Encyclopedia

Hepatitis C

What is Hepatitis C?

Inflammation of the liver caused by infection with the hepatitis C virus (HCV) is called hepatitis C.

If the infection cannot be cured it becomes chronic and can lead to chronic liver disease which can be very serious and even fatal.

Approximately 75% to 85% infected with hepatitis C virus develop chronic hepatitis C. Many of them live normally, but in some the liver is significantly damaged.

If the disease progresses to liver failure, the only treatment is a liver transplant.

What are the symptoms of Hepatitis C?

In about 80% of those infected with the hepatitis C virus, the acute stage of the disease is asymptomatic. In other cases, the symptoms are completely identical to those of hepatitis A and B.

Symptoms develop between 4 to 12 weeks after exposure to the hepatitis C virus, with some people having flu-like symptoms.

Chronic stage: In about 2/3 of people, the immune system cannot deal with the hepatitis C virus and it becomes a chronic disease.

Most often, people with chronic hepatitis C do not develop any symptoms or may feel constant mild fatigue.

However, even in people who have no symptoms, slow and progressive liver damage can begin.

Chronic hepatitis can also lead to cirrhosis, a condition in which healthy liver cells are replaced by dysfunctional connective tissue as a result of the immune system’s constant attack on the liver cells where the hepatitis C virus has taken up residence. Cirrhosis develops in about 20-30% of cases of chronic hepatitis C.

What are the causes of hepatitis C?

The main reasons for the spread of hepatitis C are contact with infected blood and having an infected partner. Here are some of the main routes of transmission of the virus:

  1. Blood transfusion and medical procedures: Before the virus was discovered in 1989, hepatitis C was commonly transmitted through blood transfusions and infections associated with medical procedures. Fortunately, preventive measures put in place, such as testing donor blood, have greatly reduced the risk of transmission in this way.

  2. Sharing of injection needles and tools: Most commonly, hepatitis C is transmitted through the sharing of injection needles and tools during drug use. Intravenous drug abuse is a significant factor in the spread of infection.

  3. Maternal transmission: It is possible for mothers to transmit the virus to their children during childbirth, but the risks are reduced with antenatal testing and proper pregnancy management.

  4. Non-sterile medical instruments and procedures: In rare cases, infection can be transmitted through unsterile instruments and procedures in healthcare facilities.

  5. Tattoos and piercings: The use of non-sterile instruments for tattoos or piercings can transmit the hepatitis C virus.

Hepatitis C can also be transmitted very rarely through sexual contact or by sharing personal items such as toothbrushes or razors, but these risks are extremely small.

Chronic hepatitis C infections are particularly dangerous.

In many patients, the virus can remain hidden and active in the liver for a long period of time, causing no symptoms or causing a mild form of the disease.

This often leads to a delay in diagnosis and initiation of appropriate treatment, which can lead to serious liver damage, cirrhosis or even liver cancer.< /p>

Hepatitis C treatment

If symptoms occur, you can relieve your condition by:

  • Keep calm and rest longer
  • You should drink a lot of water to avoid dehydration
  • No alcohol, including beer and wine
  • Avoid drinking strong medications that stress the liver.
  • Abstain from exercise until the symptoms are gone.

Usually, people with hepatitis C are treated with a combination of injectable drugs such as pegylated interferon alfa and drugs for oral administration such as ribavirin.

The herb milk thistle is thought to be able to prevent liver damage in chronic hepatitis C, it is also sold in the form of the dietary supplement silymarin, but there is not yet enough evidence that it can affect the condition of the hepatitis C patient.

Zinc and colloidal silver are also often cited as alternative treatments for hepatitis C, but experts warn that they can be highly toxic in excess.

How to protect yourself from hepatitis C?

There is still no vaccine to protect against transmission of the hepatitis C virus.

The best ways to prevent transmission of the virus are to avoid contact with infected blood and not to inject drugs with shared needles and to avoid high-risk sexual behaviors such as frequent partner changes and anal sex.

In conclusion, hepatitis C is a serious disease that affects millions of people worldwide.

It is caused by a unique virus that spreads mainly through contact with infected blood.

Prevention and timely treatment are essential to reduce the spread and consequences of this virus.

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