Frequently Asked Questions About Hepatitis C

FAQs

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  • One of the reasons hepatitis C is a potentially damaging illness is that an infected person may not feel the symptoms until much later — in some cases, patients do not feel any symptoms at all
  • Remember that there is no safe level of alcohol if you have hepatitis C, so avoid all alcoholic drinks, including red wine, if you have this illness

Q: How do you know if you have hepatitis C?

A: One of the reasons hepatitis C is a potentially damaging illness is that an infected person may not feel the symptoms until much later — in some cases, patients do not feel any symptoms at all. If they do manifest, the symptoms of hepatitis C are usually similar to that of other diseases, and may include high fever, fatigue, abdominal pain, loss of appetite and malaise.

Therefore, the best way to confirm if you have hepatitis C is to get yourself tested, especially if you have been exposed to some of the common risk factors (unprotected sex, sharing of needles and getting a tattoo or body piercing are just some examples).

Q: Can you get hepatitis C from saliva?

A: HCV is mainly transmitted through blood-to-blood contact, but may be transmitted through contact with an infected person's saliva or semen as well, although this occurs rarely. Nevertheless, it is not recommended to share personal items like toothbrushes or razors with an HCV-positive individual.1

Q: How contagious is hepatitis C?

A: Hepatitis C is highly contagious. In the U.S., 30,000 cases of acute HCV cases infections are being reported per year. In 2015, it's said that 3.5 million of people in the country are infected.2 Aside from blood-to-blood contact, remember that hepatitis C may also spread through items that have touched the infected person's blood. The virus can live outside the body — and stay infectious — for a certain period of time as well.

Q: What is the life expectancy (prognosis) of hepatitis C patients?

A: The life expectancy for people with chronic HCV depends on how much damage their liver has incurred. If detected and treated immediately, HCV may not cause any long-term effects on a person's liver. But if left untreated, it may lead to liver failure, cirrhosis or liver cancer.3 It usually takes 20 to 30 years for cirrhosis to develop in people with chronic hepatitis C.4

Q: Can hepatitis C kill you?

A: Yes. If left untreated, chronic hepatitis C may lead to severe and life-threatening liver problems. Over 350,000 people die from hepatitis C-related liver diseases each year.5 If you want to learn what hepatitis C does to your body, read this page.

Q: Can alcohol cause hepatitis C?

A: Alcohol cannot directly cause hepatitis C, but it can increase your risk of hepatitis C-related liver problems. Alcohol can severely damage your liver, which can make the organ more vulnerable to the virus. Remember that there is no safe level of alcohol if you have hepatitis C, so avoid all alcoholic drinks, including red wine, if you have this illness. Learn the other types of foods to avoid if you have this disease.

Q: Can you get rid of hepatitis C?

A: In some people, acute hepatitis C infection can typically resolve on its own. There are also conventional treatments and medications for HCV infection; however, remember that not only are these expensive but may pose other side effects as well. Therefore, you should turn to healthy lifestyle strategies and natural remedies as your first line of defense against this illness.

MORE ABOUT HEPATITIS C

Hepatitis C: Introduction

What Is Hepatitis C?

Hepatitis C in Pregnancy

How Do You Get Hepatitis C?

Hepatitis C Duration

Is Hepatitis C Contagious?

Hepatitis C Causes

Hepatitis C Types

Hepatitis C Symptoms

Hepatitis C Treatment

Hepatitis C Prevention

Hepatitis C Diet

Hepatitis C FAQ

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