Hep C Treatment

If you are looking for quality, affordable hep C treatment in Sacramento, our team of highly-experienced, compassionate professionals looks forward to partnering with you. We want to help you live a healthy and productive life by focusing on your unique needs, regardless of your ability to pay.

When you visit one of our health centers, we want you to feel comfortable and to be a partner in your care.

Our team of medical specialists—including physicians, nurse practitioners, physician assistants, dentists, psychiatrists, behavioral health therapists, substance abuse counselors, clinical pharmacists, and nutritionists—want to help you make life choices that will lead to your improved health. We offer a full range of services to meet all your healthcare needs.

Hep C Treatment in Sacramento

What is Hepatitis C? 

Hepatitis C is a viral infection spread through contaminated blood. It causes liver inflammation and potentially serious liver damage. The good news is that chronic Hepatitis C virus (HCV) is usually curable with oral medications taken every day for two to six months. However, about half of people with HCV are unaware that they are infected, as symptoms can sometimes take years or decades to show up. 

Who is at risk for developing hepatitis C?

  • People born between 1945 and 1965—this age group is 5 times more likely than any other age group to be infected with HCV
  • Healthcare workers who have been exposed to infected blood through a needle stick
  • People who have injected or inhaled illicit drugs at any point in their life
  • Those who have a piercing or tattoo where unsterile equipment was used
  • People who received a blood transfusion or organ transplant before 1992
  • People who are infected with HIV
  • Those who received clotting factor concentrates before 1987
  • Anyone who has received hemodialysis treatments over an extended period of time
  • People born to a mother with the hepatitis C virus
  • Anyone who has ever been in prison

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends a one-time screening blood test for everyone at increased risk of the infection.

How is it diagnosed?

Hepatitis C is diagnosed with a simple blood test. Additional blood tests can measure how much of the virus is in your blood (viral load), the specific genotype of the virus, and the extent of the damage to your liver. 

Acute vs. chronic hepatitis C

  • Every hepatitis C infection starts with an acute phase, whether or not it develops into the chronic phase. Acute hepatitis C is the early stage, when you’ve had hepatitis for less than six months. In studies of people diagnosed with acute HCV, rates of spontaneous viral clearance vary from 15% to 25%, meaning it doesn’t develop into the chronic phase. 
  • Chronic hepatitis C is the long-term form, which means you’ve had the condition for at least six months. Up to 85 percent of people who have hepatitis C will eventually develop the chronic form of the disease. 
  • Acute hepatitis C rarely causes symptoms so it often remains undiagnosed. If there are signs and symptoms in the acute phase, they generally include jaundice, fatigue, nausea, vomiting, fever and muscle aches. Acute symptoms appear one to three months after exposure to the virus and last two weeks to six months. 

Signs and symptoms of chronic hepatitis C

  • Fatigue
  • Sore or achy muscles
  • Joint pain
  • Fever
  • Nausea
  • Poor appetite
  • Weight loss
  • Stomach pain
  • Itchy skin
  • Dark urine
  • Leg swelling
  • Jaundice. A yellow discoloration of the skin and the whites of the eyes
  • Increased bleeding and bruising.
  • Ascites. A buildup of fluid in the abdomen.
  • Spider angiomas. Spider-like blood vessels on the skin.
  • Hepatic encephalopathy. A serious condition that can develop in advanced stages of hepatitis C. It leads to brain dysfunction caused by a buildup of toxins that the liver is unable to remove from the blood.

Complications

  • Cirrhosis. Scarring of the liver that may occur after decades of having the infection. 
  • Liver failure. Advanced cirrhosis may cause your liver to stop functioning.
  • Liver cancer. A small percentage of people with hepatitis C infection develop liver cancer.

Treatment 

  • Antiviral medications. Antiviral drugs can cure more than 90 percent of people with chronic hepatitis C after 12 weeks of treatment. Although acute hepatitis C generally does not require treatment, if necessary, this phase responds well to antiviral medications as well. 
  • Liver transplant. This may be necessary if severe complications have occurred from chronic hepatitis C. This alone does not cure the infection, as it commonly recurs after transplantation—but in conjunction with antiviral medications, it can be curative. 
  • Lifestyle changes. It’s important to stop drinking alcohol and discontinue any medications or supplements that may cause liver damage. 

Prevention

Hepatitis C can be prevented by:

  • Avoiding illicit, injected drugs and seeking help if you use them. 
  • Choosing reputable piercing and tattoo shops that use sterile equipment. 
  • Practicing safe sex. 

Hep C Treatment in Sacramento

If you are looking for quality, affordable hep C treatment in Sacramento, our team of highly-experienced, compassionate professionals looks forward to partnering with you. We want to help you live a healthy and productive life by focusing on your unique needs, regardless of your ability to pay. We accept walk-ins, or you can make an appointment by calling 916-443-3299.

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