It is estimated that 5 million Americans have been infected with Hepatitis C, and that 75% of them are unaware that they are even at risk.

According to the Mayo Clinic, you are at risk if you have:

  • Been exposed to infected blood
  • Injected illicit drugs
  • Have HIV
  • Received a piercing or tattoo in an unclean environment using unsterile equipment
  • Received a blood transfusion or organ transplant before 1992
  • Received clotting factor concentrates before 1987
  • Received hemodialysis treatments for a long period of time
  • Were born to a woman with a hepatitis C infection

The liver is essential to life. It aids in digestion, energy storage, and the removal of toxins from the body. Hepatitis causes the liver to swell, preventing it from working properly and can lead to scarring or even cancer. It is usually caused by viruses and the varying types of hepatitis are named for the virus that caused it. Some go away on their own, but others must be treated with medication.

In its initial stages the symptoms of hepatitis can produce flu-like symptoms, like any other virus. Other symptoms include:

  • Stomach pain
  • Diarrhea
  • Loss of appetite
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Dark-colored urine and pale bowel movements
  • Jaundice, yellowing of skin and eyes

All 3 kinds of hepatitis (A, B & C) are contagious, so talk to your Asheville Gastroenterology Associates about testing and how to avoid spreading the virus.