Hepatitis C virus is the result of an infection with hepatitis C virus (HCV) that causes inflammation and damage to the liver.
Hepatitis C is one of the five strains of viruses identified so far responsible for viral hepatitis, the others being A, B, D, and E, each with its features in terms of transmission, severity, therapeutic approach. The disease caused by the virus C is considered the most severe of all, in terms primarily of long-term consequences.
In most people, the virus C attacks the liver without causing signs and symptom characteristic of acute hepatitis. In most cases, patients with infection remains unaware of this infection. Only a relatively small number of people have the immune system that can fight with this virus and curing the disease. In most people, the virus remains stuck in the liver, and in times, the infection can cause liver failure (liver stops functioning properly), cirrhosis, or liver cancer. Although the hepatitis A and B there are vaccines effective in preventing the disease, hepatitis C, it is not as yet no remaining vaccine.
How You Get This Virus – Hepatitis C?
Unlike hepatitis B, C virus is transmitted through sexual intercourse less often. The virus is transmitted from person to person mainly through blood transfusion (infected blood), so activities/conditions that increase the risk of exposure are considered risk factors. The greatest risk is in these situations:
If a shared needle is used for you intravenous drug injection.
If you suffer from hemophilia and have received clotting factor concentrate or have received blood transfusions or produced from blood before 1992.
If you have been subjected to hemodialysis for kidney disease advanced.
If you have received an organ through transplant before 1992.
If your profession exposes you to human blood.
If you were born from mother infected with hepatitis C.21
Although hepatitis C does not spread easily through sexual contact, though people with multiple sexual partners are at increased risk of contracting the disease. Other less common ways of transmission are making tattoos, piercing, acupuncture.
Hepatitis C is NOT transmitted through food or water or by simple contact (touch, hug, handshake ) , tears or sweat contact with an infected person, sharing of phone, swimming pool, toilet seat sometimes, however, a person can be diagnosed with the infection, even if no risk factors for this disease.
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What are the Symptoms of Hepatitis C?
Although in general infection C virus is asymptomatic, there is the possibility that acquiring infection to be associated with symptoms usually mild, flu-like, such as fatigue, nausea or loss of appetite, muscle and joint pain, pain in your upper right abdomen (in the liver), mild fever, yellowing of the skin and eyes (jaundice). But, in most cases, people shared that they had not seen any signs or symptoms although the virus exists in the body. We know, as this virus can cause severe liver damage, therefore, it is important to go for the laboratory test to detect the virus. Do not ignore the test if you believe you have been exposed to (a) or if you belong to any of the risk categories listed above.
When should I Introduce Myself to the Doctor?
Consult your doctor if you think you have been exposed to the hepatitis C. If you notice the signs or symptoms suggestive of hepatitis, such as yellowing of the eyes and you are among those at risk of contracting the disease. Abnormalities in liver function tests (a blood test) can also raise the suspicion of this diagnosis, but there are many other causes that may cause adjustments. You must understand that monitoring and liver function screening for liver cancer becomes a mandatory requirement and should be performed for all patients with chronic HCV infection.
How is the Diagnosis?
Hepatitis C diagnosis can be established only through a specific blood test (research antiviral antibodies – anti-HCV). If the test is positive, your doctor may consider further necessary actions to determine viral load (amount of virus in the blood). The doctor will perform a series of tests to determine the state of your liver, which can include a liver biopsy, where a small piece of liver tissue is removed to be examined under a microscope.
Positive diagnosis of hepatitis C does not necessarily imply the need for a specific treatment. If liver function tests are normal or only slightly modified, your doctor may still decide not to follow antiviral treatment because the long-term risk of developing the severe disease is reduced.
You will need to be monitored (to make regular inspections) from time to time. In other cases, initiating antiviral therapy it may be recommended; treatment with drugs. If the liver is severely affected, last treatment option is liver transplantation.
Because there is no effective vaccine for preventing hepatitis C, the only way is to take precautions necessary protection against contracting the infection. You should avoid using intravenous drugs, nasal piercings and tattoos, and all sorts of unprotected sexual contacts with multiple partners.