Hepatitis C is a virus that mainly affects the liver. Over time, it can lead to the development of cirrhosis, liver failure and even liver cancer.
Many individuals are not aware of having the condition until there is already some degree of damage to the liver which can take up to years. Some who develop hepatitis C have it for a brief period and then eventually get better which is called as the acute form. On the other hand, some who are infected progress into the chronic form.
Even though hepatitis C can be quite serious, many can manage the condition and continue with active lives.
Hepatitis C is triggered by the hepatitis C virus that spreads via contact with the blood of an infected individual.
- Sharing needles and other equipment
- Blood transfusion or organ transplant
- Using a needle with infected blood on it
- Tattoo or piercing
In rare instances, a mother with the infection can pass the virus to the child during pregnancy or childbirth or a healthcare worker might be accidentally exposed to the blood infected with hepatitis C.
The risk for acquiring hepatitis C via sexual contact is small. The risk is heightened if having several sex partners or engaging in unprotected sexual contact that involves contact with blood or exchange of blood with an infected individual.
What are the indications?
Many do not have any symptoms when they initially acquire the hepatitis C virus. If the symptoms develop, it includes the following:
- Appetite loss
- Nausea or vomiting
- Joint pain
- Itchy skin
- Abdominal pain
- Sore muscles
- Dark-colored urine
- Yellow-tinged skin and eyes that only appears after the other symptoms have settled
Many individuals might progress to the chronic type but still do not have any symptoms. This is the reason why it is common for individuals to have the condition for 15 years or longer before it is diagnosed.
The individual should discuss with the doctor regarding the right treatment such as antiviral medications since it might not be suitable for everybody.
If medications are taken, it involves a combination to fight the infection. The effectiveness of these medications depends on how severely the liver is damaged, severity of the infection and type of hepatitis.
Proper care of the body is a vital part of treatment. Some with hepatitis C do not notice any change in how they feel while others feel sick, tired or depressed. The individual might feel better if eating a healthy diet and exercising. In addition, it is vital to avoid alcohol and prohibited drugs and certain medications to prevent further damage to the liver.