An inflammation caused by a virus which attacks the liver in the human body is known as Hepatitis C. This is an infection that is transmitted by contact with contaminated blood. Contact with contaminated blood can be caused by sharing needles in injections, tattoo equipment that has not been sterilized, etc. Hepatitis C is one of the diseases that are hard to diagnose just by looking at most individuals suffering from it do not have or show any symptoms. This disease can be treated through antiviral medication.
The Hepatitis C virus is divided into 6 types that are called as genotypes. These genotypes are divided on the basis of geographical areas. The following are the genotypes of Hepatitis C virus:
- Hepatitis C Genotype 1 a
- Hepatitis C Genotype 1 b
- Hepatitis C Genotype 2 a, 2 b, 2 c & 2 d
- Hepatitis C Genotype 3 a, 3 b, 3 c, 3 d, 3 e & 3 f
- Hepatitis C Genotype 4 a, 4 b, 4 c, 4 d, 4 e, 4 f, 4 g, 4 h, 4 i & 4 j
- Hepatitis C Genotype 5 a
- Hepatitis C Genotype 6 a
Though many people do not show symptoms of Hepatitis C, there are many others who might show certain symptoms out of the list below:
- Stomach Pain
- Drowsiness and confusion
- Loss of appetite
- Pain in the joints
- Slurred Speech
- Itching of the skin
- Loss of appetite
- Pain or discomfort in the abdomen
- Pain in the muscles
- Unusual bowel movements
- Unusual way of the passing of the urine
- Blood vessels that look like a spider or spider - web
- Yellowing of the eyes or skin
- Bleeding and bruising easily
- Loss of weight
- Fluid buildup in the abdomen
- Swelling in the legs
- Dark urine
There is a wide range of aspects for the causes of Hepatitis C. Hepatitis is caused by the spread of contaminated blood that has the Hepatitis C virus. This can happen during the following:
- The transfer of HCV contaminated blood during organ transplants through the organ or by the use of shared needles can result in Hepatitis C.
- Any blood transfusions to a body from an HCV contaminated individual causes Hepatitis C in the individual with the transfused blood.
- Another simple cause for Hepatitis C could be sharing personal daily items like toothbrushes, razors, tongue cleaners, etc.
- A pregnant woman who is infected with the HC virus can result in the child being infected with the disease after childbirth.
- Sharing needles is the most common cause for getting infected with the Hepatitis C infection.
- In some cases, sexual contact causes Hepatitis C.
- Had an organ transplanted
- Had used needles that have penetrated other individuals earlier
- Born to a mother whose blood was contaminated with the Hepatitis C virus at the time of childbirth
- Received a treatment called hemodialysis for over a few years
- Got a blood transfusion before the year 1992
- Had sexual intercourse with an individual who was infected with the Hepatitis C virus
vReceived blood products like clotting factor concentrates before the year 1987
The Hepatitis C infection can be prevented by the following practices:
- Do not use any illicit drugs, especially if they have to be injected. A drug abuse is a serious problem and if you face it, seeks professional help immediately.
- If you are planning to get a tattoo or a piercing, do not get it done by non - professionals or uncertified shops as the equipment might not be sterilized. Always get a tattoo or a piercing done by a reputed shop or from certified professionals. Always check to see the reviews online or get a tattoo at a shop where you know other people have had services.
- Protection is the best prevention. Engage in protected sexual intercourse, especially when engaging with multiple partners. It is better to know any medical ailments of your sexual partner that might be transmitted by intercourse. Monogamous partners may have a lower risk of contracting the Hepatitis C virus.
- Antibody Test: An antibody test is a type of blood test for the purpose of diagnosing the HC virus. An antibody is made by the body to help in the process of protecting it against any diseases or bacteria. An antibody is a protein that can detect any health-harming substances. These health harming substances are known as an antigen. The way an anti - body works is that it detects these substances, recognizes it and then destroys it before it spreads to other parts of the body or travels through. The anti - body test is done to check for the presence of the Hepatitis C virus. Any signs of an anti - body being present in a human body could also prove the existence of the Hepatitis C virus. An antibody will only be formed inside a human body in case there is a disease. This test is taken out in the form of a small sample of blood being tested. The presence of an antibody is an indication of the human body containing the virus at some point of the time. It might not mean that the virus still exists.
A blood test is taken out that will measure the amount of the Hepatitis C virus in the bloodstream of an individual. A genotyping test is prescribed that will find out the Genotype of the Hepatitis C virus. The knowledge of the genotype will help in the determination of the type of treatment an individual has to receive to be treated well.
