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Encouraging Facts About Hepatitis C

Encouraging Facts About Hepatitis C

Has hepatitis C affected your life or the life of someone close to you? If so, you may be feeling different emotions, from confusion to concern—all at the same time. 

The good news is that thanks to advances in medical research, significant advances have been made when it comes to diagnosing and treating hepatitis C. At the Rivas Digestive Center in Hollywood, Florida, our board-certified GI and liver specialist, John M. Rivas, MD, has helped countless patients navigate a hepatitis diagnosis. 

Take a moment to learn more about this viral condition and some encouraging facts about the condition.  

Understanding hepatitis C

Hepatitis C is a viral liver infection caused by the hepatitis C virus (HCV). The disease can be acute or chronic, and chronic hepatitis C is often triggered by the acute form.  

It spreads through contact with contaminated blood, most often from sharing needles during drug use or inadequate sterilization of medical equipment. Less commonly, hepatitis C can spread through sexual practices that lead to blood exposure or from mother to baby during childbirth.

Risk factors for hepatitis C include:

Symptoms of hepatitis C vary and don’t usually appear until after the virus has caused significant liver damage. Early-stage symptoms may be mild and flu-like, including fatigue, nausea, muscle pains, and loss of appetite. 

As the virus progresses, more severe symptoms can develop, such as jaundice, severe abdominal pain, and abdominal swelling. Since most people are asymptomatic until this stage, screenings are especially important. 

Good news about hepatitis C

While a cure doesn’t currently exist, there are many reasons to feel encouraged when it comes to hepatitis C. Here’s a look at some reasons to feel optimistic in the treatment, management, and overall outcome of hepatitis C:

Decreasing stigma and increasing support

As more people speak openly about their experiences, the stigma around hepatitis C is starting to disappear. This means there’s a more supportive environment for those affected by the virus as they seek and receive care.

From educational programs to online forums, resources are plentiful, offering both emotional support and practical advice. Your provider at Rivas Digestive Center can put you in touch with the resources you need most. 

Maintaining excellent liver health

Managing the health of your liver can go a long way toward protecting you should you contract hepatitis C. Thanks to scientific advances, we now know more about liver health than ever before.

Your Rivas Digestive Center provider can offer guidance on the best ways to achieve optimal liver health, including regular medical check-ups, eating a balanced diet rich in whole, plant-based foods, avoiding alcohol, and having routine liver function tests. 

Amazing treatment advances

The medical research community has made significant strides in the treatment of hepatitis C, particularly with direct-acting antivirals (DAAs). These drugs directly target the virus’s ability to reproduce, effectively curing the infection in over 90% of cases. 

Treatment duration with DAAs is notably shorter, generally around 12 weeks, and comes with fewer side effects compared to the older therapies, which often lasted a year and had more severe side effects.

Research is still ongoing, meaning even better news is on the horizon. Scientists are making progress in understanding how the virus operates, and the possibility of a new vaccine against hepatitis C, which could prevent the disease altogether, could be around the corner. 

Learn more encouraging facts about hepatitis C by scheduling an appointment online or over the phone at Rivas Digestive Center in Hollywood, Florida.

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