Peter Hibberd, M.D., is a doctor whose advice is based on more than 28 years of hospital outpatient and inpatient experience. He is an experienced emergency medicine physician, surgeon, and consultant. Dr. Hibberd is certified by the American Board of Emergency Medicine. He is also a fellow and active member of the American Academy of Family Physicians, an active member of the American College of Emergency Physicians, and a member and fellow of the American Academy of Emergency Medicine. Dr. Hibberd has earned numerous national and international professional certifications, memberships, and awards.
Tags: hepatitis | C | treatment | prognosis | liver

My Daughter Has Hepatitis C

Tuesday, 22 May 2012 10:11 AM

Question: My daughter recently was diagnosed with hepatitis C after donating blood. She is only in her 20s and seems perfectly healthy. What does the future hold for her?

Dr. Hibberd's answer:
Hepatitis C is an infection caused by a virus that attacks the liver and leads to inflammation. Hepatitis C is one of several hepatitis viruses and is generally considered to be among the most serious of these viruses.
Most people infected with the hepatitis C virus (HCV) have no symptoms at first. In fact, most people don't know they have the hepatitis C infection until liver damage shows up decades later during routine medical tests. Hepatitis C is passed through contact with contaminated blood — most commonly through needles shared during illegal drug use.
Improved blood-screening tests became available in 1992. Before that year, it was possible to unknowingly contract hepatitis C through a blood transfusion. A small number of babies born to mothers with hepatitis C acquire the infection during childbirth. There is also a slim chance that she may transmit HCV sexually to her partner.
Long term complications that occur with HCV are: after 20 to 30 years, cirrhosis may occur that scars the liver and makes it difficult for it to function normally, and could lead to liver failure. A small percentage of persons are known to have also developed liver cancer.
Treatment for hepatitis C isn't always necessary. If she has only slight liver abnormalities, she may not need treatment, because her risk of future liver problems is very low. Her doctor may recommend follow-up blood tests to monitor for liver problems. Antiviral medications can clear the virus from the body. Her doctor may recommend a combination of medications taken over several weeks.
Once a course of treatment is completed, a blood test can reveal if HCV is still present, then her doctor may recommend a second round of treatment.
She can take the following precautionary measures: avoid alcohol, avoid medications that cause liver damage, eat a balanced diet and exercise regularly, do not donate blood, and have regular checkups with her doctor.

© HealthDay

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Hepatitis C can go undetected for years and sometimes does not require any treatment.
Tuesday, 22 May 2012 10:11 AM
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