguous, such as nausea, poor appetite, fatigue or dark urine. Such symptoms are easily mistaken for flu or an upset stomach, so people tend not to seek medical care.

    The CDC’s recommendation for age-based screening may identify more than 800,000 more cases of chronic hepatitis C than conventional screening. Until now, physicians have been screening patients by asking them questions, such as whether they have had a blood transfusion or used IV drugs. However, this was not effective at identifying patients who needed to be tested.

    Screening all baby boomers through a simple blood test enables physicians to identify and treat more people in the early stages of the disease and reduces the complications and cost of treating them for cirrhosis, liver cancer and other serious liver problems.

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    ARealAge answered

    The most common screening test for detecting hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection is a blood test that searches for the presence of hepatitis B surface antigen (HBsAg). The presence of this antigen (a foreign molecule capable of inducing a protective response from the body) shows that a hepatitis B viral infection is present or that vaccination against HBV has been successful.