In a previous article, we covered the Common Questions About Hepatitis B, including information on symptoms, testing, and treatment. In this article, we will be touching on those same areas as they relate to Hepatitis C (HCV). While both Hepatitis B and Hepatitis C can lead to serious health issues, there are notable differences between them that are worthy of attention.
What is Hepatitis C?
Hepatitis C (HCV) is a virus that affects the liver. The infection can be acute or chronic, depending on the severity and duration of infection. The majority of those infected with Hepatitis C will develop a chronic infection.
How common is Hepatitis C?
Hepatitis C is a global problem, with an estimated 71 million people worldwide being infected. In the United States alone, it is estimated that up to 3.9 million people are living with the virus.
What are the symptoms of Hepatitis C?
People recently infected with Hepatitis C often display only mild symptoms or even no symptoms at all. For this reason, many infected people will not think to get tested and so spread the infection to others without realizing it.
When they do occur, the most common symptoms of Hepatitis C are fatigue and general malaise. Other symptoms can include jaundice, dark urine, clay-colored stool, loss of appetite, nausea, abdominal pain, joint pain, and fever.
Is Hepatitis C dangerous?
Yes. Chronic Hepatitis C can cause serious health problems such as cirrhosis, liver cancer and even death. For this reason, it is important to get tested for the virus as soon as possible if you think you may have been exposed. You can schedule an appointment to begin the testing process at one of our clinics here.
Who is at risk of Hepatitis C?
Anyone can be infected with Hepatitis C, but certain groups are at a higher risk. Below is a list provided by the CDC of those that may be at a higher risk for contracting Hepatitis C and should be tested:
- All adults aged 18 years and older
- All pregnant women during each pregnancy
- People who ever injected drugs and shared needles, syringes, or other drug preparation equipment, including those who injected once or a few times many years ago
- People with HIV
- People who have ever received maintenance hemodialysis
- People with persistently abnormal ALT levels
- People who received clotting factor concentrates produced before 1987
- People who received a transfusion of blood or blood components before July 1992
- People who received an organ transplant before July 1992
- People who were notified that they received blood from a donor who later tested positive for Hepatitis C
- Children born to mothers with Hepatitis C
For those with certain risk factors, such as individuals who use needles or syringes to inject drugs and people undergoing maintenance hemodialysis, testing should be done regularly.
If you’re ready to get tested for Hepatitis C, schedule an appointment at one of our clinics today.
How do I protect myself from Hepatitis C?
The CDC’s recommendation for protection against Hepatitis C is to avoid behaviors that can lead to infection. This includes avoiding contact with infected individuals, not sharing needles or syringes for any reason, and using condoms during sexual activity. Unlike Hepatitis B, there is no vaccine available for Hepatitis C at this time.
What should I do if I think I have Hepatitis C?
If you think you may have been exposed to Hepatitis C, it’s important to get tested. Our clinics offer fast and reliable testing for the virus. We also provide optimal health coaching and support to help those diagnosed with Hepatitis C manage their condition.
How is testing done for Hepatitis C?
RealOptions Obria Medical Clinics has partnered with Quest Diagnostics for lab work, such as that required for Hepatitis C testing. At your first visit with us, we will provide you with the required lab requisition. Once your results are in, we sometimes recommend follow-up testing or further consultation. Our team is happy to assist you with any questions you may have regarding our testing process or about Hepatitis C in general. We are dedicated to providing the resources and support that you need on your journey to health. Please do not hesitate to contact us. We look forward to hearing from you!
How is Hepatitis C treated?
The treatment of Hepatitis C depends on the type and severity of the virus. In most cases, medications are used to reduce symptoms and slow down the progression of the disease. These medications may include antiviral drugs or immunosuppressive drugs that can help boost your immune system and prevent further damage to your liver. Additionally, lifestyle changes such as exercising, changing your diet, and avoiding alcohol can help reduce symptoms and promote overall health.
Does Medi-Cal cover testing and treatment for Hepatitis C?
RealOptions Obria Medical Clinics is a Medi-Cal provider, which means our testing services for Hepatitis C performed by Quest Diagnostics are covered by Medi-cal. If you test positive for the infection, we will refer you to your county health department for any necessary treatment.
Not familiar with Medi-Cal? It is low-cost or no-cost health insurance for those living in California that meet certain eligibility requirements. If you have a Medi-Cal plan, you can get tested at RealOptions for Hepatitis C and other infections, such as STDs/STIs, at low cost or even no cost to you.
If you are unsure if you qualify for Medi-Cal coverage, there are a few simple ways to find out if you are eligible:
- Contact MCAP at (800) 433-2611.
- Call Covered California at (800) 300-1506.
- Apply online at CoveredCA.com. via email with a confirmation or notification for the best available time.
I’m ready to get tested for Hepatitis C. How do I do that?
Don’t wait – make a smart move and book an appointment for testing at one of our clinics today! Or give us a call for more information.
400 30th St #401
Oakland, CA 94609
801 Brewster Ave Unit 21
Redwood City, CA 94063
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San Jose, CA
12 N White Rd
San Jose, CA
33523 Western Ave.
Union City, CA 94857
Medical information provided by the CDC: