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Chronic/Pain Conditions  >>    Hepatitis C

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In this video, Dr. Huntoon discusses the 4 Causes of ALL Health Concerns and what you need to know about Hepatitis C.

The treatment for Hep C only costs about $ 100 K and requires taking a very expensive medication for at least 1 year.

Consider what we can offer you before going that path and having to pay a huge co-pay for their "solution."

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Address Hepatitis C  Click Here

Hepatitis C

If you’re a baby boomer, getting tested for hepatitis C would be a wise decision because boomers are five times more likely to have this virus than other generations, and most people that have it don’t realize it. Those that are infected are at very high risk of eventually developing liver cancer, cirrhosis or other fatal liver diseases. Here’s what else you should know.

Non-A hepatitis; Non-B hepatitis Hepatitis C is a viral disease that leads to swelling (inflammation) of the liver.

Symptoms

Most people who were recently infected with hepatitis C do not have symptoms. About 1 in 10 have yellowing of the skin (jaundice) that gets better.

Of people who get infected with hepatitis C, most develop a long-term (chronic) infection. Usually there are no symptoms. If the infection has been present for many years, the liver may be permanently scarred. This is called cirrhosis. In many cases, there may be no symptoms of the disease until cirrhosis has developed.

The following symptoms could occur with hepatitis C infection:

  • Abdominal pain (right upper abdomen)
  • Abdominal swelling (due to fluid called ascites)
  • Clay-colored or pale stools
  • Dark urine
  • Fatigue
  • Fever
  • Itching
  • Jaundice
  • Loss of appetite
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
Causes

Hepatitis C infection is caused by the hepatitis C virus (HCV). People who may be at risk for hepatitis C are those who:

  • Have been on long-term kidney dialysis
  • Have regular contact with blood at work (for instance, as a health care worker)
  • Have unprotected sexual contact with a person who has hepatitis C (this risk is much less common than hepatitis B, but the risk is higher for those
            who have many sex partners, already have a sexually transmitted disease, or are infected with HIV)
  • Inject street drugs or share a needle with someone who has hepatitis C Received a blood transfusion before July 1992 Received a tattoo or
            acupuncture with contaminated instruments (the risk is very low with licensed, commercial tattoo facilities)
  • Received blood, blood products, or solid organs from a donor who has hepatitis C
  • Share personal items such as toothbrushes and razors with someone who has hepatitis C (less common)
  • Were born to a hepatitis C-infected mother (this occurs in about 1 out of 20 babies born to mothers with HCV, which is much less common than with
            hepatitis B)

Traditional Medical Treatment Options and Diagnosis

The Medical Perspective

Many patients with hepatitis C benefit from treatment with medications. The most common medications are a combination of pegylated interferon alfa and ribavirin, an antiviral medication.

Most patients receive weekly injections of pegylated interferon alfa.
Ribavirin is a capsule taken twice daily. Ribavirin can cause birth defects. Women should avoid getting pregnant during, and for 6 months after treatment.
Treatment is given for 24 - 48 weeks.
Telaprevir and boceprevir are newer drugs which may be used for patients with genotype 1.

These medications have a number of side effects, and patients must be watched closely. See: Cirrhosis for information about treating more severe liver damage caused by hepatitis C.

Patients who develop cirrhosis or liver cancer may be candidates for a liver transplant. People with hepatitis C should also:

Be careful not to take vitamins, nutritional supplements, or new over-the-counter medications without first discussing it with their health care provider.
Avoid any substances that are toxic to the liver, including alcohol. Even moderate amounts of alcohol speed up the progression of hepatitis C, and alcohol reduces the effectiveness of treatment.
Get vaccinated against hepatitis A and B.

Signs and tests

Blood tests are done to check for hepatitis C:

  • EIA assay to detect hepatitis C antibody
  • Hepatitis C RNA assays to measure virus levels (viral load)

Genetic testing is done to check for the hepatitis C genotype. Six genotypes exist. Test results can help your doctor better choose your treatment.

  •  Most Americans have genotype 1 infection, which is the hardest to treat.
  • Genotypes 2 and 3 are also common, and respond better to treatment.

 

The following tests are done to identify and monitor liver damage from hepatitis C:

  • Albumin level
  • Liver function tests
  • Prothrombin time

Liver biopsy can show how much damage has been done to the liver.

If you’re between ages 47 to 67, or have one of the previously listed risk factors, you should see your primary care doctor for a basic blood test to determine whether you have ever been infected with hepatitis C. This is a relatively inexpensive test and typically covered by health insurance under routine medical care. If you’re not covered, the test will run $30 to $35.

If the test is negative, no further tests are needed. But, if the test is positive, you’ll need another test called HCV RNA, which will show whether the virus is still active. This test runs between $100 and $250 if you’re not covered by insurance.

If you test positive, you have chronic hepatitis C and will need to talk to your doctor about treatment options. If you’re infected, but have no liver damage, your doctor should monitor your liver at your annual physical.

