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Hepatitis C: The Silent Epidemic

According to the World Healthy Organization (WHO), there are 130-150 million people around the world who are currently suffering from hepatitis C.

Hepatitis C is a serious viral disease that can lead to inflammation in your liver. Hepatitis is spread when the blood of an infected person enters the body of someone who is not infected. Today, this usually happens when needles, syringes, razors, toothbrushes, or other medical equipment is shared. Hepatitis can also be spread if a mother who has hepatitis C gives birth, through sexual intercourse, and via blood transfusions.

What are the symptoms associated with hepatitis C?

Symptoms can vary from person to person; oftentimes a person shows no warning signs. However, if you have yellowing of the skin or eyes, stomach pain, a loss appetite, nausea, dark urine, or if you're fatigued, you might want to ask your doctor to be tested.

What are the best tests to diagnose hepatitis C?

A few years ago, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) urged those who were born from 1945-1965 to get tested. This is because baby boomers are five times more likely than other adults to be infected. In fact, according to the CDC's website, 75 percent of adults with hepatitis C were born between these years.

Since hepatitis C can cause few symptoms -- and those symptoms often mimic other illnesses -- getting a proper diagnosis can be difficult; which in turn causes a silent epidemic among its victims. Early detection is the only way to prevent the spreading and to help cure those who are infected.

If you want to be tested, ask your doctor for the hepatitis C virus (HCV) antibody test. This will allow your doctor to see if you test positive for hepatitis C and if there needs to be any treatments involved.

What else do you need to know about hepatitis C?

Dr. Mike will discuss what hepatitis C is, the best tests for diagnosing the infection, and what your options are should you test positive.