Receiving a diagnosis of Hepatitis C (HCV) can be scary and confusing. After getting over the initial shock, you will likely have a lot of questions about how HCV will impact your life and what sort of lifestyle changes you will need to make.
It is especially important to understand the causes of HCV and how HCV is transmitted. Transmission occurs through blood or other bodily fluids, and, in the US, it is most commonly transmitted via injection drug use.1 Learn more about HCV prevention here and risk of HIV co-infection here.
There are also certain subpopulations who are at a higher risk for HCV than others.2 For instance, data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) demonstrated that African Americans are actually twice as likely to have HCV compared with Caucasians. Further, HCV is also more likely to occur in the Latino population than in non-white Latinos.
Because HCV infection directly impacts the liver, it is important to understand how certain lifestyle choices, like alcohol consumption, will impact your health. HCV does occur more frequently in people who have a history of alcohol abuse. Further, alcohol consumption has an impact on HCV progression. To learn more about HCV and alcohol consumption, click here.
If HCV is left untreated, liver damage can become irreversible, which may lead to end-stage liver disease and require a liver transplant. To learn more about liver transplant, click here.
Written by: Jonathan Simmons | Last reviewed: March 2015.