Hepatitis C is an infection that causes inflammation of the liver. One of the main issues with Hepatitis C is that many times the individual does not even realize that they have the disease until the damage to the liver is irreversible. Hepatitis C is spread from person to person through the blood. It is quite common with individuals who regularly use and share intravenous needles.hcvhc
Hepatitis C is a single strand RNA virus. It is referred to as being chronic within the first six months of the infection. In 15% of the cases, the virus is cleared out of the body with no complications or serious liver damage being realized. The remaining 85% of the cases harbor the virus until it causes scarring and damage to the liver. This is when it is realized that the individual is suffering from the virus.
What Causes Hepatitis C To Occur?
Hepatitis C can be caused by a number of factors. It is transferred from person to person by blood, so anyone can be at risk for the virus. There are some factors that do place some individuals at a higher risk of contracting the virus. One of these factors is being born to a mother that already has the Hepatitis C virus. Since mother and baby are uniquely attached, the blood from the mother can cause the infant to contract the virus. Individuals who have more than 1 sexual partner in a period of 1 month or that have a record of contracting sexually transmitted diseases are also at a higher risk than the general public. Anyone who uses illicit injection drugs or who has had a blood transfusion before July 1992 are also at a higher risk level.
What Are the Symptoms Of Hepatitis C?
At initial onset of the virus, many individuals do not show any symptoms at all. There are some hep c symptoms that can occur when first infected. These may be mistaken as being infected with flu or catching a cold. Among these are fatigue and fever. The individual may also experience a loss of appetite as well as some mild nausea. Muscle and joint aches and pains can also be experienced by the individual who has recently been infected with the Hepatitis C virus. The final preliminary symptom is tenderness in the area of the liver. If any one or a combination of these symptoms are experienced, one should consult a doctor right away. Especially if the individual has shared needles, had a blood transfusion or had multiple unprotected sexual encounters along with any of the symptoms they should definitely be checked professionally.
Treating Hepatitis C
If the individual shows only slight liver abnormalities after a diagnosis of Hepatitis C, treatment may not be necessary. The physician may simply require the individual to follow up periodically with blood tests. This will be done in order to maintain observation on liver functions and assure no scarring or damage occurs to the liver. There are antiviral medications that can be administered in order to clear the Hepatitis C virus from the individual’s system. The treating physician may require the individual to take a combination of drugs in order to rid them of the Hepatitis virus. After the medications have been taken successfully new blood tests will be drawn in order to assure that the virus has been cleared. If the liver has already been seriously damaged, one may be considered for a liver transplant. Antiviral medications will still need to be taken in order to assure that the new liver does not become harmed as well.
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