What Is Hepatitis C?

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Hepatitis C

Hepatitis C is a form of liver infection which results in severe liver damage. The disease occurs through the Hepatitis C virus. There are around millions of people who suffer from Hepatitis C virus. The virus commonly spreads from the blood or body fluids of an infected person. There are different stages of Hepatitis C virus which includes the incubation period, acute form of Hepatitis C, chronic Hepatitis C, cirrhosis and liver cancer.

Watch these videos to know about Hepatitis A & B.

The incubation period is the time from which you are initially exposed to the virus, and it lasts between 2 weeks to 80 days. The acute hepatitis C is the short-term illness which lasts for around six months once the virus enters the body. The body starts clearing the viral infection from the body. Chronic hepatitis C is the condition when the viral infection lasts for more than six months, and the body is unable to get rid of the disease. It leads to severe liver complications like cirrhosis or cancer. Hepatitis C virus results in inflammation of the liver, which ultimately leads to scarring of the liver, which takes around 20-30 years. Cirrhosis turns inti liver cancer which is why doctors usually perform liver screening.

The symptoms of Hepatitis C include clay type stools, dark coloured urine, fever, fatigue, stomach pain, vomiting, nausea, appetite loss, jaundice and others varying from person to person. Hepatitis C virus spreads through contact with the contaminated blood and body fluids of the infected person. It also spreads through sharing infected needles or drugs; you can have an infection while having sex with the STD patient, having infected needles, an infected mother giving childbirth, sharing personal items with the infected person, getting a tattoo or having a piercing. The symptoms of advanced hepatitis C includes fluid buildup within the legs or abdominal cavity i.e. edema or ascites, gall stones, improper functioning of the brain i.e. encephalopathy, easy bruising or bleeding, kidney failure, itching, muscle loss, issues in memory or concentration, vomiting in blood, weight loss, skin having spider-like veins or others.

The risk factors associated with Hepatitis C include receiving blood from the infected person, being injected with drugs, having an organ transplant or blood transfusion, receiving blood to treat severe clotting disorders, been on kidney dialysis, have HIV, born to the infected mother, suffering from a liver disease, getting a piercing or tattoo, or been in prison.

The diagnosis of Hepatitis c starts with the physical examination, medical history and diagnostic tests. The tests include the anti-HCV antibodies which appear when the Hepatitis C virus infection in the body for 12 weeks or more. Another test is HCV RNA which shows up after 1-2 weeks once you get infected. During the diagnostic process, liver function tests are also performed to evaluate the number of enzymes and proteins in the body, which usually rise once you get infected within 7-8 weeks.

There are no such medications to cure acute hepatitis C while for chronic hepatitis C, there are several medications prescribed by the doctor. The complications of Hepatitis C include the long-term infections where it can result in scarring or liver cirrhosis, liver cancer and liver failure. Hepatitis C has no vaccine so you can prevent yourself by performing protected sex, avoid sharing personal items, needles or syringes, be careful while having manicure, pedicure, piercing or tattooing.

Until Next Time,

Team Doctor ASKY!

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