Here Are 8 Helpful Facts About Hepatitis C

With Hepatitis C getting more press attention, it’s likely stirred some questions about the virus. It can make people really scared and bring up lots of questions. We wanted to answer some questions you may have to help you understand Hepatitis C better.

1) What Is Hepatitis C?

Hepatitis C is a disease caused by the Hepatitis C virus that hurts the liver. People can get acute or chronic, ongoing, Hepatitis C. Statistics show that 15-25 of every 100 people who catch acute Hepatitis C, get rid of it without any problems. On the other hand, 75-85 of every 100 people who get Hepatitis C will develop the chronic, lifelong form of the virus. Of those same 100, 60-70 will get long-term liver disease. Others will progress to cirrhosis of the liver. Nearly half a million people die every year from Hepatitis C.

2) How do you contract Hepatitis C?

Hepatitis C is spread through blood-to-blood contact between humans. It is mostly spread through sharing injection drug needles. It can also be passed through sexual contact even though the risk appears to be low. You don’t contract Hepatitis C through getting tattoos or piercings with clean equipment, but if the equipment is not clean, you can get it. The disease is rarely spread from mother to child during pregnancy, and a person cannot contract it through a bug bite. It is not passed through breast milk, water, food or casual contact like shaking hands, hugging or kissing.

3) How do you prevent Hepatitis C?

You can avoid catching the disease when you handle sharp things like needles and razors with care, train health professionals very well, test donated blood for Hepatitis C, monitor for liver disease, and use condoms persistently and in the right way.

4) What are the symptoms of Hepatitis C?

Symptoms will show up six to seven weeks after exposure to the disease. 20 Out of every 100 people, 20-30 never feel symptoms, but they can still spread the disease and give it to someone else. Symptoms of acute Hepatitis C are fever, loss of hunger, nausea, throwing up, stomach pains, joint pains, jaundice, clay-colored bowels, and dark urine. Most people with chronic Hepatitis C don’t show any signs.

5) What does Hepatitis C do to you?

If a person has been infected for many years, he or she may have liver damage and the symptoms that go along with that. Chronic Hepatitis C can cause liver failure, cirrhosis, cancer and even death.

6) What do you do if you have Hepatitis C?

You should be under a doctor’s care. There are a number of types of medications available to treat Hepatitis C for you and your doctor to consider as treatment options. Talk with your health insurer to know all you can about doctors and facilities in your plan’s network. You can also learn about the most affordable drugs in your health insurance plan to treat your Hepatitis C.

7) Who needs to be tested for Hepatitis C?

If you meet any of the following conditions, you should be tested for Hepatitis C.

  • You were born between 1945 and 1965.
  • You have abnormal liver tests or liver disease.
  • You work in health care.
  • You were exposed to a needlestick.
  • You are infected with HIV as you are more at risk to contract the disease.
  • You are past or current injection drug users.
  • You were treated for blood clots before 1987.
  • You received a blood transfusion or organ transplant before 1992.
  • You are on long-term hemodialysis treatment.

Have questions? Feel free to ask us in the comments or in a private message.

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  • I noticed that this thing is dated April 2016. Well I also read that there are no cures for hepatitis C, when in fact there are cures. I came to this site looking to see if BCBS of OK has any suggested or recommended plans for a person who needs to get treatment at a lower cost. And going by what I've read, it makes me believe that BCBS is ignoring the new treatments and their effects. Someone needs to change or delete this article because times have changed and I suggest BCBS to get with the program.

  • We have updated our post, thank you for your feedback, we want to provide our members with the most up to date information as it becomes available.  I'm sure this will help others as well! -Enid