It's estimated that people in the United States are living with a chronic hepatitis C infection, with 17,000 new hep C cases each year. Moreover, as many as 75% of those with chronic hepatitis C don't know that they're infected.
The hepatitis C virus (HCV) primarily attacks the liver, and from the initial infection to the final stage, it can take years for symptoms to manifest—if they do at all. This is why it's often called a 'silent' infection, as it can cause severe liver damage without the individual even realizing it.
However, this doesn't mean that there's nothing you can do about it; in fact, early detection and treatment can help prevent serious complications and improve long-term outcomes. In fact, with advancements in medical treatments, hep C is now curable.
At HepCMyWay, we strive to make testing and treatment for hep C accessible through our online platform. In this blog post, we'll be your guide as we journey through the stages of hepatitis C infection, from the moment of contact to the last day of treatment. Each step of the way, we'll provide you with the information, resources, and support you need to navigate your hep C journey with confidence.
- Sharing of needles or other equipment for injecting drugs.
- Being born to a mother with hepatitis C.
- Unprotected sex with an infected person.
- Poor tattooing and body piercing practices.
The risk of exposure is higher for certain groups of people. Those who use injection drugs, received a blood transfusion or organ transplant before July 1992, or have been on long-term hemodialysis treatments are at a higher risk. Healthcare workers are also at higher risk due to potential exposure to infected blood.
Being aware of these risk factors can help you make more informed decisions about your health. If you fall into any of the above groups or believe you may have been exposed to the virus, it's important to get tested regularly. Early detection can help prevent further transmission and allow for timely treatment.
Acute Hepatitis C
Acute hepatitis C refers to the initial phase that occurs after you've been exposed to the hep C virus. During this stage, the virus starts to multiply and establish a presence in your body, which can last for up to six months.
Early symptoms of hep C are usually mild and non-specific, often resembling a bout of the flu. These might include fatigue, loss of appetite, joint pain, fever, or nausea. In some cases, individuals might notice darker urine or jaundice, a yellowing of the skin and eyes.
However, it's important to note that many people might not experience any symptoms of hep C during this first phase. This is why regular testing for those at risk is critical.
of people are able to clear a hepatitis C virus infection from their bodies without treatment during the first six months. This is known as spontaneous viral clearance and can occur due to a person's natural immune response. For the remaining 70%, the acute infection will continue to persist in their body, developing into a chronic infection.
Chronic Hepatitis C
Chronic hepatitis C is a longer phase that can last for several years and, unfortunately, often goes unnoticed due to the lack of overt symptoms. Chronic hepatitis C primarily affects the liver, leading to progressive liver disease, which can range from mild inflammation to severe scarring, known as cirrhosis.
Your liver's job is to filter out harmful substances, detoxifying them for removal from your body. However, when the hepatitis C virus invades and replicates in the liver, it can damage its cells and interfere with proper functioning. Your liver can repair most of this damage, but as the virus continues to attack, it can lead to scar tissue forming, which can hinder liver function and eventually result in cirrhosis.
It's important to note that people with chronic hepatitis C may not experience symptoms until significant liver damage occurs. Symptoms might include fatigue, appetite loss, weight loss, abdominal pain, and yellowing of the skin or eyes.
Over time, cirrhosis of the liver puts you at a higher risk for complications, including liver failure and liver cancer. Liver failure occurs when your liver has sustained extensive damage and can no longer function properly. It's like the city’s infrastructure has deteriorated to a point where it can't provide essential services. Liver cancer, on the other hand, can develop when the constant cycle of damage and repair leads to errors in the cell's DNA, causing them to grow out of control.
But it's not all bad news. With today's medical advancements, new medications are able to cure chronic hepatitis C before the disease causes severe liver disease or other complications.
HepCMyWay: Your Partner in Hep C Treatment
At HepCMyWay, we're on a mission to bridge the gap between hepatitis C treatment and those who need it the most. We understand that the journey towards healing can often seem overwhelming and complicated, which is why we are dedicated to simplifying the process, making it more accessible and patient-friendly.
Powered by , a leading provider of comprehensive healthcare for vulnerable groups, we are committed to providing personalized care and support every step of the way. Like other initiatives from Central Outreach, our services come at little to no cost to you, regardless of your insurance status.
Our program is designed to provide you with all the necessary tools, from conducting initial blood tests to prescribing the right antiviral medicines, ensuring you receive the most comprehensive care.
Get Started with HepCMyWay
In essence, early detection and timely treatment of hepatitis C can make a huge difference in your health. With the right care and treatment, you can live a full and vibrant life, free from the worries and complications of chronic hepatitis C.
At HepCMyWay, we pave the way for early diagnosis and personalized treatment plans, walking beside you every step of the way.
Our process is easy as 1, 2, 3:
- Step 1: Fill out our , or if you prefer to talk to someone, give us a call at 866-WE-CURE-HEP-C.
- Step 2: We'll schedule a convenient time for you to get your blood drawn at a lab, or we'll send one of our trained phlebotomists to you. That sample will be sent to the lab for pre-treatment testing.
- Step 3: Once we have your test results, we'll reach out again and with one of our experienced providers to discuss the best course of treatment for you. If you decide to move forward, we'll ship your medications directly to your doorstep!
We believe that everyone deserves access to high-quality treatment and care for hep C. So whether it's your first contact with the virus or you're already in the chronic phase, trust us to be your partner in this journey towards a healthier, hepatitis C-free life.