Treatments Available for Hepatitis C
Hepatitis C is an infectious disease which will primarily affect the liver. In fact, the chronic cases of hepatitis C can cause severe liver scarring (liver cirrhosis), enlarged veins (these are known as varices and they can be fatal) in the patient’s stomach and esophagus, liver failure, and sometimes liver cancer. The disease itself will develop when someone has become infected by the hepatitis C virus (HCV), and it is most often spread via direct contact with contaminated blood. If you have been diagnosed with hepatitis C, you may want to have a look at the full list of hepatitis C clinical trials available on Clinical Trials GPS.
Currently, there are at least 150 million people living with hepatitis C around the world, and incredibly this disease was only scientifically confirmed in 1989. Most people with HCV were infected by using unsterilized needles or through unchecked blood transfusions. While there is still no vaccine which can prevent hepatitis C, scientists and researchers are currently working to develop the first hep C vaccine. However, people must stay aware of the potential risk factors for hepatitis C, as some cases are not diagnosed until years after the initial infection.
That’s right; many people are living with hepatitis C without even realizing that they have this disease. Since the disease is often asymptomatic, it is often diagnosed during routine check-ups or other visits to the doctor. While in most cases, hep C patients will experience some liver involvement, nearly half of them will not develop a chronic infection. If a patient is dealing with chronic hepatitis C, there are a number of treatment options for hepatitis C.
Antiviral Medications for Hep C
Many cases of hepatitis C will be treated with antiviral medications, which have been designed to help flush the virus from the patient’s body. Depending on the individual’s condition, their doctor may choose to prescribe a combination of medications which they will need to take over the course of several weeks. Once this initial course of treatment has been completed, their doctor will check their blood for any presence of HCV. If the virus is still there, then they may choose to start their patient on a second round of hep C treatment.
Now, there have been some reported side effects from taking antiviral medication, so be sure to talk to your doctor if you are experiencing any depression or flu-like symptoms, such as a fever, headaches, or abnormal fatigue while taking this medication. In certain cases, the course of treatment may need to be stopped due to the side effects.
As mentioned earlier, chronic cases of hepatitis C can cause scarring or liver cirrhosis. These patients may require a liver transplant if that is the case (In fact, hepatitis C is the leading cause of liver transplants in the U.S.). Unfortunately, new livers are not always widely available, so this course of treatment is usually reserved for patients who have developed severe cirrhosis of the liver. Another thing to remember is that a successful transplant does not mean that you have been cured of hepatitis C. Many people will experience a recurrence of their infections with their new livers as well. So, most patients will need to continue treatment with antiviral medications following their surgery.
If you are interested in a more holistic approach to treating hepatitis C, then you may want to look into a certain herb known as the milk thistle. This particular herb has become renowned for its ability to promote better liver health, and so it is often recommended for people who are experiencing jaundice or other symptoms of hepatitis C. While clinical trials have yet to prove its worth as a treatment for hepatitis C, milk thistle is worth looking into as a natural remedy for any cases where there is liver involvement.
If you know that you have this infection, then it is imperative that you take precautionary steps in order to not contaminate anyone else. For one thing, you cannot share any razors, needles, or even toothbrushes. It also goes without saying that any hep C patients should not donate any blood, semen, or organs. Maintaining a healthier lifestyle is important too, and this includes eating right, getting enough sleep, and regular exercise. Make an appointment with your doctor to discuss the best course of treatment for your hepatitis C.