Hepatitis C. Is a liver infection that can cause serious damage to the liver. He is challenged With hepatitis C virus (HCV).
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The hepatitis C virus (HCV) causes both acute and chronic infections. Acute HCV infections are usually asymptomatic and most do not cause life-threatening disease. In approximately 30% (15-45%) of those infected, the virus is spontaneously eliminated within 6 months of infection without any treatment.
The remaining 70% (55-85%) develop chronic HCV Infection. The risk of developing cirrhosis in patients with chronic HCV infection ranges from 15% to 30% over 20 years.
Stages of hepatitis C.
Hepatitis C has several stages of development:
Incubation period. This is the time from infection to the onset of the disease. It can last from 14 to 80 days, but on average 45 days.
Acute hepatitis C. It is a short-lived disease that lasts for the first 6 months after the virus enters the body. After that, some people, by themselves, get rid of the virus.
Chronic hepatitis C. In the majority of patients with hepatitis C (up to 85%) the disease progresses to a prolonged stage (more than 6 months). This is called chronic hepatitis C and can lead to serious health problems such as liver cancer or cirrhosis.
Cirrhosis. This disease causes inflammation that over time replaces healthy liver cells with scar tissue. It usually takes about 20 to 30 years, though it can happen even faster if you consume alcohol or have HIV.
Liver cancer. Cirrhosis increases the likelihood of liver cancer. In this case, you should have regular check-ups, because liver cancer usually does not show symptoms at an early stage of development.
How to transfer C Hepatitis?
The virus is transmitted By contact with blood. This can happen in the following cases:
- Organ transplantation;
- Sharing items such as shavers or toothbrushes;
- Needle sharing;
- Childbirth (an infected mother during childbirth can pass the virus to the baby);
- Sexual contact (if contact with blood is observed during contact);
- Tattooing or piercing with non-sterile equipment.
You may also be re-infected with the virus if you have had it before.
Hepatitis C cannot be infected in the following cases:
- Breastfeeding (if the breasts are not damaged and no bleeding is observed);
- Random contact;
- Coughing and wheezing;
- Holding hands;
- Mosquito bite;
- Pottery sharing;
- Sharing food or drink.
Symptoms of hepatitis C.
Not all people with the hepatitis C virus have symptoms. In fact, about 80 percent of people do not notice any signs of the disease when they first become infected with the virus.
If detected, the symptoms may vary depending on which form of the disease you have - acute or chronic.
Acute hepatitis C.
Acute infection is detected within 6 months of contact with the virus. Symptoms may appear within 2-12 weeks of exposure to the virus.
Symptoms that may occur include the following:
- Prolonged fatigue
- Pain in the joints
- Nausea or stomach pain
- Loss of appetite
- Dark urine
- Gray or pale stools and
These symptoms are mostly mild and last for only a few weeks. Sometimes, your body can fight infection on its own, so you may not even need treatment for acute hepatitis C.
When you do not have any symptoms, you may not even realize you are infected. But you can still pass the virus on to others, even when you have no symptoms.
Chronic hepatitis C.
If the hepatitis C virus is not eliminated from the body, acute hepatitis C will become chronic. The chronic form of hepatitis C, unlike acute, does not go away on its own and without treatment the symptoms may worsen. These symptoms can have long-term health-related consequences. Chronic process can lead to permanent liver damage and liver cancer.
Signs of chronic hepatitis C include:
- Constant fatigue
- General unpleasant sensation
- Joint and muscle pain
- Digestive disorders, bloating and stomach pain
- Unexplained weight loss
- Swelling in the lower extremities
- Itchy skin
- Dark urine
- Mood swings, including feelings of depression or anxiety
- Concentration and memory problems
- Difficulty sleeping
Complications of hepatitis C.
Hepatitis C infection, which lasts for many years, can lead to significant complications such as:
Liver scars (cirrhosis). Decades after hepatitis C infection, cirrhosis can develop. Scars in the liver complicate the work of the liver.
Liver cancer. A small number of people with hepatitis C may develop liver cancer.
Liver failure. Distant cirrhosis can cause your liver to stop functioning.
Screening C On hepatitis This is especially important if you are at high risk for exposure (if there are risk factors - see below)
If a primary blood test shows that you have hepatitis C, additional blood tests should be done to determine the amount of virus (viral load) and genotype in the blood.
Studies to assess liver damage
- Magnetic resonance elastography (MRE) - a non-invasive alternative to liver biopsy.
- Transitional elastography
- Liver biopsy
- Blood tests
When should we take the test C About hepatitis?
You should be tested for hepatitis C if you have any of the following risk factors:
- Are you a healthcare worker who has come into contact with infected blood (infected needle skin damage);
- Have you ever taken illegal drugs intravenously or by inhalation;
- Do you have HIV / AIDS;
- Are you pregnant (test during each pregnancy);
- You have been pierced or tattooed in a non-sterile environment using non-sterile equipment;
- Transfuse blood or have an organ transplant before 1992;
- Transfusion until 1987, a blood product used to treat clotting problems;
- You have had to undergo hemodialysis for treatment for a long time;
- Have you ever been to prison;
- When you gave birth to you, your mother was infected with hepatitis C;
- You were born in 1945-1965;
- Have you had a sexually transmitted disease;
- Are you a bisexual or homosexual man;
- Do you have many partners;
- Do you have unsatisfactory liver test results;
New infections with HCV do not always require treatment because in some people the immune system actively fights and defeats the infection. However, when HCV infection becomes chronic, treatment is necessary. The goal of treatment for hepatitis C is to cure the disease.
Used to treat hepatitis C:
- Antiviral medications The goal of treatment is not to detect the hepatitis C virus in your body for at least 12 weeks after the end of treatment.
- Liver transplantation - If you have serious complications as a result of chronic hepatitis C infection, liver transplantation may be a treatment option. However, in most cases, liver transplantation alone does not cure hepatitis C. The infection is likely to return, requiring treatment with antiviral medications to prevent transplanted liver damage.
- Safe and proper medical injections;
- Safe handling and disposal of sharp objects and waste;
- Providing comprehensive harm reduction services to intravenous drug users;
- Donor blood testing for HBV and HCV (as well as HIV and syphilis);
- Training of healthcare staff;
- Prevention of contact with blood during sexual intercourse;
- Safe piercing and tattooing;
- Safe sexual contact.
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