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Causes, Symptoms, Prevention, and Diagnosis of Hepatitis C

Causes, Symptoms, Prevention, and Diagnosis of Hepatitis C

Hepatitis C

The HCV (Hepatitis C Virus) causes Hepatitis C. This is contagious and an individual can transmit it to somebody else with the help of blood-to-blood contact. This viral infection causes liver inflammation and, at times, leads to severe liver damage. Currently, there is no vaccine against this disease and to avoid any major consequences, you need to look for the Symptoms of liver disease and get treated as soon as possible. 

HCV affects individuals in distinctive ways as well as has various stages – 

  1. Incubation Period –This can last anywhere from 14-80n days, however, the average is 45. 
  2. Acute Hepatitis C – It is the short-term illness that begins for the first 6 months after this virus enters the body. 
  3. Chronic Hepatitis C – In case the body does not clear HCV on its own after 6 months, this becomes a long-term infection. 
  4. Cirrhosis – Often, it takes approximately 20-30 years for this to occur, although it can be quicker if you have HIV or drink Alcohol. 
  5. Liver Cancer – Cirrhosis can make liver cancer more likely. 

Causes

This disease spreads via blood and the Risk of hepatitis C can be enhanced by getting transmitted in the below-mentioned ways – 

  • Utilizing non-sterile needles and instruments for body piercing and tattooing.
  • Sharing needles when utilizing illegal street drugs. In Canada, it is the major way Hepatitis gets spread. 
  • Blood transfusion that used to be the main way that Hepatitis C Virus was spread. However, nowadays, screening tests are being performed on every donated blood and that is why this cause has been eliminated almost. 
  • Receiving organs (like liver, pancreas, or kidney) from the donor who gets infected with this disease. But, the organ donors in the US and Canada get screened for HCV infection, so the infection risk with this virus after the organ transplant is quite low. 
  • Engaging in the high-risk sexual activities (such as not using the condoms while having sex with the infected person or having multiple partners). 
  • Sharing your personal care belongings like scissors, razors, the toothbrush, or nail clippers with the infected person. 

Read Also: Hepatitis C- How to Take Preventions to Avoid The Disease

Symptoms and signs of hepatitis c

Acute Hepatitis C

Individuals rarely receive the Acute Hepatitis C diagnosis since it does not have definite symptoms. Due to this, doctors usually call this a silent epidemic. Its symptoms are quite similar to other viral infections. 

Acute Hepatitis C’s symptoms are – 

  • Fatigue
  • Fever
  • Appetite loss
  • Abdominal Pain
  • Dark Urine
  • Vomiting or Nausea
  • Joint Pain
  • Rarely, Jaundice
  • Clay-colored stool

Chronic Hepatitis C

Early diagnosis along with treatment can put a stop to your liver damage. However, left untreated, Chronic Hepatitis C can result in – 

  • Liver scarring or Cirrhosis that takes place in a maximum of 20% of individuals after 20-30 years. 
  • Chronic liver disease that can occur gradually over many decades without any symptoms
  • Liver Cancer
  • Liver Failure

In the majority of cases, an individual can only find out if they have this disease during the screening for the blood donation or a regular blood test. 

 

Prevention from hepatitis c

Secure yourself from Hepatitis C infection through taking the below-mentioned precautions – 

  • Remain cautious about tattooing and body piercing – In case you opt for undergoing tattooing or piercing, choose the reputable shop. Ask queries beforehand regarding how the equipment gets cleaned. Ensure the fact that the employees utilize sterile needles. If the employees won’t answer the question, go to another shop. 
  • Stop utilizing illicit drugs, especially in case you inject them – In case you utilize illicit drugs, look for help. 
  • Exercise safer sex – Don’t practice unprotected sex with multiple partners or with the partner whose health status is unspecific. The sexual transmission between monogamous partners might take place, however, there is a low risk. 
  • Do not share your personal belongings such as razors. 
  • Do not share syringes, needles, or any other equipment while injecting drugs. 

Significantly, every individual with Hepatitis C maintain good health and this includes –

  • Maintaining a healthy weight
  • Quitting smoking
  • Avoiding Alcohol
  • Handling other health issues

Diagnosis

  • Doctors utilize blood tests for determining whether or not somebody has Hepatitis C – It includes tests for detecting the HCV’s presence or antibodies generated by your body for fighting this virus, along with tests for liver damage or inflammation. 
  • Blood tests are utilized to check for liver damage and inflammation – The tests check for those enzymes which are naturally found in the liver cells. This test decides in case somebody has been vulnerable to HCV, however, it doesn’t measure the virus amount in your body. All in all, it helps in reducing the risk of hepatitis C to a great extent. 
  • The anti-Hepatitis C Virus test identifies the presence of the antibodies to the HCV – The antibodies are generated by your immune system as the result of the foreign substance (like the virus) in your body. While liver cells get damaged or inflamed, more enzymes than normal will get released into your blood. 

In a few cases, the liver biopsy might be performed for determining the extent of the liver damage that is caused by Hepatitis C. 

Needless to say, Hepatitis C is the most general blood-borne viral infection in the United States as well as can cause serious liver damage, in case left untreated. In the year of 2016, the CDC reported a minimum of 18,153 deaths associated with Hepatitis C. However, the improvements in risk-based screening, education, modern treatments, and prevention methods have changed the outlook for treating HCV for better. Early diagnosis along with treatment can relevantly better the outlook of a person besides preventing liver damage. 

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