Even though many people dont know what is Hepatitis C it affects at least five percent of Americans every year. Caused by a virus, Hepatitis C is a disease that adversely affects the liver. Hepatitis C can ultimately result in liver damage that is permanent as well as liver cancer, cirrhosis and liver failure. Hepatitis C is a very serious disease, however, it is very possible to manage Hepatitis C with many sufferers living a normal and active life.
What Are the Causes of Hepatitis C?
The cause of Hepatitis C is from the virus of the same name. The only way to contract the virus is by coming into contact with the blood of an infected person. There are many different ways one can contract Hepatitis C. One of the most common ways to get the disease is by the sharing of needles and other devices which are used to inject illegal drugs. Another possible way of coming into contact with infected blood includes receiving a shot with a needle that had infected blood on it. This is a common cause of Hepatitis C in many third world and developing nations, where the use of one needle on several different patients is common. Receiving a tattoo or piercing by a needle that has an infected persons blood on it is another way one can contract Hepatitis C. It is also possible, but very rare, for a mother to pass Hepatitis C to her newborn baby. If one has received an organ transplant or blood transfusion procedure before 1992, it is possible he or she could have had Hepatitis C. After 1992, the United States began screening all blood and organs that have been donated for the disease.
What Are the Symptoms of Hepatitis C?
People who have been recently infected with Hepatitis C generally have no symptoms. Most of the time, the symptoms that are exhibited from Hepatitis C occur once liver damage has started. If one does develop symptoms they can include fatigue, pain in the joints, abdominal pains, skin that is itchy, muscle soreness, dark urine, and jaundice (jaundice typically occurs when other symptoms have cleared).
What Options Are Available for Treatment?
The primary aim in treating Hepatitis C is to completely get rid of the virus as early as possible in order to prevent the potentially serious liver complications that usually occur. In people who have acute Hepatitis C, the treatment usually includes the use of various medications. In chronic Hepatitis C, the treatment usually depends on whether or not the infected person’s liver is damaged or not. If the infected sufferer shows signs of the chronic version of Hepatitis C, but his or her liver does not show any damage, then treatment may not be necessary. However, if liver damage is prevalent, then treatment will include a combination of different types of medications to help aid in the fight against the infection. All forms of the Hepatitis C infection require that the infected person have blood tests routinely done in order to help your doctor know how well your liver is doing and if more or less treatment is necessary.