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Treatments Available for Hepatitis C

There are at least 150 million people around the world who have hepatitis C, an infectious disease which was only confirmed back in 1989. Most cases of hepatitis C have been linked to the sharing of needles for illicit drugs, however this disease can be transmitted through any form of direct contact with contaminated blood. With the latest reports surrounding HCV, more people should be aware of the risks of hepatitis C

Since hepatitis C often produces little or no noticeable symptoms, there are many people who have this infection and are completely unaware of it. In fact, the CDC just asked the entire baby boomer generation to get tested for hepatitis C last year for this reason. This disease becomes much more deadly when there is any liver involvement. If you do develop a chronic hepatitis C infection, then there are a few treatment options that you should be aware of.

Hepatitis C Medications

Many cases of hepatitis C are often treated with antiviral medications which will work to clear the hepatitis C virus (HCV) from the patient’s body. Depending on how severe the infection is, doctors may recommend a combination of antiviral medications which will be taken over the course of several years. Once the patient has completed their treatment, their blood will be tested for levels of HCV. If there still seems to be a significant level of disease activity, then a second course of treatment may be applied. However, these medications can cause significant adverse effects such as depression and some flu-like symptoms (fever, fatigue, nausea,etc.).

Liver Transplants

If at the time when hepatitis C is diagnosed, the patient has already developed severe liver scarring or cirrhosis, then they may need a liver transplant in order to survive. Hepatitis C is actually the leading cause of liver transplants in the United States. Unfortunately, receiving a healthy new liver does not mean that hepatitis C has been cured. Following a transplant, patients will need to go in for routine screenings to be sure that their is not a recurrence of the infection. In some cases, they may also need to undergo another course of treatment with antiviral medications.

Milk Thistle

Milk thistle is an herb which can help bolster the health of the liver naturally. For this reason, it is often a recommended treatment for people who have experienced jaundice or other liver complications. While clinical studies have yet to test this treatment, milk thistle has become a relatively popular herbal remedy for hepatitis C, especially when there is established liver involvement.

If you have contracted HCV, then you are responsible for taking the necessary steps to ensure that you do not pass on your infection to anyone else. Be sure to avoid sharing needles, razors, or even toothbrushes, and you cannot donate any blood, semen, or organs under any circumstances. Hep C patients should also consider adopting healthier lifestyle habits, as maintaining proper health is essential for treating this infectious disease. Talk to your doctor today to discuss the best course of treatment for hepatitis C.