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Hepatitis C: The Underdiagnosed Disorder Growing Amongst Baby Boomers

By Ronald W. DeMasi, M.D.

Hepatitis CAccording to the CDC, (Centers for Disease Control) most people with the chronic hepatitis C virus infection do not have any symptoms or have general, or common symptoms such as chronic fatigue and depression. Many people eventually develop chronic liver disease, which can range from mild to severe, including cirrhosis (scarring of the liver) and liver cancer. Chronic liver disease in people with hepatitis C usually happens slowly, without any signs or symptoms, over several decades. Chronic hepatitis C virus infection is often not recognized until people are screened for blood donation or from an abnormal blood test found during a routine examination.

What are the symptoms of acute hepatitis C?
People with new (acute) hepatitis C virus infection usually do not have symptoms or have mild symptoms. When symptoms do occur, they can include:
• Fever
• Fatigue
• Dark urine
• Clay-colored bowel movements
• Abdominal pain
• Loss of appetite
• Nausea
• Vomiting
• Joint pain
• Jaundice (yellow color in the skin or eyes)

Who should get tested for hepatitis C?
CDC recommends hepatitis C testing for:
• Current or former injection drug users, including those who injected only once many years ago
• Everyone born from 1945 to 1965
• Anyone who received clotting factor concentrates made before 1987
• Recipients of blood transfusions or solid organ transplants prior to July 1992
• Long-term hemodialysis patients
• People with known exposures to the hepatitis C virus, such as
– health care workers or public safety workers after needle sticks involving blood from someone infected with hepatitis C virus
– recipients of blood or organs from a donor who tested positive for the hepatitis C virus
• People with HIV infection
• Children born to mothers with hepatitis C (1)

Unlike Hepatitis A and B, there is no vaccine for Hepatitis C. If left untreated, the long-term damage of Hepatitis C can be cirrhosis of the liver, liver failure and liver cancer. It’s often undiagnosed, because many of the symptoms do not show up until the disease has advanced, and even then, it can be misdiagnosed or confused with other issues.

Ronald DeMasi, M.D. M.S.P.H,
Board Certified Gastroenterologist

After completing his training at Yale University’s St. Raphael Hospital Progam in 1998, Dr. Ronald DeMasi returned home to Venice, FL to practice with his father, Clem DeMasi, M.D. In 2009, he established DeMasi Digestive Health with a vision to build on the foundation that began with his father: serving patients with the excellent care and the compassion they deserve.

DeMasi Digestive Health is a comprehensive gastroenterology practice that focuses on the treatment of the gastrointestinal or “GI” tract diseases and disorders. They diagnose and treat the conditions of the digestive organs, including stomach, esophagus, intestines, pancreas, liver, and gallbladder.

If you or someone you know has GI ailments or other related symptoms, please contact DeMasi Digestive Health at (941) 584-6272, or visit demasidigestivehealth.com

Venice
1370 E. Venice Ave. Suite, 210
Venice, FL 34285

North Port
14575 Tamiami Trail
North Port, FL 34287

Englewood
250 W. Dearborn Street
Englewood, FL 34223

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