What is Hepatitis C?
Hepatitis C is an infection of the liver which results from the contamination of a person with the Hepatitis C Virus, known as HCV. Hepatitis C is recognized to be the most serious, dangerous and invasive form of Hepatitis. This disease can evolve rapidly and cause irremediable damage to the human liver.
Symptoms of Hepatitis C
Many patients do not experience any kind of symptoms during an infection with HCV. In the rare cases when the infection does cause symptoms in a patient, they are usually similar to those of the flu. Therefore, Hepatitis C can make a person feel tired, nauseous and feverish. There is, however, a symptom which is characteristic to Hepatitis, symptom which consists of a yellow pigmentation of the skin and the white parts of the eyes, known as jaundice. However, jaundice is specific to any kind of hepatic infection and it cannot be solely associated with HCV.
How is Hepatitis C Transmitted?
Unlike Hepatitis B, the cases of transmission of Hepatitis C through sexual contact are rather rare. This specific type of Hepatitis is more often transmitted through direct contact with infected blood which may occur as a result of using unsterilized needles or other similar objects. This does not mean, however, that the chances of getting Hepatitis C through unprotected sex are null. Even though it is unlikely, getting infected in such a way is still possible. Moreover, unprotected sex can expose you to the risk of other sexual transmitted infections which have been directly linked to Hepatitis C. For example, HIV positive persons are more likely to develop Hepatitis C.
Testing and Diagnosis of Hepatitis C
It is important to diagnose Hepatitis C as early as possible, in order to limit the damage that the infection can cause to the liver. The problem is that, in most cases, the disease does not cause any specific symptoms in the patient, who may therefore be unaware of the infection. It is important to keep a record of your activities which may have exposed you to HCV and see a doctor if you suspect that you may have recently been in a context favorable to an infection. It is always a good idea to get regularly checked by a doctor in order to detect a possible infection while it is still in an early stage.
In order to establish whether you have an HCV infection, your doctor will perform a variety of tests. In the beginning, he will want to look at your medical record in order to see what kind of related infections you have had before. Furthermore, your doctor will want you to answer some relevant questions about the potential situations which may have led to an infection. Have you injected illegal substances into your body? Do you have any tattoos? What about piercings?
The next step the doctor is going to take is the one of blood exams. He will collect a blood sample and analyze it. If HCV antibodies are found in your blood, it means you are infected. In order to complete the diagnosis, the doctor may also want to analyze a liver biopsy.
Cures and Treatments of Hepatitis C
To the present day, researches are still aiming to conceive efficient medications for the treatment of Hepatitis C. The medications that are now available have not proven their efficiency in removing the virus from the body. However, a therapy will certainly reduce the risk of liver damage on the long term. Such a therapy does not involve solely a medication based treatment, but also the adoption of healthier eating and drinking habits by the patient.
Given the seriousness of the disease, it can be stated that the most efficient treatment is actually vaccination, which will prevent the infection from occurring in the first place.