Hepatitis C is a serious form of hepatitis that can cause significant liver damage. According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC) about 41,000 people in the US have acute hepatitis C and 3.9 million people have a chronic form of the disease. Here are some interesting facts about hepatitis C:
- More people die due to hepatitis C than from AIDS/HIV.
- Transmission of hepatitis C occurs mainly when blood infected with the hepatitis C virus (HCV) enters the blood stream of a noninfected person.
- Those who get tattoos and body piercings with instruments that are not properly sterilized are at high risk.
- Hepatitis C is not considered a sexually transmitted disease, although on rare occasions, transmission through sexual intercourse does occur. Practice safe sex if you or your partner have hepatitis C.
- About 15 to 20% of the people infected with the hepatitis C virus will spontaneously recover without treatment within 6 months. The rest will eventually develop chronic hepatitis C.
- Hepatitis C can result in liver cancer, fibrosis of the liver and liver failure.
- It is estimated that 350,000 to 500,000 people die from HCV-related complications each year.
- About 75% of patients aren’t even aware that they have the disease.
- In case of acute hepatitis C infection, symptoms may include fatigue, poor appetite, fever, nausea, vomiting, musculoskeletal pain, abnormalities in bowel & bladder movements, and yellowing of the skin and eyes.
- Those having chronic hepatitis C may not have any clearly recognizable symptoms for the first 10-20 years after getting infected by the virus.
- There is a cure. About 95% of the HCV patients treated with antiviral therapy are cured.
- Being cured of hepatitis C infection doesn’t give you immunity for life, you can still get the disease again if you do not take adequate precautions.
- About 1 in 30 baby boomers (those born between 1945 and 1965) have been exposed to hepatitis C. If you belong to this age group, it is a good idea to get yourself tested for hepatitis C.
- A simple blood test can confirm whether or not you have hepatitis C.
Greater Houston Gastroenterology is the largest full-service gastroenterology group in the Houston metropolitan area, bringing high quality, cost-effective personalized care to patients from The Woodlands and North Houston to Sugar Land, Richmond, Pearland, and Angleton. Call us today for an appointment!