According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, an estimated 3.2 million persons in the United States have chronic Hepatitis C virus infection. Most people do not know they are infected because they don’t feel or look sick.
Hepatitis C is a contagious liver disease.
How do I get it?
Hepatitis C is contracted through contact with the blood of an infected person. It can be either “acute” — occurring 6 months after someone is exposed, lasting a few weeks — or “chronic” – more series, long-lasting illness that attacks the liver.
What are the symptoms of acute Hepatitis C?
Approximately 70%–80% of people with acute Hepatitis C do not have any symptoms. However, some people have mild to severe symptoms soon after being infected, including
- Loss of appetite
- Abdominal pain
- Dark urine
- Joint pain
- Jaundice (yellow color in the skin or eyes)
What are the symptoms of chronic Hepatitis C?
Most people with chronic Hepatitis C do not have any symptoms. However, if a person has been infected for many years, his or her liver may be damaged. In many cases, there are no symptoms of the disease until liver problems have developed. In persons without symptoms, Hepatitis C is often detected during routine blood tests to measure liver function and liver enzyme (protein produced by the liver) level.
How serious is Chronic Hepatitis C?
Chronic Hepatitis C is a serious disease that can result in long-term health problems, including liver damage, liver failure, liver cancer, or even death. It is the leading cause of cirrhosis and liver cancer and the most common reason for liver transplantation in the United States. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, approximately 15,000 people die every year from Hepatitis C related liver disease.
How soon after exposure to Hepatitis C do symptoms appear?
If symptoms occur, the average time is 6–7 weeks after exposure, but this can range from 2 weeks to 6 months. However, many people infected with the Hepatitis C virus do not develop symptoms.
Can a person spread Hepatitis C without having symptoms?
Yes, even if a person with Hepatitis C has no symptoms, he or she can still spread the virus to others.
How is Acute Hepatitis C treated?
There is no medication available to treat acute Hepatitis C infection. Doctors usually recommend rest, adequate nutrition, and fluids.
How is Chronic Hepatitis C treated?
Each person should discuss treatment options with Dr. Prokupek who specializes in treating hepatitis. People with chronic Hepatitis C will be monitored regularly for signs of liver disease and evaluated for treatment.
Why Dr. Prokupek?
As an award-winning Board Certified Internist and Gastroenterologist Dale Prokupek MD will diagnose and treat your Hepatitis C with over 14 years of experience treating the most complex cases. He understands the need for thorough evaluation, aggressive treatment and close follow up. His state of the art facility has the latest equipment to most accurately diagnose and Hepatitis to, quite literally, save your life.
Dale Prokupek MD has received favorable reviews from patients and has been awarded the Patient’s Choice Award. He is also an Associate Clinical Professor of Medicine at the Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA. In addition to seeing patients at his private practice in Beverly Hills, Dr. Prokupek also sees patients at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center.