Hepatitis C is a viral infection that causes liver inflammation, often causing severe liver damage. The hepatitis C virus (HCV) spreads out through contaminated blood.
Till just recently, hepatitis C treatment needed weekly injections and oral medications that many HCV-infected people couldn’t take because of other health problems or unacceptable side effects.
Today, chronic HCV is typically curable with oral medications taken every day for two to 6 months. Still, about half of people with HCV don’t know they’re infected, generally because they have no symptoms, which can take decades to appear. For that reason, the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention suggests a one-time screening blood test for everybody at increased risk of the infection. The biggest group at risk includes everybody born between 1945 and 1965– a population five times more likely to be infected than those born in other years.
Long-term infection with the hepatitis C virus (HCV) is referred to as chronic hepatitis C. Chronic hepatitis C is usually a “quiet” infection for several years, until the infection damages the liver enough to cause the signs and symptoms of liver disease. Amongst these symptoms and signs are:
- Confusion, sleepiness and slurred speech (hepatic encephalopathy)
- Bruising easily
- Spider-like blood vessels on your skin (spider angiomas)
- Dark-colored urine
- Bleeding easily
- Itchy skin
- Yellow discoloration of the skin and eyes (jaundice)
- Swelling in your legs
- Weight reduction
- Fluid buildup in your abdomen (ascites)
- Poor hunger
Every chronic hepatitis C infection begins with an acute phase. Acute hepatitis C typically goes undiagnosed because it seldom causes symptoms. When signs and symptoms are present, they might include jaundice, together with tiredness, nausea, fever and muscle pains. Acute symptoms appear one to 3 months after direct exposure to the virus and last two weeks to 3 months.
Acute hepatitis C infection does not constantly end up being chronic. Some people clear HCV from their bodies after the acute phase, a result known as spontaneous viral clearance. In research studies of people detected with acute HCV, rates of spontaneous viral clearance have actually varied from 14 to 50 percent. Acute hepatitis C also reacts well to antiviral therapy.
Hepatitis C Causes
Hepatitis C infection is brought on by the hepatitis C virus. The infection spreads when blood polluted with the infection gets in the blood stream of an uninfected person.
Internationally, HCV exists in several distinct forms, referred to as genotypes. The most common HCV genotype in North America and Europe is type 1. Type 2 also occurs in the United States and Europe, however is less typical than type 1. Both type 1 and type 2 have actually also spread through much of the world, although other genotypes cause a bulk of infections in the Middle East, Asia and Africa.
Although chronic hepatitis C follows a comparable course regardless of the genotype of the contaminating infection, treatment suggestions vary depending upon viral genotype.
Your risk of hepatitis C infection is increased if you:
- Received hemodialysis treatments for a long period of time.
- Are a health care worker who has actually been exposed to infected blood, which may take place if an infected needle pierces your skin.
- Gotten a blood transfusion or organ transplant before 1992.
- Were born in between 1945 and 1965, the age with the greatest occurrence of hepatitis C infection.
- Were ever in prison.
- Were born to a woman with a hepatitis C infection.
- Have ever injected or breathed in illegal drugs.
- Gotten clotting element concentrates prior to 1987.
- Gotten a piercing or tattoo in an unclean environment using unsterile equipment.
- Have HIV.
Hepatitis C infection that continues over several years can cause substantial complications, such as:
- Scarring of the liver (cirrhosis). After 20 to 30 years of hepatitis C infection, cirrhosis may happen. Scarring in your liver makes it difficult for your liver to function.
- Liver cancer. A little number of people with hepatitis C infection might establish liver cancer.
- Liver failure. Advanced cirrhosis might cause your liver to stop working.
How Is Hepatitis C Prevented?
Secure yourself from hepatitis C infection by taking the following precautions:
- Stop using illicit drugs, particularly if you inject them. If you use illicit drugs, look for assistance.
- Be cautious about body piercing and tattooing. If you choose to go through piercing or tattooing, try to find a credible shop. Ask concerns ahead of time about how the devices is cleaned up. Make certain the employees use sterile needles. If workers won’t answer your concerns, try to find another store.
Interesting Facts about Hepatitis C
Can You Get Hepatitis C From Saliva?
The infection cannot be transferred through casual contact, such as sharing a cup or eating utensils with an infected individual. Hugging, holding hands, and kissing likewise will not spread it. You can’t capture the virus from someone with hepatitis C sneezing or coughing on you.
How Likely Is It to Get Hepatitis C From Intercourse?
Transmission seldom takes place from direct exposure to other infected body fluids, such as semen. If you’re in a long-term, monogamous relationship with a partner who has hepatitis C, your risk of contracting hepatitis C is thought to be low, unless you also have human immunodeficiency virus (HIV).
Is Hepatitis C Is Curable?
The objective of your treatment is to get rid of the hepatitis C in your body. You’re thought about treated if you don’t have any infection in your blood 6 months after you stop taking medicine. A turning point in finding a cure came when physicians began dealing with the disease with interferon in the 1990s.
Do I Need Hepatitis C Vaccine?
Your chronic liver disease puts you at risk for major complications if you get infected with the hepatitis An infection. If you’ve never been vaccinated against hepatitis A, you need 2 doses of this vaccine, generally spaced 6– 12 months apart. Yes! Because of your chronic liver disease, you need to be vaccinated.
Last modified: January 18, 2018