The Hepatologists (Liver Specialists) at Eastern Pennsylvania Gastroenterology and Liver Specialists, Dr. Adam Peyton and Dr. She-Yan Wong. Are highly trained in the diagnosis and treatment of Hepatitis C. Both Drs. Peyton and Wong prescribe the latest treatment options available and are passionate about the eradication of the virus. Treatment is available at both our Allentown and Bethlehem office locations.
What is Hepatitis C?
Hepatitis C is a viral infection that affects the liver, and 75%-80% of the time, it becomes a chronic infection. Approximately 3.2 million people in the United States are living with chronic hepatitis C infection. Most do not experience any symptoms, feel ill, or know they are infected.
Testing is the only way to know if you are infected.
Who Should Get Tested for Hepatitis C?
Testing for Hepatitis C is recommended for certain groups, including people who:
- Were born from 1945-1965
- Received donated blood or organs before 1992
- Have ever injected drugs, even if it was just once or many years ago
- Have certain medical conditions, such as chronic liver disease and HIV or AIDS
- Have abnormal liver tests or liver disease
- Have been exposed to blood from a person who is infected
- Are on hemodialysis
- Are born to a mother who is infected
Why do baby boomers have such a high rate of Hepatitis C?
The reason that baby boomers have high rates of the virus is not completely understood. Most boomers are believed to have become infected in the 1970s & 1980s when rates of Hepatitis C were the highest. Since people with the virus can live for decades without symptoms. Many baby boomers are unknowingly living with an infection they got many years ago.
Hepatitis C is primarily spread through contact with blood from an infected person. Many baby boomers could have gotten infected from contaminated blood and blood products. Before widespread screening of the blood supply in 1992 and universal precautions were adopted. Others may have become infected from injecting drugs, even if only once in the past. Still, many baby boomers do not know how or when they were infected.
How is Hepatitis C Testing Done?
There are several blood tests available to detect the hepatitis C virus (HCV).
What happens if Hepatitis C is left untreated?
Hepatitis C can cause severe liver damage including cirrhosis and liver cancer.
If symptoms are present, what would they be?
Symptoms of the virus include:
- Loss of appetite
- Abdominal pain
- Dark urine
- Clay-colored bowel movements
- Joint pain
- Jaundice (yellow color in the skin or eyes)
Is there a cure for Hepatitis C?
Yes! With the newest, all oral, medication regimens, the cure rate is 97%!
For additional information please visit http://www.cdc.gov/hepatitis/hcv/index.htm.