Hepatitis is inflammation of the liver, usually caused by a viral infection. There are several viral strains, the most prevalent being hepatitis C (HCV), a potentially chronic disease associated with an increased risk of liver fibrosis or cirrhosis and development of hepatocellular carcinoma. Presently, an estimated 2.4 million Americans are living with HCV, though that number may be much higher. Worldwide, hepatitis B and HCV are estimated to infect more than 300 million people. Asian-Americans and Pacific Islanders are most heavily affected by hepatitis B.
Who is at risk for hepatitis? In the case of HCV, anyone who:
Was born between 1945 and 1965
Received blood-clotting factor drugs prior to 1987
Had blood transfusions or an organ transplant before 1992
Injected illegal drugs, even once
At Healthmap Solutions (Healthmap), our focus is on hepatitis as a comorbidity of CKD. Though a far less frequent comorbidity than hypertension, diabetes, or hyperlipidemia, the incidence of hepatitis is nevertheless higher among CKD patients than the general populace. Hepatitis is a recognized cause of progressive kidney failure and is associated with reduced survival in the CKD population.
The good news is that all forms of hepatitis can be treated. HCV, the strain most likely to become chronic, can even be cured thanks to the development of direct acting antiviral (DAA) treatments. The important point is that hepatitis must be treated. Otherwise, it can be transmitted to others.
As with CKD, hepatitis treatment requires:
Patient identification ... as most people with hepatitis don’t know they have it; symptoms are not always obvious.
Patient education ... to raise awareness of the condition, advise them of treatment options, and bring about necessary lifestyle changes.
Integrated care management ... through a system that effectively coordinates the work of all care providers involved.
These are the hallmarks of Healthmap’s Kidney Population Health Management program. To learn more about how Healthmap can support providers to deliver optimal results for patients, contact us today at (813) 280-4846.