Because people with HCV often have no symptoms, the CDC recommends that all adults and pregnant women get tested for the disease, as well as anyone with ongoing risk and certain medical conditions. Currently, no vaccine exists to prevent HCV, but treatments are available and can cure HCV—reducing liver cancer risk by 75%.
Echosens also wants to bring greater attention to the millions of Americans who are living with hepatitis C virus (HCV), the most common cause of liver disease. Most people who get infected with HCV will develop a chronic infection that, if left untreated, can cause serious health problems, including liver disease, cirrhosis, liver failure and liver cancer.
HCV and Liver Connection
Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), the build-up of fat in the liver not caused by alcohol, is currently the most common cause of chronic liver disease throughout the world, followed by chronic hepatitis B and chronic HCV.
NAFLD can lead to non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH), an asymptomatic, progressive and burgeoning liver disease that can lead to increased liver-related mortality and morbidity.
One study on how NAFLD impacts patients treated and cured for HCV found that NAFLD identified in patients prior to treatment persisted after curing their HCV infection. Among those with NAFLD before treatment, 6.25% still had significant liver scarring after their HCV infection was cured.
Value of Early Detection
Point-of-care examinations, monitoring and ongoing assessment of liver fat and stiffness as provided by FibroScan®, a rapid, non-invasive point of care examination, can identify individuals who are asymptomatic and undiagnosed for liver damage.
FibroScan® can be an important assessment and monitoring tool for those living with viral hepatitis. This critical tool also helps to identify those cured of the virus, by providing a quantitative assessment of liver fat and stiffness at the point of care before NAFLD becomes symptomatic.
During Hepatitis Awareness Month, we call on people around the world to raise awareness and encourage hepatitis testing and early screening for liver disease.