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You and Your Liver

Amy V. Kindrick, M.D., M.P.H.
Hepatitis is a disease of the:
 Brain
 Heart
 Liver
 Intestines
Hepatitis C Is Caused By:
 A virus
 A bacteria
 A genetic defect
 Alcoholism
Hepatitis C Infects:
 More people than HIV
 The same number of people as
 Fewer people than HIV
Hepatitis C can be life
 True
 False
There is a vaccine for hepatitis C
 True
 False
Hepatitis C can be spread by:
 Contaminated food or water
 Blood transfusions
 Needle sharing
 Tattooing and body piercing
 Direct contact with blood (cuts,
 Touching a person with hepatitis C
 Sexual activity
How many people with hepatitis
C will develop chronic liver
 All
 About 20%
 About 50%
 Between 80% and 90%
Where is My Liver?
Normal Liver
Normal Liver and Gall Bladder
The Liver Purifies Your System
What Is Hepatitis?
• Infection or irritation in the liver
• Causes
– Viruses
– Medications
– Toxins
Is There Only One Kind of
What Is Hepatitis C?
• Caused by a virus in the blood of
people with Hepatitis C
• Damaging to the liver
• Spread by contact with the blood
of an infected person
<1 %
1–2.4 %
2.5–4.9 %
5–10 %
> 10 %
No data available
The Hepatitis C Virus
How Did I Get Hepatitis C?
Groups of People at Risk For
Hepatitis C
• Vets (especially Viet Nam)
• Cesarean section before 1990
• Mother with hepatitis C before delivery
• Unexplained illness in infancy
• Alcoholic
• HIV-infected
• Hepatitis B-infected
• Prison inmates
You Can’t Get Hepatitis C From
• Breast feeding
• Sneezing
• Hugging
• Coughing
• Sharing cups or eating utensils
• Food or water
• Casual contact
How Do I Know If I’m At Risk For
Hepatitis C?
• Ask your health care provider for a test
if you
– Were told that you received blood from a
donor who later tested positive for hep C
– Received a blood transfusion or solid organ
transplant before July 1992
– Received blood products before 1987
– Have ever injected drugs (even once)
– Have abnormal blood tests for liver function
What Are the Symptoms of
Acute Hepatitis C?
• Maybe none
• Some or all of the following
– Headache
– Nausea
– Vomiting
– Abdominal pain
– Jaundice
– Weakness and fatigue
– Gray stool
– Dark urine
What Are the Symptoms of
Chronic Hepatitis C?
• Often none
• Fatigue
• Cirrhosis
– Weight loss
– Jaundice
– Swollen legs and abdomen
– Nausea and vomiting
Healthy Liver
Liver with Cirrhosis
What Happens If I Get Cirrhosis?
Esophageal Varices
Hepatocellular Carcinoma
Hepatocellular Carcinoma
How Can I Keep From Getting
Hepatitis C?
• Don’t share needles, works, or
• Don’t share razors, manicure tools,
or toothbrushes
• Wash hands before and after
• Avoid contact with anyone else’s
• Use clean needles every time
How Can I Take Care of My
• See your provider regularly
• Be careful with medications
– Tylenol
– Aspirin
– Some herbs, vitamins and
• Get vaccinated against Hepatitis A
Are Vitamins Always Healthy?
How Can I Protect Others?
• Don’t donate blood, tissue, or sperm
• Clean up spilled blood with a strong disinfectant, and keep
skin injuries bandaged
• Don't share razors, toothbrushes, pierced earrings, or other
personal items with anyone
• Use condoms if you have multiple sexual partners, or
when having sex with an infected person
• Don't share chewing gum or pre-chew food for a baby
• Make certain any needles or other sharp implements for
drugs, ear piercing, manicuring or tattooing are properly
sterilized (with bleach for 30 seconds twice)
What If I’m Pregnant?
• 5 out of every 100 babies born to
mothers with Hep C will be
• Infection usually occurs around the
time of birth
• There is no treatment to prevent
Are There Any Treatments for
Hepatitis C?
What Else Can I Do?