WHAT IS HEPATITIS C?
If you have hepatitis C, which is a manageable infectious disease, then Health Services of North Texas (HSNT) is here for you. In Denton and Plano, TX healthcenters we have a dedicated infectious disease management team at HSNT ready to provide comfortable, confidential care. We want to help you live a healthy, active life regardless of your hepatitis C status. Hepatitis is a communicable disease that is contracted through blood (sharing needles, exposed at work from an accidental needle stick, or born to a mother positive with hepatitis C). Regardless of how you contracted hepatitis C, there is hope and in most cases even the possibility of a cure with advanced medication.
We offer infectious disease case management services, such as:
- Medical care for routine and sick visits
- Urgent care
- Medication management
- Behavioral health and counseling
- Prescription assistance
From acute to chronic hepatitis C, the symptoms can be life-altering, especially when it comes to protecting the health of your liver. Over time, hepatitis C damages the liver beyond repair. To qualify for case management, you will need to have an appointment with one of our medical providers at HSNT. Our medical team will decide what type of services to offer you in the event case management is in your best interest.
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What Are Symptoms of Hepatitis C?
If you have a recent diagnosis or have had hepatitis C for a while, you may qualify for case management for different needs. Each patient with hepatitis C is important to us. From acute to chronic hepatitis C, the symptoms can be subtle at first, but all of them lead to the destruction of the liver. Some of the common signs and symptoms your body is fighting the hepatitis C virus are:
- Pain in the abdomen, especially on the upper right side
- Jaundice within the whites of eyes and skin
- Cognitive issues (slurred speech, sleepiness, and more)
- Rashes with itchy skin
- Rounded/fluid-filled abdomen
- Changes in appetite and/or weight
- Low platelet counts (to help with blood clotting)
- Skin that bruises or bleeds easily
- Discolored and darker urine than normal
- Swollen legs
- Spider veins
Even if you have been cleared from the hepatitis C virus, this does not mean you cannot become reinfected. It is best to always be aware of your hepatitis C status and prevent the spread of it in the future.
What Causes Hepatitis C?
Hepatitis C is caused by the hepatitis C virus and affects the liver. This bloodborne virus spreads when your blood comes in contact with an infected person's blood. Hepatitis C transmission often occurs through sharing drug injection equipment, unsanitary tattooing, or piercing tools. In less frequent instances, hepatitis C can be transmitted through unprotected sexual contact. In rare cases, it can be passed from an infected mother to her baby during childbirth. Healthcare professionals could be at risk if exposed to infected blood, for instance, via a needlestick injury. It's important to note that hep C doesn't spread through casual contact, like hugging or sharing food.
Services we offer patients with hepatitis C
Newly diagnosed with hepatitis C
You may need additional resources for medical care to learn more about how to care for yourself with hep C. We are here to help you find more information, get the medication, navigate your appointments for treatment, learn ways to reduce transmitting the virus to others, and how to slow liver disease progression.
Living with chronic hepatitis C
As a patient with chronic hepatitis C at HSNT, your case management services will be based on slowing the progression of the damage hepatitis C does to your liver, or in some cases medication therapy that will leave HepC untraceable and cured. To do this, you will need comprehensive medical support.
Hepatitis C FAQ
What is the difference between acute and chronic hepatitis C?
- Acute hepatitis C happens in the first six months after someone becomes infected with the hepatitis C virus. It can be a short-term illness but typically leads to a chronic infection.
- Chronic hepatitis C is often a lifelong infection if not treated and can cause serious health issues, including liver damage, cirrhosis of the liver (scarring), liver cancer, and in some cases, death.
How many people have hepatitis C?
According to the U.S. Health and Human Services, as many as 2.4 million people are living with hepatitis C.
Can I still live a normal life with hepatitis C?
With regular medical treatments, the prognosis for people living with hepatitis C is very good and most will be able to live a regular life. The key factor is diagnosing and treating the condition early before any liver damage or other complications take place.
Can hepatitis C be cured?
Yes, in most cases, it can be cured. With advanced oral medications taken every day for 2 – 6 months, hepatitis C can be cured. That’s why early detection, diagnosis, and treatment are crucial to positive outcomes for people with hepatitis C.
To Healthier Living With Hep C
Living with a long-term viral infection, such as hepatitis C, can be overwhelming, especially if you are not getting the medical care and assistance you need to live a healthy life. Our infectious disease case managers and medical providers at HSNT can work with you in your health care journey. Call and schedule a confidential appointment at one of our locations in Denton or Plano, TX. We offer our services based on a sliding fee scale for patients who are uninsured, underinsured, or have limited resources. Don't delay care due to financial concerns. HSNT also accepts Medicaid, Medicare, and most major insurances. We are here to help with hepatitis C.
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