Hepatitis C is a virus that affects the liver. It can be a short-lived infection, however more often; it is a chronic silent disease that leads to liver failure and sometimes liver cancer after many years.
Your risk of being infected with hepatitis C is increased if you:
- Were born from a mother with the virus
- Received body piercings or tattoos from non-sterile instruments
- Had unprotected sexual contact with multiple partners
- Received blood transfusions, blood products or organ donations before 1992
- Are on long-term hemodialysis treatment
- Work in health care or public safety and were exposed to blood through a needle stick
- Were treated for a blood clotting problem before 1987
- Shared needles, syringes, or other equipment to inject drugs
Baby boomers or people born between the years 1945-1965 are recommended to get tested once, regardless of exposure history or risk. If you were born between these years, please ask your doctor to order this blood test for you.
If you have hepatitis C, a cure can be possible with the appropriate treatments. Recent research has produced new medications that can essentially cure hepatitis C from the blood and liver. These newer medications have few side effects and are usually taken once daily for 8 or 12 weeks for most uncomplicated hepatitis C infections.
Contact your primary care doctor about how to start the process. Once cured, you are likely to regain improved liver function and reduce the risk of liver failure and liver cancer in the future.
If you have concerns about your risk for hepatitis C or have questions about testing and treatment, please call 718-206-6942 to schedule an appointment with a Family Medicine doctor at Jamaica Hospital Medical Center.
All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.