Doctor insights on:
Active Or Inactive Hepatitis C
I was positive for hepatitis C and then my doctor took another test to see if it was active. It was and it was 4 million what does that mean?
Active: Viral load or count doesn't mean anything other than an active infection. The absolute value has no relevance other than for determining length of treatment in a patient that has never received treatment and does not have cirrhosis. Harvoni for example can be used for 8 weeks instead of 12 in genotype 1 patients. You're genotype needs to be determined more than anything ...Read more
A virus: Hepatitis c is a virus that affects the liver. It is transmitted by blood contact. About 20% of people fight it off quickly. The rest it keeps attacking the liver for years/ decades. Some people get fatigue, some don't notice it. Around 20 years of this attack the liver develop cirrhosis and even failure. There are treatments available, although work is being done on better options. ...Read more
Cause of Hepatitis C:
This is one of the viruses that cause inflammation and prolonged damage to the liver. The main viruses are given alphabet labels to distinguish them from each other.
Hepatiits a is food and water born and some oral ingestion.
Hepatitis b is at high risk in blood and body fluid transmission.
And hep c is found predominantly in the drug using populations, especially injectors. ...Read more
Most cases of hepatitis c infection in humans do not manifest any symptoms unless cirrhosis or liver cancer occur. Many cases are picked up by screening in people with abnormal liver tests but many have totally normal liver tests. Complications are higher when the chronic carrier drinks a lot of alcohol.
Acute hepatitis c is rarely diagnosed. ...Read more
Testing first: OK. Firstly there's a couple things we need to know. There are several genotypes to hepatitis C...we need to know which you have. Second check a viral load. Third, liver function tests, AFP, CEA and GGT. A Hep C Fibrosure will indicate if there is liver fibrosis. There is a new med just out called Harvoni. Before this. Treatment was with interferon and ribaviron. ...Read more
Yes...maybe: Here are two extremes. A monogamous heterosexual couple has one partner who finds out he has hcv. If the other partner is negative the cdc does not recommend condom use. On the other hand, we have an epidemic of hcv in men who have unprotected anal sex with other men. Condom use is strongly recommended in this case. New partners should use condoms for hcv, hiv, hep b, syphilis, gc, chlamydia, etc. ...Read more
Asymptomatically: This is a viral infection which over time causes liver damage. It is typically transmitted from one person to another by sharing needles, Cocaine straws and by blood transfusions received before 1991. It can cause fatigue but most have no symptoms. ...Read more
Contact with blood: One can catch hepatitis C from an infected person by getting the infected person's blood into oneself by activities such as: sharing needles during drug abuse, accidental needle-sticks, being born to a hepc+ mother, sharing razors or toothbrushes, or having sex. Transmission of hepc virus during sex can happen, but is uncommon. ...Read more
Start liver disease: When someone is exposed to hepatitis c, the virus can be detected in the blood by 2 -4 weeks, and antibody by 3 -6 months. Initially there is a lot of inflammation of the liver as the immune system tries to fight hcv (about 25% of the time the body wins and clears hcv). For 75% of people, over the next several decades there is slow development of scarring, which can lead to cirrhosis. ...Read more
Hep C testing:
The "old answer" would be:
1. Abnormal "lfts"
2. At-risk conditions - eg. Blood transfusions pre-1993, any history if IV drug use (even once), history of jaundice or hepatitis etc. Etc.
the CDC is contemplating recommending all us people born between 1946 and 1965 (and maybe 1970) should be screened once.
http://www. Hhs. Gov/ash/initiatives/hepatitis/actionplan_viralhepatitis2011.pdf. ...Read more
2 new drugs: Within the last few month, 2 new drugs have come out that are in pill forms and FDA approved (without interferon injections) that cure hepatitis C in > 95% of patients. Talk to your liver doctor who can help determine if Harvoni or Viekira Pak is right for you, based on your medication insurance coverage. There are other medications out there depending on the strain of virus you have. ...Read more
Normal: Majority of people with hep c live a normal life but have to take certain precautions. They learn to avoid certain products like alcohol, illicit drugs, medications which has tylenol, (acetaminophen) seek alternative therapies to maintain healthy liver function, and they live with constant hope of finding a cure. If hep c is associated with liver dysfunction, special interferon therapy can be used for suppression. ...Read more