Hepatitis C is characterized by a liver infection that can result in severe liver destruction. Generally, this medical condition is triggered by the hepatitis C virus. In the US, approximately 3.9 million is affected by Hepatitis C. However, since this disease doesn’t have a lot of symptoms, most people are unaware that they already acquired it. The virus often spreads via an infected person’s bodily fluid or blood. Hep C virus or HVC has many different forms. The most popular is type 1. No virus is more destructive than the other, however the response to treatment differently.
How will I know that I have Hepatitis C?
Most people who acquire hepatitis C don’t experience any symptoms. However, in the span of 2 weeks to 24 weeks, right after the virus landed inside your bloodstream, here are the symptoms of Hepatitis C that you’ll experience:
- Dark urine
- Joint pain
- Clay-colored poop
- Loss of appetite
- Stomach pain
- Jaundice – a condition that causes yellowish skin and eyes, alongside dark urine
These symptoms typically last for 2-12 weeks.
Is it possible to treat Hep C?
Hepatitis C virus can impact and damage the liver. It is one of the most threatening forms among all types of hepatitis viruses. Hepatitis C can result in many complexities including liver cancer or liver transplant. There are even cases where Hep C can cause death. Over the past years, a new and innovative treatment for Hepatitis C has been developed, which means that the virus is much easier to fight off than it was before. In many cases, Hepatitis C is treatable. This is why those who are exposed to the virus are advised to look for treatment as early as possible.
Can Hepatitis C be treated permanently?
In contrast to Hepatitis A and Hepatitis B, there’s no available vaccine for Hepatitis C. Still, there are plenty of treatment options available for patients and Hepatitis C might be treated – or eliminated from the body.
Hepatitis C virus can only be deemed as “treated” if there are no traces of the virus in the blood of the patient after he undergoes a blood test 12 weeks after the treatment is finished. This is known as a sustained virologic response (SVR) and information taken from this test suggests that the patient will remain virus-free indefinitely.
If you are diagnosed with Hepatitis C, make sure you remain healthy as much as possible, attend daily check-ups, and keep up with your medical appointments. Always keep in mind that you can be re-infected with the Hepatitis C virus any time, especially if you place yourself in high-risk situations like injection drug abuse. So, make sure you take extra measures to avoid these types of situations. You can reach out to a substance abuse counselor for professional help. and share your experiences.
Is Hepatitis C treatable in 2019?
Researchers say it’s treatable. However, the treatment of Hepatitis isn’t always simple and breezy. For instance, you need to take excruciating shots for a treatment that’s known as interferon, together with a pill referred to as ribavirin. This is approved by the food and drug administration or fda.
However, these drugs aren’t intended to eliminate the virus that’s affecting your system. Instead, they strengthen your immune system so you can combat it just like how your body does when you have the flu. Take note that the treatment won’t get your Hepatitis C cured or remove the virus out of your system. Cure rates are approximately 50% and patients who kept up with the yearlong treatment – though not everyone did – had to suffer from side-effects that are comparable to chemo treatments. In 2019, treatment for Hepatitis is more convenient and less complicated. Most people can remove the virus by just consuming a medication, at home for several weeks. There are multiple ways on how to get cured without taking any shots.
When it comes to treating Hepatitis C, there’s no general option that fits everyone. This is because treatment options vary from one patient to another. There are various kinds of “genotypes” of Hepatitis C, and the most popular is Type 1. It is highly recommended that you reach out to your doctor because not all medications are effective on all genotypes. The type of medication that suits your condition also varies on the amount of liver scarring (cirrhosis) you experience.
For your doctor, these innovative drugs are direct-acting antivirals. They work by zooming in on the Hepatitis C virus that’s damaging your body. Every drug somehow functions differently. But in a general sense, they intermeddle with proteins, which aid the virus to spread and grow.
Typically, these drugs eliminate every footprint of the virus in your bloodstream in 12 weeks. This process is known as a sustained virologic response (SVR), and the information gathered from the test is used by the doctors to determine whether or not you are completely treated. The duration of the treatment also varies but usually, it ranges from 8- 24 weeks.
How does Hepatitis C treatment work?
Over 3 million Americans suffer from permanent Hepatitis C infection and bear with symptoms hepatitis every day. The majority of these infected citizens have no idea that they have it since they aren’t experiencing any symptoms. But for those who are aware of their condition, there are many treatment alternatives available for them. The pioneer of direct-acting antivirals (DAAs) that specifically target the Hepatitis C virus was Sofosbuvir. DAAs function in various ways to prevent Hep C from multiplying. These meds are gentler and kinder compared to traditional treatments – painful interferon shots and ribavirin. Moreover, these conventional treatments can also take years to complete and it only treated approximately half of the patients, plus the side effects were agonizing. Modern treatments are comprised of pills that eliminate the need to take interferon shots. They have minimal side effects and a double cure rate of as much as 90-100%. They also work in as fast as 8 or 12 weeks.
These DAAs make treatment simple and convenient for the patients and also for medical experts. With this innovative treatment option, primary care doctors, infectious disease experts, and liver doctors can easily cure Hep C. Patients are advised to seek treatment as soon as possible. Talk to your doctor to design the most suitable therapy and treatment period for you. Here are the factors that will determine your treatment plan:
- Your genotype
- Condition of your liver
- Other health complications you have
Your doctor will manage every aspect of your treatment, from testing out your blood to monitoring if the virus is eliminated. Approximately 12 weeks after you finish the treatment, you’ll undergo a retest to determine if the virus is still undetectable. Once the virus is completely gone, it’s called sustained virologic response – the treatment. Almost every patient will remain virus-free forever. If the virus is still detectable, your doctor will recommend another treatment session or wait for the latest meds to come out.
Cure for chronic hepatitis C, specifically those that have acquired the virus for 6 months or more, includes:
- A test to determine if there are any damages in your liver
- Lifestyle changes, including the food you consume, to stop more damage
- Pills to combat the virus
Generally, there are 6 major strains of the virus. The most popular are type 1 and type 3. It is possible to acquire more than 1 type. Typically, you’ll be given the medicine that’s most suitable for your hepatitis C genotype. When undergoing treatment, your blood will be tested to find out if your meds are taking effect. If it doesn’t, you’ll be recommended to try out a different medicine. Besides this, your doctor will also check your liver scarring, using either fibroscan or blood test.
Before the completion of your treatment, you’ll undergo a blood test to trace if the meds got rid of the virus. If there are zero signs of the virus, consider yourself cured.