Hepatitis C

About Hepatitis C

Hepatitis C (HCV) is a viral disease that leads to swelling or inflammation of the liver. The disease is spread primarily through contact with the blood of an infected person. A minority of people have symptoms during the early acute phase of the infection, which usually develops 5-12 weeks after exposure to HCV.

80% of patients infected with hepatitis C do not have symptoms. In those who do, symptoms may not appear for over 10 years, and even then appear fleeting or can easily be confused with symptoms of other less serious illnesses.

Symptoms

Nausea/Vomiting

Diarrhea

Loss of appetite

Fatigue

Pain over the liver (on the right side of the abdomen, just under the rib cage)

Jaundice

Dark-colored urine

Pale colored stools

Diagnosis

To diagnose hepatitis C your physician will perform blood tests. To determine the extent of liver damage your physician will perform additional blood tests and will sometimes perform a liver biopsy.

Treatment

The goals of hepatitis C treatment are to remove the virus from the bloodstream and to reduce the risk of liver cancer and cirrhosis of the liver that can sometimes result from prolonged exposure of the HCV infection. Many patients will benefit from treatment with prescription medications. Once diagnosed, you and your physician will decide on a treatment plan that works with you and your individual situation.

Hepatitis C Care Management

The Hepatitis C Clinic is a partnership between the board certified physicians of gastroenterology and the nurse practitioners at Digestive Health Specialists to give the best possible care to our patients with hepatitis C. Whether you are seeking treatment for your hepatitis C or just want to learn more about your disease condition, the Hepatitis C Clinic gives you the knowledge necessary to help yourself toward wellness.

Specifically, we teach about the virus, life expectancy with hepatitis C, preventing further transmission to others, the best treatments and their side effects. We also teach people ways to decrease the side effects of therapy. The treatment program follows the current standards of care in the treatment of the hepatitis C virus but is always updated to improve care, as new effective therapies become available.

But, most importantly, our team of nurses and physicians are readily available to help you.