Can Hepatitis C Kill You?

Find out Can Hepatitis C Kill You Below

can hepatitis c kill you

For those who have contracted hepatitis C, a common question is can hepatitis C kill you? The short answer is yes.

Hepatitis C, is one of the most deadliest viral infections of the liver. According to the CDC, it killed more people in 2013 than HIV and TB combined.

The liver clears the body of toxins, and if the body is unable to clear these toxins, multi-organ damage can occur.

Hepatitis C also increases the risk of liver cancer. Liver cancer is a deadly disease with a 5-year survival rate of 18%.

Can Hepatitis C Be Cured?

Approximately 25% of people clear the virus on their own.

For, those who do not, treatment is available with most cured (cleared of the virus) in 2-3 months.

This article here discusses hepatitis treatment options.

What is Hepatitis C

Hepatitis C is a viral infection that affects the liver, Hepatitis C virus (HCV). It is spread through blood.

The word hepatitis is from  Latin meaning inflammation of the liver.

Hepatitis C is classified into acute and chronic. Acute Hepatitis C occurs within 6 months of contracting the virus.

Chronic Hepatitis C is an infection occurring longer than 6 months and can be lifelong if left untreated.

How is Hepatitis C Transmitted?

Hepatitis C can be transmitted by:

  • Blood Transfusions (Prior to 1992)
  • Organ Transplantation (Prior to 1992)
  • IV Drug Use
  • Intranasal drug use
  • Sexual Contact (rare)
  • Tattoos and Body Piercing via non-sterile
  • Mother to child transmission (rare 2-8%)

Prior to 1992, hepatitis C was commonly contracted through blood transfusions and organ transplantation. With the advent of blood screening, hepatitis C in blood products has essentially been eliminated.

The increase in IV drug use, however, has contributed to an increase in Hepatitis C. Given the deadliness of the disease and the lack of symptoms, it is good practice for healthcare providers to screen for Hepatitis C in people undergoing addiction treatment.

If you are using IV drugs, please use clean needles with each use.

Is Hepatitis C Contagious?

Hepatitis C is contagious and contracted through the bloodstream.

High-risk factors include IV drug use, tattooing and body piercing using non-sterile guns and needles.

Contracting hepatitis C through sexual activity is rare but there are certain factors that increase risk. Having multiple partners, HIV, and rough sex increases your risk of contracting Hepatitis C.

You can touch, kiss, hug, and share utensils with someone with Hepatitis C.

Difference Between Hepatitis A, B, C

All hepatitis infections come from different viruses.

There are several different viral hepatitis (ie. D, F, G) but A, B, C  viruses are the most common in the United States.

Hepatitis A is commonly transmitted through the fecal-oral route, such as eating contaminated food. But, it can be spread through sexual activity. Condoms do not prevent Hepatitis A transmission, however. Therefore, the CDC recommends vaccination for men who have sex with men. IV drug users and those who use drugs non-intravenously are also recommended to receive the vaccine.

Hepatitis A is typically an acute infection and does not become chronic. Adults and children older than 6 years old commonly have symptoms of hepatitis a which includes:

  • Fever
  • Fatigue
  • Loss of appetite
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Clay-colored bowel movements
  • Abdominal pain
  • Dark urine
  • Joint pain
  • Jaundice (yellow skin discoloration and/or eyes)

Hepatitis B is transmitted through the bloodstream. Unlike, Hepatitis C, Hepatitis B is commonly transmitted through sexual activity. The CDC recommends vaccinations for individuals with STDs, people not in long-term monogamous relationships, and sex partners of people with Hepatitis B.

Hepatitis C is also transmitted through the bloodstream. At this time, there is no vaccine for Hepatitis C. Therefore the best way to avoid this disease is to avoid contracting it.

Hepatitis C Symptoms

Hepatitis C is known as a silently deadly, as most people do not know they have the disease. For people who do develop symptoms, symptoms include:

  • Fever
  • Fatigue
  • Loss of appetite
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Clay-colored bowel movements
  • Abdominal pain
  • Dark urine
  • Joint pain
  • Jaundice (yellow skin discoloration and/or eyes)

Hepatitis C Treatment Success Rates

There are several FDA approved medications to treat Hepatitis C with success rates >90%.

For more information contact the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Hepatitis Toll-Free Information Line at 1-888-4 HEPCDC (1-888-443-7232), or visit the CDC website at http://www.cdc.gov/hepatitis/index.htm

 

 

 

 

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