Hepatitis C is a common viral infection. When left undiagnosed and untreated, hepatitis causes liver damage. But with advances in medical treatments, hepatitis C is curable. At Pineapple Healthcare in Orlando, Florida, Erick Suarez, APRN, and the team specialize in diagnosing and treating infectious diseases like hepatitis C. For comprehensive, accessible, and affordable care, call the office or schedule an appointment online today. Telehealth appointments are available.
Hepatitis C is a disease that causes inflammation of the liver from infection with the hepatitis C virus (HCV). This virus spreads from person -to -person through blood contact.
Sharing needles for drug use, having unprotected sex, and sharing personal items that come in contact with blood are common ways the virus spreads. People with HIV are at greater risk of getting hepatitis C.
Hepatitis C may cause an acute or chronic infection.
Acute hepatitis C is a short-term condition that causes symptoms that last about six months. Your immune system may then kill the virus.
Chronic hepatitis C is a long-term infection that occurs when your body can’t fight off the virus. Most people with hepatitis C have chronic hepatitis C, which . When left untreated, chronic hepatitis C may lead to liver damage, cirrhosis, or liver cancer when left untreated.
If you have acute hepatitis C, you may develop symptoms within 1-3 months of contracting the virus. Symptoms may include:
If you have chronic hepatitis C, you may not have any symptoms until there’s liver damage and may develop several years after your initial infection.
The team at Pineapple Healthcare performs blood tests to diagnose hepatitis C. These tests might include:
The antibody screening test shows if you have the antibodies for hepatitis C. A positive antibody screening means you were exposed to hepatitis C. However, it doesn’t mean you still have the virus.
The Pineapple Healthcare team may perform a hepatitis C RNA test if your antibody screening test is positive. This test determines if the virus is still present in your body.
The genotype test for hepatitis C determines what strain of hepatitis C you have.
They also perform additional tests to assess liver health and damage.
The team at Pineapple Healthcare treats hepatitis C with antiviral medications. In most cases, these antiviral medications cure chronic hepatitis.
Many types of antiviral medications treat hepatitis C. The team determines what medication makes the best choice for you based on genotype, the extent of liver damage, and other hepatitis C treatments used in the past.
You need to take antiviral medications for 8-24 weeks. The team schedules regular follow-up appointments to recheck your labs and make sure the medication is working.
Call Pineapple Healthcare or schedule your hepatitis C appointment online today.