- Blood Test: Merely looking at the symptoms is not a reliable way to find out if an individual has Hepatitis C. Blood tests have to be performed to know the exact results. A blood test is done to check for any signs of a Hepatitis C infection.
- Liver Biopsy: A liver biopsy can be performed to check for any damages to the liver. A liver biopsy is a process of a small piece of tissue being taken from the liver and tested for any abnormalities in the cell.
- Liver Function Test: A liver function test is prescribed to check for any damage to the liver. This test will check the individual’s blood for any signs of heightened enzymes in the liver.
- Mavyret Pill: Mavyret is a pill that is a combination of pibrentasvir and glecaprevir. This medicine pill is used to treat individuals with the Hepatitis C virus. The Mavyret treats individuals for a short period of time. The treatment is done for 8 weeks for adults and can be used for any type of Hepatitis C virus. But, this treatment is only provided to individuals who have not gone under any other treatment before and those who do not have cirrhosis. The treatment with this tablet might be longer in case of the stage of the disease. 3 pills daily are the average dosage.
- Antiviral: Antiviral is a medication that is used to treat the Hepatitis C virus. It works in a way that it clears out the Hepatitis C virus from the body that has been infected. The antiviral slows down the process of damage happening to the liver. It also slows down and diminishes any chances of the development of liver cancer or even cirrhosis.
- Vosevi: Vosevi is used to treat the Hepatitis C virus. It is a pill that is a fixed-dose combination pill. The way these pill works is that it prohibits the development of the NS5A. The NS5A is a protein that is associated with the development and progression of the Hepatitis C Virus. During the trials for this drug, the success rate was 96 % to 97 %. It has an even higher rate of curing the disease, now.
If a Hepatitis C virus continues for a number of years, then there are high chances of it getting complicated and developed into even serious liver diseases. The following complications might occur if the Hepatitis C infection continues over many years of untreated diagnosis or if the body does not respond well to the medication:
- Liver Cancer: The Hepatitis C infection also has chances of it developing into liver cancer. The percentage of people suffering from the Hepatitis C virus that may develop the disease into liver cancer is very less. Proper treatment needs to be taken to reduce the chances.
- Liver Failure: Hepatitis C virus can damage the liver to a large extent. It can do so to the point where the liver fails to function in an adequate manner. Hepatitis C infection should be treated immediately after the diagnosis to avoid or at least reduce the risk of the liver becoming dysfunctional.
- Liver Tissue Scarring (Cirrhosis): Cirrhosis is the scarring of the tissue of the liver. Cirrhosis can occur in an individual after they have suffered from the Hepatitis C infection for more than 20 years to 30 years. The scarring of the liver tissue obstructs the smooth functioning of the liver. Treatment should be taken up in the early stages of the disease to avoid Cirrhosis.
Myth #1: A Hepatitis C virus is a disease transmitted by sexual contact
The hepatitis C virus is not a disease that is sexually transmitted but can be transmitted through sexual intercourse in case the partner has been affected by the Hepatitis C infection and the sexual intercourse is unprotected.
Myth #2: You can get the Hepatitis C virus by just shaking hands or coughing
The Hepatitis C virus can be caught through contact with contaminated blood, sexual intercourse, etc.
Myth #3: Hepatitis C virus will get cured without getting treatment
No, it won’t. Leaving a Hepatitis C infection untreated might lead to the infection developing into a liver failure or liver cancer.
Myth #4: Am I at a higher risk of getting the Hepatitis C virus if I have got a piercing or tattoo done?
Simply because you have a tattoo or a piercing does not mean you might have the Hepatitis C virus. You might be at the risk of contracting the Hepatitis C disease only in the case where the job had been done unprofessionally or unsterile equipment or shared needles were used. Make sure to get the tattoos or piercings in a safe and sterile environment and place.
Myth #5: The chances of me getting Hepatitis C virus is rare
The Hepatitis C virus can occur to anybody who has been exposed to contaminated blood that can be contacted with the simplest of things like sharing toothbrushes to sharing needles.
Myth #6: - Hepatitis C virus can only affect the individual’s liver
The Hepatitis C Virus does not only affect the liver. It can affect other organs as well as tissues in the human body.
Myth #7: A Hepatitis C virus is an untreatable
A hepatitis C virus is not untreatable. It can be treated and should be treated immediately after being diagnosed. There are various medications available for it. You can talk to a doctor online .
Myth #8: You can get vaccinated for Hepatitis C
There no vaccine for Hepatitis C that is currently available.
To treat is to reduce the chances of the Hepatitis C virus developing into a bigger disease like liver cancer or liver failure. If the symptoms are prolonged or if you have been exposed to the possibilities of getting the virus, you should get a diagnosis done immediately.
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