Routine blood tests may be able to detect hepatitis C infection.
Routine blood tests are used to check for abnormalities in your blood. Abnormalities can be a sign of a health problem, such as hepatitis.
Symptoms of hepatitis may be accompanied by:
- Dark-colored urine
- Yellowing of your skin and the whites of your eyes
- Loss of appetite
- Jaundice, which occurs when your skin turns yellow
- Nausea and vomiting
- Abdominal pain
- Yellowing of your skin
- Pale or light-colored stools
If you have symptoms of hepatitis, your doctor may order a blood test to check for the presence of hepatitis C.
What is the treatment for hepatitis C?
Treatment for hepatitis C depends on the stage of the infection.
In the earliest stage, known as acute hepatitis, your treatment may consist of getting an antiviral drug or a combination of drugs.
If you have chronic hepatitis C, your treatment will focus on treating the underlying cause.
In a study published in the journal Hepatology, researchers looked at the treatment and outcomes of people with chronic hepatitis C who opted to take antiviral drugs.
Results showed that around 80 percent of the people who took the drugs experienced a reduction in liver inflammation.
However, the study noted that around 20 percent of the people experienced a worsening of their condition.
This suggests that a large portion of people do not respond to treatment, and that the side effects are severe.
The study concluded that the best approach to treating chronic hepatitis C is to manage the underlying cause.
It may be helpful to take an antiviral drug, such as sofosbuvir, lamivudine, or adefovir dipivoxil.
It may also be helpful to take a drug to treat the liver damage, such as interferon.
Your doctor may also recommend additional treatments such as:
- Lopinavir/ritonavir: This drug is a type of antiviral drug that treats hepatitis C. It may be used to manage the side effects of these drugs.
- Ribavirin: This drug may be used for people who have side effects from the drugs.
- Peginterferon alpha-2b: This drug may be used for people with advanced chronic hepatitis C who have not responded to other treatments.
What is the outlook for people with hepatitis C?
If you have hepatitis C, it is important to seek treatment as soon as possible.
As the disease progresses, your liver will become damaged. This will lead to liver inflammation.
Without treatment, the inflammation can become serious and lead to liver failure.
In the United States, there is an estimated 30,000 new cases of hepatitis C per year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). However, it is impossible to accurately calculate the number of people with the disease worldwide.
Your doctor can give you a better estimate of your risk for developing the condition.
If you have hepatitis C, it’s important to check that you have tested regularly for the infection. This will help ensure that you receive the right treatment at the right time.
How can I prevent hepatitis C?
There is no known cure for hepatitis C. However, there are ways to reduce your risk of getting the infection.
While there is no vaccine available for hepatitis C, it is possible to reduce your risk by:
- Avoiding close contact with others who are infected.
- Avoiding sharing needles and other medical devices.
- Avoiding sexual contact with anyone with hepatitis C.
- Avoiding contact with blood or body fluids that may have the virus.
- Wearing a mask when providing care to someone with an infection.
- Avoiding eating or drinking raw or undercooked shellfish.
- Avoiding sexual contact with someone with hepatitis C.
These recommendations are for people who are at very low risk for hepatitis C.
If you do have the infection, there are also ways to reduce your risk of developing it in the future.
- Getting an annual flu vaccination.
- Taking antiviral medications to lower the risk of developing the condition.
- Taking antiviral medications to lower the risk of complications from the infection.
- Getting screened for other chronic infections and conditions, such as HIV and hepatitis B.
- Making sure that you get appropriate treatment and follow-up care for any underlying conditions.
- Maintaining a healthy lifestyle, including a healthy, balanced diet and a regular exercise program.
- Maintaining a healthy weight.
- Taking steps to reduce your risk of exposure to viruses, such as HIV and hepatitis C.
- Avoiding illegal drugs.
- Avoiding illicit injection and drug use.
- Avoiding contact with people who are using illegal drugs.
- Avoiding exposure to contaminated needles.
- Avoiding exposure to blood or bodily fluids.
When can I get tested for hepatitis C?
When should I get tested for hepatitis C?
You should get tested for hepatitis C if you have any of the following symptoms:
- A high level of liver enzymes in your blood, such as alanine aminotransferase (ALT) or aspartate aminotransferase (AST)
- A significant increase in liver enzymes
- A significant increase in liver size
You do not need to get tested for hepatitis C if you feel well. Your doctor will assess your risk of developing the condition and advise you if and when you should get tested.
You can get tested for hepatitis C at a number of locations, including:
- Your primary care doctor.
- A hospital or clinic that provides blood testing.
- A drug treatment facility.
- A blood testing site.
- A specialty testing site.
Many states require that you be tested for hepatitis C if you have symptoms of the infection.
What is the best way to prevent hepatitis C?
In addition to avoiding close contact with people with hepatitis C, there are a number of steps you can take to reduce your risk of contracting the infection.
Hepatitis C can affect your liver and cause liver inflammation.
However, it is possible to manage the condition and avoid complications.
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