What is Hepatitis C?
Hepatitis C, also known as Hep C, is a blood borne viral infection caused by the Hepatitis C Virus. Hepatitis C causes liver inflammation that sometimes leads to serious liver damage. Having a Hepatitis C infection for a long time can cause serious problems such as cirrhosis, liver failure, and liver cancer. In some cases, the damage may necessitate a liver transplant.
What are the symptoms of Hepatitis C?
Patients with acute Hepatitis C are usually asymptomatic or experience mild symptoms. When they do experience symptoms, they include:
- Light Colored stools
- Loss of Appetite
- Abdominal Pain
- Joint pain
Most patients living with chronic Hepatitis C are asymptomatic. The patients who have symptoms, deal with common symptoms, such as:
Over time, patients with chronic Hepatitis C may develop:
- Liver cancer
- Other chronic liver disease
More than 3.5 million people in the U.S. are currently living with Hepatitis C.
Around 70% of those with Hepatitis C will develop chronic liver disease.
Treatment for Hepatitis C typically requires between 8 and 24 weeks of daily medication.
What Causes Hepatitis C?
Hepatitis C is caused by the Hepatitis C Virus (HCV). The virus is transmitted when infected blood enters the blood stream of someone who is not infected. Some of the ways this can happen are:
- Sharing personal items, such as razors, that may have come in contact with a person’s blood
- Sharing needles
- Being tattooed or pierced in a setting with previously used, unsterilized needles
- Needlestick injuries in a healthcare setting, such as a hospital or clinic
How is Hepatitis C Prevented?
There is no vaccine for Hepatitis C. However, there are activities that should be avoided to reduce the risk of contracting the Hepatitis C Virus. These activities include:
- Engaging in unprotected sex
- Using illegal drugs and sharing needles
- Patroning body piercing or tattoo shops where sterility is questionable
How is Hepatitis C Treated?
The goal of Hepatitis C treatment is to clear the virus from the body. Twelve weeks after completion of the treatment, there should be no Hepatitis C virus detected within the body. This is done using antiviral medications.
When chronic Hepatitis C causes serious complications, a liver transplant may be necessary to repair the liver. In most cases, this is not a cure and must be supplemented with antiviral medication. The antiviral medication works to prevent the same damage from happening to the new liver.
How does Noble help me manage my Hepatitis C?
At Noble Health Services, we offer a variety of medications to help you treat your symptoms. We help you manage your condition through our Signature Care Program, which includes medication delivery, 24/7/365 on-call support, benefits and co-pay assistance and more. For more information on what Hepatitis C medications we offer, please view the Hepatitis enrollment form .