What Is Hepatitis C?
Hepatitis C refers to a long-lasting infection that affects the liver and is the most common blood-borne infection in the US. This infection was discovered in 1989 and does not have symptoms most of the times. When symptoms appear, they can be confused with the flu. Acute hepatitis C refers to the first 6 months of the infection. If caught early, it is possible to arrest the infection from progressing to the next stage. After the first 6 months, this infection will progress to the chronic stage which is more serious and can lead to liver cancer, liver failure, and death. According to the CDC, over 2.7 million people have hepatitis C in America.
Hepatitis C Symptoms
Normally, hepatitis C does not have any symptoms. This is the reason why there are many people living with the infection and are not aware. When symptoms of acute hepatitis appear, they include nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, loss of appetite, fatigue and fever. These resemble symptoms of the flu. Other symptoms may include gray colored stool, dark urine, joint pain, and jaundice.
Chronic hepatitis C does not have symptoms for a long time. Symptoms will show after liver damage has occurred and this can be dangerous. Symptoms may include excessive bleeding, weight loss, joint pain, abdominal pain, and other indicators that show the liver is not performing as expected.
How Does One Contract Hepatitis C?
Hepatitis C is transmitted when blood of a person with the virus enters your body. This will mostly occur during sharing of drug injection equipment such as syringes and needles, accidental needle pricks especially in a health care setting, and from a mother to a child during child birth. You can also contract hepatitis C through sexual contact especially if you are HIV positive. You cannot get hepatitis C through mosquito bites.
How Is A Hepatitis C Test Done?
The best test for Hepatitis C is the Enzyme Immunoassay test. This is a blood test that screens for hepatitis C antibodies. All our hepatitis C tests are approved by FDA and are highly accurate and will detect the antibodies within the first 8 to 9 weeks after the infection. This is a simple test that will take a quick few minutes and the results will be emailed to you within 1 or 2 days. In case the results are positive, we will connect you to a specialist who will guide you to your next step and inform you of the available options.
Where Do I Get A Hepatitis C Test?
KnowMyStatus.life has over 4500 testing center around the US and you can get tested in any of them. Some of these locations are open on Saturdays for convenience purposes. You just need to enter your location and you will get a list of hepatitis C testing centers near you. After choosing a location, you can complete the order and the testing process will start. If you have any question, you can contact our specialists and they will guide you through the process.
Is There A Hepatitis C Treatment?
At the acute stage, hepatitis C is treatable. In some cases, the hepatitis C infection can go away on their own for some time. If the infection is diagnosed at the chronic stage, there might be a need for antiviral medication which helps prevent further damage by the virus.
What Happens If Hepatitis Is Not Treated?
Hepatitis C will not display symptoms in most people and the only way to find out if you are infected is through getting tested. When the infection gets to the chronic stage, it can be dangerous. Untreated chronic hepatitis C can lead to cirrhosis, liver cancer, liver failure, and death. Unfortunately, there is no vaccine for hepatitis C like there is for hepatitis A and hepatitis B.
Hepatitis C Prevention
Practicing safe sex with the use of condoms and dental dams can go a long way in preventing Hepatitis C infection. You should also avoid sharing razor blades, toothbrushes, needles, and drug infection equipment.