How Dangerous Is Hepatitis C?
Hepatitis C is a viral infection that causes hepatitis, which can lead to serious liver damage. Treatment for hepatitis C requires regular medication, with lots of side effects and pain. So how to prevent or detect and treat early? All will be answered in the article below.
Causes of hepatitis C
Hepatitis C is caused by the hepatitis C virus (HCV). Infection spreads when the virus enters the blood of an uninfected person.
Path of transmission of hepatitis C
The hepatitis C virus is a blood-borne virus. It is usually transmitted through:
Injecting drug through needle sharing;
Reuse without properly disinfecting medical devices, especially syringes and needles;
Blood transfusion without screening;
Unprotected (non-heterosexual and homosexual) sex with multiple sex partners or partners with unclear conditions, high immunity, high risk of bleeding, abrasions;
HCV can also be transmitted from an infected mother to her baby;
Hepatitis C is not spread through breast milk, food, water or casual contact such as hugging, kissing and sharing food or drinks with an infected person.
Hepatitis c is spread through blood
Stages of hepatitis C
People with hepatitis C can go through stages:
This period lasts from 14080 days from the first exposure to the source
Acute hepatitis C
Acute hepatitis C usually causes symptoms one to three months after being exposed to the virus and lasting several weeks to 06 months after the virus enters the body.
Acute hepatitis C can be removed by the body or treated with antiviral drugs.
Chronic hepatitis C
If the body does not remove the virus itself after 6 months, it becomes chronic. This can lead to serious health problems like liver cancer or cirrhosis.
The liver is inflamed, healthy liver cells are gradually replaced by scar tissue. It takes about 20-30 years for this process. It may occur faster if the person drinks alcohol or is infected with HIV
Cirrhosis leads to liver cancer.
Patients should be checked regularly because the disease usually has no symptoms in the early stages.
Symptoms of hepatitis C
Acute hepatitis C and chronic hepatitis C that cause liver damage have the following symptoms:
Easy to bleed;
Eye yellow (white irises), jaundice;
Unexplained weight loss
Confusion, often drowsiness and dementia (hepatic encephalopathy)
Floating blood vessels on the skin (Angiomas)
Jaundice and jaundice are typical symptoms of hepatitis
Risk factors enhance the likelihood of infection
The risk of hepatitis C infection is increased for:
Health care workers come into contact with infected blood, which can occur if an infected needle is stabbed into the skin;
Persons who have injected drugs;
People with HIV infection;
The tattooer in the environment and tools are not disinfected properly;
People who receive blood transfusions or organ transplants whose blood has not been tested before;
People with blood clotting;
People on dialysis for a long time;
A person born to a mother infected with hepatitis C;
Being in the age group with high incidence of hepatitis C: from 55-75 years old.
Test and diagnose hepatitis C
Taking blood for testing to check:
Antibodies to HCV
These are proteins that the body makes when the hepatitis C virus is present in the blood. They usually appear about 12 weeks after infection.
It usually takes a few days to a week to get results.
The result could be:
Negative - No reaction: No hepatitis C result;
If you suspect you have been exposed to the source in the last 6 months, you may need to be retested.
Positive - Reactive: Result of hepatitis C antibody
An additional test method is needed to determine the exact situation.
Tests may include:
This test measures the amount of viral RNA (genetic material from the hepatitis virus) in the blood.
They usually appear 1-2 weeks after being infected.
The results can determine whether hepatitis C infection is present.
Liver function tests:
When the liver is damaged, liver enzymes release into the blood. Liver enzymes usually increase after 7 to 8 weeks after being infected. However, there are many people who, despite normal yeast levels, still have hepatitis C.
Liver function tests / liver biopsies also assess the degree of liver damage (fibrosis, cirrhosis) for the correct treatment regimen.
Blood test to diagnose hepatitis C
Complications of hepatitis C
Chronic hepatitis C infection can cause cirrhosis (scarring of the liver) that limits the normal functioning of the liver with complications:
Swelling in the legs, bloating and can lead to serious infections;
Angioedema of the esophagus or stomach. Once they break and cause internal bleeding, they need immediate medical attention;
Swelling of the spleen causing leukopenia or platelets;
More sensitive to the drug because the liver cannot filter them from the blood;
Hormonal insulin resistance leads to type II diabetes;
Renal and lung failure;
Liver cancer: A small number of people infected with hepatitis C may get it.
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