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Hepatitis C


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Hepatitis is infection of the liver and hepatitis C is caused by the hepatitis C virus. The contagious infection spreads through the blood and can potentially damage the liver. Hepatitis C is considered to be the most serious of all hepatitis viruses and so the inflammation.


Symptoms of hepatitis C infection

The symptoms might or might not show up for several months and they differ from people to people. If the virus settles in your body for some time, then you would be experiencing: 

  • Jaundice, yellowing of the skin and white portion of the eyes
  • Loss of appetite
  • Tiredness and exhaustion
  • Achy muscles and joints
  • Fever
  • Nausea
  • Abdominal pain


Cause and risk factors for hepatitis C

Hep C virus gets transmitted via blood. Risk factors for acquiring the infection include: 

  • Unprotected sexual contact with hepatitis C infected person
  • Exchange of infected needles, including non sterile tattoo needles
  • Weak immune system- HIV/AIDS, drug addicts
  • Workers in hospitals, laboratory technicians handling needles, blood samples of hepatitis infected patients
  • An hepatitis C infected pregnant mother can pass on the infection to her baby


When to see a doctor?

You would generally not feel well when infected by hepatitis. See your doctor on experiencing any of those aforementioned symptoms.


Complications of hepatitis C

Health complications of hepatitis C are more prominent in victims of alcohol abuse, those with a pre existing medical condition like diabetes, have been infected with hep B or A previously or are STD patients. They might suffer from liver cirrhosis, liver cancer or liver failure in the long run.


Diagnosis of hepatitis C

Your doctor will evaluate the symptoms of hepatitis infection and check if you have succumbed to any of those aforementioned risk factors.

Blood tests will be suggested to confirm the presence of hepatitis C virus. It includes enzyme immuno-assays (EIAs) test for detecting antibodies against the virus in the blood.

Blood test is also conducted to determine the viral load in your body which is done by measuring hepatitis C virus RNA through PCR test.

Depending on the blood test reports, your doctor would also recommend liver function tests, albumin tests and possibly liver biopsy as well.


Treatment of hepatitis C

Your doctor will prescribe your anti viral medicines that would stop further viral replication and henceforth reduce the viral load.

Along with that fever and pain are usually managed with paracetamol, which you must take under your doctor’s advice.

If the infection has damaged your liver completely, then you doctor might consider a liver transplant as the last choice.


Self care for hepatitis C

You need to take ample rest to accelerate recovery. Take break from work until you get well completely

Your doctor will advise you a special diet which will include simple home cooked foods, especially fresh vegetables. Stop eating outside.


Prevention of hepatitis C

Hepatitis C can be prevented with the help of hepatitis C vaccine. Check with your doctor about getting the shots.

It is important to note that currently screening is done for individuals born between 1945 to 1965 and also for pregnant mothers.

Talk to your doctor regarding preventive measures and how to eliminate the risk of acquiring the infection.

Written by: healthplus24.com team
Date last updated: April 13, 2014