What Are The Symptoms of Hepatitis C?
Hepatitis C is a liver disease that has symptoms that are similar to both Hepatitis A and Hepatitis B. It is contagious. A lot of infected people experience no symptoms and the disease ranges in severity from a mild sickness lasting a few weeks to a life-long, chronic illness.
Hepatitis C is caused by the Hepatitis C virus (HCV). It spreads from person to person when infected blood comes into contacted with somebody who is not infected. There are two different designations that describe how seriously somebody is infected with Hepatitis C: an acuted Hepatitis C infection and a chronic Hepatitis C infection.
Acute Hepatitis C infections are short term sicknesses that occur within the first six months of somebody contracting the disease. The majority of people who suffer from an acute Hepatitis C infection will develop a chronic Hepatitis C infection. A chronic Hepatitis C infection is a long term sickness that people come down with when the Hepatitis C virus remains in their bodies. It can last until death and cause severe liver problems, including scarring, which is known as cirrhosis, and liver cancer. Up to 85% of people who become infected with the Hepatitis C virus will develop a chronic infection.
In the past, Hepatitis C was commonly spread from person to person through organ transplants and blood transfusions. Since 1992, however, the disease has been screened for. Nowadays, its most common method of transmission is when people share needles to inject drugs. It can also be spread sexually. Newborns can also catch the disease if they are born to an infected mother.
The symptoms of Hepatitis C are similar to the other Hepatitis diseases. Many people do not experience any symptoms of the disease and are therefore unaware of the fact that they have it.
Hepatitis C comes in multiple forms. The most common form in the United States is known as type 1. They are all equally serious, just not equally common.
For the people that do experience symptoms, these include: dark urine, jaundice (yellow skin and eyes), loss of apetite, fatigue, stomach pain and nausea.
Hepatitis C can be spread through needles, blood transfusions, from mother to child during birth and through sexual activity. It is not spread through food or water or by touching infected people.
Hepatitis C can only be diagnosed through a blood test. If any of the following criteria apply to you, it is recommended that you get tested for hepatitis C: if you have ever injected drugs, received blood from an infected person, were born between 1945 and 1965, have HIV, were born to a mother with hepatitis C or if you received treatment for clotting problems before 1987.
Hepatitis C is treated nowadays with a drug cocktail that consists of elbasvir and grazoprevir. This has been shown to be able to cure the disease in nearly every patient that it has been tried on. This has been the standard treatment since 2016.
Of course, what treatment you receive is heavily dependent on what type of hepatitis C you have. As was mentioned earlier, the most common type of hepatitis C in the United States is known as type 1. Types 2 and 3 are also somewhat common in the United States, while types 4, 5 and 6 are extremely rare.
There is no vaccine for hepatitis C. The steps you can take to avoid coming down with it are to always use condoms during sexual activity, refrain from sharing razors, be cautious about tattoo equipment and to make sure you do not donate blood if you know you are infected.