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Pivotal time for chronic hepatitis C treatment

An estimated 2.7-3.9 million people in the US are chronically infected with hepatitis C.*  Patients are often diagnosed incidentally, when they donate blood, get life insurance or get a routine physical exam with blood tests showing normal or abnormal liver enzymes.  They may have been diagnosed many years ago with non-A, non-B hepatitis, but forgot about it, never followed up, or did not mention it to their regular health care provider.  In 2012, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) issued additional recommendations to start screening “Baby Boomers,” those born between 1945-1965.  Though Baby Boomers account for 3.25% of the US population, they account for 3/4 of the hepatitis C infections.*

Patients may have seen a health care provider in the past and told that there is no treatment, that treatments were not effective, or not worthwhile due to side effects.  Patients have been reluctant to seek treatment because they have heard about the terrible side effects associated with treatment, including flu-like symptoms, fatigue, depression, muscle aches, rashes, etc, lasting up to a year. 

However, this is a pivotal time for hepatitis C patients because treatment has improved by leaps and bounds.  In late 2013, two ...

What you should know about Hepatitis B or C on World Hepatitis Day

Break out the champagne and streamers—it’s World Hepatitis Day! Okay, so it might not sound like much of party, but if you are one of the millions of people with viral Hepatitis there is no reason to be a wallflower.

Over 500 million people around the world are infected with either Hepatitis B or C, the two most common forms of chronic viral Hepatitis. Both Hepatitis B and C are viruses that can cause chronic inflammation in the liver. Over the course of years this can lead to scarring in the liver and ultimately cirrhosis—severe scarring and fibrosis of the liver where liver function can be comprised. Additionally, these chronic viruses, particularly Hepatitis B, can increase the risk of developing a primary cancer of the liver called hepatocellular cancer. The liver, unlike, say, the appendix, is a vital organ that—among other functions—stores and helps process nutrients, detoxifies and filters blood, and produces blood coagulants. In short, the liver is vital to life and a failing liver absent a liver transplant means trouble.

The best first step to combating these viruses is awareness. It is important to know the risk factors for these viruses and get tested if you are at risk. Hepatitis B and C differ somewhat in risk factors and transmission. With an estimated 350 million people worldwide who are carriers (most commonly in Asia and Africa), chronic Hepatitis B is the most common chronic virus of the liver. It is most often transmitted by birth or through blood-borne or sexual contact. Hepatitis B is not transmitted through ....

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