Hepatitis C: Get the facts

February 16, 2017

Hepatitis C is a virus that can damage the liver. Here's what you need to know about this infection, iStock-504477658.jpgand how new treatments may hold a cure.

Viral exposure

Hepatitis C begins as an acute infection and causes inflammation in the liver. In some people, it may last just a few weeks before the body fights it off. However, in up to 85 percent of people with acute hepatitis, the illness becomes chronic. That means the virus remains in the body and can last a lifetime.

Over time, and if left untreated, this may lead to problems such as cirrhosis, liver failure or liver cancer.

Hepatitis C is spread through contact with blood. Most people become infected through sharing needles to inject drugs. Before widespread screening began in 1992, many people also became infected through blood transfusions or organ transplants.

Less commonly, the virus can spread through:

 

  • Accidental needle sticks, such as in a health care setting.
  • Sexual contact.
  • Sharing personal items that have come into contact with blood, such as a razor or toothbrush.
  • Childbirth—hepatitis C-infected mothers can infect their babies during the birth process.

 

Hepatitis C often has no symptoms, so a person may be infected for years or decades without knowing it. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, when symptoms are present, they may include:

 

  • Fever.
  • Fatigue.
  • Nausea.
  • Vomiting.
  • Loss of appetite.
  • Abdominal pain.
  • Dark urine.
  • Clay-colored bowel movements.
  • Joint pain.
  • Yellowing of the skin or eyes (jaundice).

 

Treat it—cure it?

There are several medications available to treat hepatitis C.

One of these, Epclusa, was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in 2016 and may actually cure the infection. In a clinical trial, 99 percent of people who took the drug showed no evidence of having the virus in their blood after 12 weeks of treatment.

Talk to your doctor if you think you may need testing for hepatitis C or to find out which treatment regimen may be best for you.

  • MyHealthy Decisions | Total Ankle Replacement

    Jim Lambert loves to take long walks with his wife, but when pain from an old ankle injury made walking difficult, he started to look at surgical options. Jim's wife showed him an article in MyHealthy Decisions Magazine about the total ankle replacement surgeries that Bassett was doing, and he reread more

    MyHealthy Decisions | Robotic-Assisted Partial Knee Replacement

    James Flannery, of Oneonta, NY, was experiencing knee pain that was holding him back from work and doing the things he loves. After consultation with Dr. Michael Diaz, James opted for robotic-assisted partial knee replacement surgery using A.O. Fox Hospital's state-of-the-art NAVIO system. Watch read more

  • Free Senior Resource Fair at Bassett Medical Center Cooperstown, NY

    October 17, 2017

    Cooperstown, NY – The needs of seniors in Otsego County are significant, and yet help can sometimes be difficult to access easily in this largely rural county. For that reason, Bassett Medical Center is again holding a Senior Resource Fair Friday, Oct. 2read more

    Fifth Annual Bassett Cupola 5K Wrap-Up

    October 16, 2017

    On Saturday, Oct. 7, 142 runners and walkers participated in the fifth annual Bassett Cupola 5K, which,  this year, supports the Fieldstone Assistance Fund.

    Dawn Helstrom, a dental hygienist at School-Based Health and Fox Nursing Home, was one of the participants.  Helstrom decided to wread more

One Atwell Road Cooperstown, NY 13326

607-547-3456 : 1-800-BASSETT (227-7388)