All You Need to Know About HEPATITIS C (HCV)
As you may read on our portal there are several different types of Hepatitis and all of them are called by the letter (alphabetically). Hepatitis C is an inflammatory liver disease caused by the corresponding virus and there can be two form of it – acute and chronic. If acute hepatitis won’t be treated it can result in its chronic form or even liver cancer.
Unfortunately, every year the amount of infected people is growing, it is related to the growth of the drug addiction, but there are some other ways to be infected. For the moment sad statistic data tells us that it is 3% of all people on the planet who are infected with HCV.
How Hepatitis C is Transmitted?
- This virus can be transmitted through blood, so making a tattoo, piercing or manicure can be a dangerous thing. Also, you can be infected at dental office or during the blood transfusion.
- You could be infected when injected with a needle, widespread problem among addicts.
- The probability to get hepatitis C virus by sexual transmission is about 4%. Random and unprotected sex are the reasons. You can’t identify infected person by some visible signs.
- Hepatitis C is not transmitted during pregnancy, but it can occur during the childbirth, when there is chance of blood contact. Sometimes there are pathologies, such as placenta integrity violation during the pregnancy.
Note: besides these four items that are cases related to personal contact with infected blood. There is a chance to get Hepatitis C from alcohol, medications and some toxins. They can simply cause liver inflammation, swelling and eventual disease.
What Are the Symptoms of Hepatitis C?
Symptoms may not appear at all until the disease progresses to cirrhosis – jaundice and vascular asterisks may appear and also your stomach may grow in size. Remember that cirrhosis is usually developed within five years, so it takes time, use it to make all the tests and prevent such a horrible HVC form.
However, among the symptoms there may be chronic fatigue, high temperature, dark urine, abdominal pain and weakness, as you can see these are not the symptoms that you can easily identify as HCV. That is why the process of testing is so important.
HCV Testing and Diagnosis
A standard HCV test provide complete information about the virus, its genotype and detailed picture of the liver condition. Doctors can do the following:
- Biochemical blood tests to establish structural and functional state of the liver cells.
- Ultrasound test.
- Assessment of the fibrosis degree (Fibroscan, FibroMax, Fibrotest).
An important and necessary part of all testing is the elimination of contraindications for the future therapy, as antiviral drugs instruction prohibits their usage in case the patient has pathologies.
Note: How to avoid false results in tests for hepatitis C?
The standard test for anti-HCV (linked immunosorbent assay) is confirmed by an auxiliary test of recombinant immunoblotting or by detection of the RNA virus (genome diagnostics by polymerase chain reaction). RNA analysis may also give false-negative results, so it is usually repeated.
Is There Any Treatment for Hepatitis C?
Note: your treatment should start with the tests and diagnostic!
There are several ways to fight HCV:
- Alternative treatment.
The international standard for the HCV treatment is a combination therapy with interferon and ribavirin. Doses and the duration are managed by the doctor in each individual case as it depends on many factors.
Among the most classic medications are Sofosbuvir, Boceprevir, Ribavirin, Simeprevir, Harvoni and Simeprevir.
Usually therapy takes about 48 weeks and only half of all diseased became healthy. In other cases different side effects are possible.
Note: HCV doesn’t always demand any treatment at all, your immune system is capable of clearing the virus.
As for the surgery – this is liver transplantation, when HCV came up to cirrhosis. We perfectly understand that people are very afraid of possible risks as surgery is always a last resort, but we can say that survival rate is pretty high and it is about 72% of all operated that live with a transplanted liver up to 5 years more.
As for alternative treatment – you can believe in probiotics, acupuncture, unicorns… Kidding, but even if you’re trying some alternative ways, please, don’t ignore your doctor’s recommendations. At least combine alt. and medication.
What If Hepatitis C Not Treated?
Long-lasting and non-treated HCV can result in liver scarring or even cancer and as the last stage – liver can stop functioning. The earlier you’ll start treatment – the better. The consequences of not-treated-hepatitis can be a disaster, but in a real world – it’s a rare thing. Usually patients receive effective treatment.
How You Can Prevent Hepatitis C?
The first 6 things you can do to prevent HCV are:
- Hand hygiene. Use disposable gloves and wash hands when you’re interacting people and can touch blood.
- Safe sex – use condoms.
- Use personal shaving accessories.
- Use sealed disposable syringes.
- Use personal devices for nails care.
- Avoid blood-to-blood contact.
In case you are already infected – choose an appropriate medical care and monitor your condition. Please, make sure that your therapist is qualified and inform your partner and relatives that you’re infected.
What Side Effects Can You Get After HCV?
Note: these side effects not include possible after-surgery complications.
Appetite loss, headache, weakness and maybe nausea, hair loss is possible, low blood counts, anxiety, anemia due to hemolysis, dyspnea cough, insomnia.