misc image

Our Services / Hepatitis C

misc image

About Hepatitis C

Up to 4.7 million Americans have hepatitis C today. When you’re living with a slow-moving, but potentially life-threatening, disease of this type, you need the expert medical care at Carolina Digestive Health Associates, PA. With 13 locations throughout Charlotte, Belmont, Concord, Davidson, Matthews, Monroe, Huntersville, University, and Pineville, North Carolina, the team can help personalize a treatment plan for you. To schedule your evaluation and treatment, call the office in your area, or click on the provided booking link now.

Hepatitis C Q & A

What is hepatitis C?

Hepatitis C is an infectious viral disease that primarily affects the liver. This disease develops quite slowly, often over decades. Hepatitis C may not cause any symptoms, so many people don’t know they have it. 

Untreated hepatitis C can lead to severe liver damage, liver failure, or cancer over time. 

The news isn’t all bad, however. There are effective hepatitis C treatments available, and more than 90% of cases are curable. 

How is hepatitis C passed?

This hepatitis C virus passes from one person to another through infected blood. This can happen in several ways, including:

  • Shared needles 
  • Body piercing needles
  • Tattoo needles
  • Accidental needle pricks
  • Sexual contact

Decades ago, organ transplants and blood transfusions were likely methods of contracting hepatitis C, but blood screening tests that started in 1992 have lowered that risk significantly. In rare cases, you can also get hepatitis C if you touch or use a household item contaminated with an infected person's blood.

Mothers can pass hepatitis C to their babies during pregnancy or birth. About 4% of babies born to mothers with hepatitis C also develop the disease. 

What are the symptoms of hepatitis C?

In the first stage of hepatitis C, the acute stage, you don’t usually notice any symptoms. If you do experience symptoms, they could include tiredness, nausea, poor appetite, and joint pain. You could also have tenderness in your abdomen and muscle pain. 

If your body can’t fight off the virus during the acute stage, the disease progresses to chronic after six months. In chronic hepatitis C, it’s still rare to have symptoms. But, when you have chronic hepatitis C, the virus attacks the liver to cause inflammation, and eventually, scarring.

As cirrhosis develops, scar tissue replaces healthy liver tissue and permanently damages the liver. You may experience liver failure at that point, and your risk of liver cancer increases.

How is hepatitis C treated?

Hepatitis C is very treatable and usually curable. Medication is the most common approach for both acute and chronic hepatitis. 

In some cases, your body may be able to overcome acute hepatitis on its own, but you may need medication to help you fight off the infection. A liver transplant may be an option for chronic hepatitis C in some cases. 

Hepatitis C treatment is evolving rapidly, and today’s medical advances offer more effective treatment options than ever before. Your doctor at Carolina Digestive Health Associates, PA, can tailor a treatment plan for your specific needs. 

The earlier you receive a diagnosis and start treatment, the better, so call Carolina Digestive Health Associates, PA, or book your appointment online now.