Treatment

The goals of HCV treatment are to remove the virus from the blood and reduce the risk of cirrhosis and liver cancer that can result from long-term HCV infection.

Dr. Huntoon's Alternative Medical Treatment Options

My Comments and Recommendations

I understand the need for being cautious. I also know the industry. And if they can have everyone who is between the ages of 47 and 67 come in and pay $ 30 - 35 for the first test and $100 - 250 for the second test, that is between $130 - 285 for every person who is between the ages of 47 and 67. That is a big chunk of change just to "test" for it. That has nothing to do with the treatment that will be recommended, the antiviral medications that have a 75 % "cure" rate will need to be taken for 24 - 48 week time period. What is the cost for that? About $2000.00 a week for the prescription. And perhaps your insurance company will pick up a portion of the testing, so you won't have to pay for all of it. But at what cost to you for going on a "witch hunt?" Roughly $40,000 - 50,000.00. You can decide if that is what you think you should do, OR consider the following:

Working with your Holistic Chiropractor who can advise you if you have Hepatitis C and then treat the condition to resolution for perhaps $200.00 total is a much more viable and cost effective form of treatment. And doing it without all the harsh medications that will create more stress on your liver is important to consider. The potential for side effects with these new treatments and any medication is important to fully understand before beginning any medical treatment and medication. Discussing this specifically with your Medical Doctor or Pharmacist is prudent. Understanding if you truly have Hepatitis C and what can be done to "cure" the condition is a smart thing to find out. But at the cost the "Authorities" are proposing, I say consider the lesser of the two and start conservatively first. You can always do what they want you to do if the conservative care doesn't fix the concern.

Medicines Two Choices for You

What to discuss with your doctor

Calling your health care provider

Call your healthcare provider if:

CDC Recommendations

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently announced that all Americans born from 1945 through 1965 get a hepatitis C test. The reason is because baby boomers account for 75 percent of the 3 million or so hepatitis C cases in the U.S., even though they make up only 27 percent of the total population.

Most hepatitis C infections occurred in the 1970s and 1980s, before there were tests to detect them and before the nation’s blood supply was routinely screened for the virus. Hepatitis C is transmitted only through blood, so anyone who received either a blood transfusion or an organ transplant prior to 1992 is at increased risk. So are health-care workers exposed to blood, and people who injected drugs through shared needles. The virus can also be spread through microscopic amounts of infected blood that could occur during sex, from sharing a razor or toothbrush, or getting a tattoo or body piercing at an unsterile shop.

But the biggest part of the problem is the symptomless nature of this disease. Most people that have hepatitis C don’t have any symptoms until their liver becomes severely damaged. It can actually take 30 years for people to show any signs of the virus, but by then, it may be too late to treat. But if it’s detected in time, new treatments are now available that can cure it.

The main treatments for chronic hepatitis C today are new antiviral medications that have a 75 percent cure rate. Your doctor may recommend a combination of these medications that are typically taken over a 24- to 48-week time period. But, be aware that the side effects can be grueling and may cause extreme fatigue, fever, headaches and muscle aches.

Unfortunately, there is no vaccine currently available to prevent hepatitis C, although studies are underway to develop one.

Savvy tips: For more information about testing and treatment for hepatitis C, along with a quick, online quiz you can take to determine your risks, see the CDC’s website at cdc.gov/knowmorehepatitis. You can also get information over the phone by calling the national toll-free HELP-4-HEP helpline at 877-435-7443.

Prevention and Quick Tips

Support Groups

You can often ease the stress of illness by joining a support group of people who share common experiences and problems.

Expectations (prognosis)

Most people with hepatitis C infection have the chronic form. Patients with genotypes 2 or 3 are more likely to respond to treatment than patients with genotype 1. Newer drugs may improve the response of those with genotype 1.

Many doctors use the term "sustained virologic response" rather than "cure" when the virus is removed from the blood, because it is not known whether this will last a person's entire life. Even if treatment does not remove the virus, it can reduce the chance of severe liver disease.

Hepatitis C is one of the most common causes of chronic liver disease in the United States today.

People with this condition may have:

  •  Cirrhosis of the liver
  • Liver cancer (also called hepatocellular cancer) -- may develop in a small number of people with liver cirrhosis

Hepatitis C usually comes back after a liver transplant, which can lead to cirrhosis of the new liver.

Prevention

Avoid contact with blood or blood products whenever possible. Health care workers should follow precautions when handling blood and bodily fluids. Do not inject illicit drugs, and especially do not share needles with anyone. Be careful when getting tattoos and body piercings.

Sexual transmission is very low among stable, monogamous couples. A partner should be screened for hepatitis C. If the partner is negative, the current recommendations are to make no changes in sexual practices.

People who have sex outside of a monogamous relationship should practice safer sex behaviors to avoid hepatitis C as well as sexually transmitted diseases, including HIV and hepatitis B.

Currently there is no vaccine for hepatitis C.

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