Newswise — (October 13, 2015 / Baltimore, MD) -- Paul J. Thuluvath, M.D., Chief, Division of Gastroenterology at Mercy Medical Center, and Medical Director for The Melissa L. Posner Institute for Digestive Health & Liver Disease at Mercy, has authored the new health book, Hepatitis C: A Complete Guide for Patients and Families, which became available to the public earlier this month. According to Dr. Thuluvath, the book serves as a comprehensive guide to hepatitis C, which affects about 3 percent of the world’s population―upwards of four million people in the U.S.

“The liver is susceptible to viral infection that can cause severe inflammation. Left untreated, hepatitis C can cause cirrhosis of the liver, liver cancer and lead to death. The majority of those infected with Hepatitis C are baby boomers—those born between 1946 and 1964—and may not even be aware they have it. This is why education is so important in the battle to identify and treat this illness,” Dr. Thuluvath said.

People can contract the hepatitis C virus through contact with an infected person’s blood person. This may occur by sharing drug-injecting equipment, using cocaine, having sex, or getting a blood transfusion or organ transplant. It can be spread by getting a tattoo with unsterile equipment. In rare cases, women with hepatitis C transmit the virus to their infants.

Symptoms often do not develop until the disease is in its advanced stages and liver damage has already occurred. “There is no vaccine to prevent hepatitis C, but a simple blood test can determine whether or not a person is infected. These and other issues, particularly the latest breakthroughs in the treatment of hepatitis C, make up the content of my book,” Dr. Thuluvath said.

In his book, Dr. Thuluvath provides detailed information about the diagnosis and management of hepatitis C, including dramatically improved treatments that have recently emerged. Dr. Thuluvath addresses such questions as:• How is hepatitis C spread? • Who should be tested―and what tests diagnose hepatitis C and other liver diseases? • What are the symptoms of acute liver disease? • What are the symptoms and complications of chronic liver disease?• What are the complications of cirrhosis (scarring of the liver)?• How does hepatitis C affect other organs in the body? • What treatment options are available, and what side effects might they have? • How is early liver cancer diagnosed and treated?• When is liver transplantation needed, and how does it work?

Dr. Thuluvath provides the latest information on new interferon-free regimens, which have shown a cure rate has high as 95% in people with specific genotypes, without the severe side effects of interferon therapy. He discusses hepatitis C in children as well as complementary and alternative medicine.

“There is a revolution underway in the treatment of hepatitis C that has made an actual cure of this disease possible. I wanted to develop an authoritative guide on the diagnosis and treatment of hepatitis C for the benefit of those with the disease and their families,” Dr. Thuluvath said.

A world-renowned gastroenterologist and leader of The Center for Liver and Hepatobiliary Diseases, Dr. Paul Thuluvath provides patients with pioneering treatments and advanced technology to help them manage their illness. He is a recognized national and international authority in liver and biliary diseases and dedicated to medical research and clinical trials that are advancing treatment possibilities for patients.

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