Hepatitis C is common worldwide. An estimated 170 million individuals worldwide including an estimated 250,000 in Canada are infected. Hepatitis C is spread through blood-to-blood contact, which means that to contract hepatitis C, blood infected with the hepatitis C virus must get into your blood stream
You may risk exposure to hepatitis C by using injection drugs (even once), getting tattoos, piercings, pedicures, manicures or medical procedures with improperly sterilized equipment, sharing personal hygiene items with an infected person (e.g. razors, toothbrushes, nail clippers) or having had a blood transfusion or received blood products prior to July 1990.
To determine whether or not you have hepatitis C, you will need to have blood tests. You should consider getting tested if:
- you were born between 1945 and 1975
- you are worried about having done something that could have put you at risk – even once or a long time ago (see sections entitled ‘How do I get hepatitis C?’ and ‘Who is most at risk’)
- you have signs or symptoms of having hepatitis C, such as nausea, fatigue, reduced appetite, jaundice, dark urine or abdominal pain
- you have resided in countries where hepatitis C is common (e.g., Egypt, southern Italy, India, Pakistan, Vietnam) and have been exposed to blood products, medical procedures, or vaccinations.
For patients with Hep C, I use dose-dependent Milk Thistle (1:1). Milk thistle (Silybum marianum) has been used for 2,000 years as an herbal remedy for a variety of ailments, particularly liver, kidney, and gall bladder problems. Several scientific studies suggest that substances in milk thistle protect the liver from viruses and toxins, including certain drugs such as acetaminophen (Tylenol), which can cause liver damage in high doses. Silymarin has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, and it may help the liver repair itself by growing new cells.
Source: Milk thistle | University of Maryland Medical Center http://umm.edu/health/medical/altmed/herb/milk-thistle#ixzz3ezN8gVrH
University of Maryland Medical Center
Follow us: @UMMC on Twitter | MedCenter on Facebook