Hepatitis C symptoms

Hepatitis C Symptoms, Testing and Treatment

Hepatitis C  is caused by Hepatitis C virus which mainly affects liver. This virus can cause infection in acute and chronical stage ranging in severity from a mild illness lasting a few weeks to a serious, lifelong illness. A significant number of patients who are chronically affected by Hepatitis C, develops liver cancer or liver cirrhosis.

In United states, Hepatitis C related deaths reached an all-time high in 2014, at the same time data from CDC shows an alarming rise in the cases of Hepatitis C in mainly those with a history of using injectable drugs. Approximately 70,000 died due to Hepatitis C-liver related disease.

Hepatitis C is a blood borne virus which can cause due to unsafe injection practices, inadequate sterilization of medical equipment, and the transfusion of un-screened blood and blood products.

Early Symptoms of Hepatitis C in Men

The incubation period of hepatitis C is 3 weeks to 6 months. Approximately 80% of the cases doesn’t exhibits any symptoms at all. Remaining 20% may exhibit the following symptoms in the acute stage of Hepatitis C

  • jaundice (yellowing of skin and the whites of the eyes).
  • fatigue
  • decreased appetite
  • nausea
  • vomiting
  • abdominal pain
  • dark urine
  • grey-colored faeces
  • joint pain

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What can happen if the Hepatitis C goes untreated ?

There is a big problem with Hepatitis C, even if it is treated the virus remains in the dormant state and the body shows signs of being cured. Around 80% of the people infected with the virus aren’t able to clear it from their bodies. Thus the chronic hepatitis C can lead to dangerous health conditions and complications in various parts of the body like Kidney, liver, brain, joints, bones etc.

Hepatitis C diagnosis ?

It takes 2 weeks for the test result of hepatitis C to reflect using the disease in blood. Test named 1) PCR and 2)antibody test are used.

1.Antibody Test

It is the antibody blood test used to determine if you have ever been exposed to the Hepatitis C Virus. During this test, the presence of anti bodies produced by the body’s immune system determines the infection of Hepatitis C. Our immunity system produces these antibodies to fight against the Hepatitis C virus.

A positive test indicates that you have been infected at some stage, but not necessarily means you are currently infected. The only way to tell if you are currently infected is to have a second blood test, called a PCR test.

2.PCR Test

It checks the presence of the virus inside the body. Positive means the body has not fought off the virus and the infection has progressed to a long-term (chronic) stage.

Also read :What causes the Rise in STD rate among Teenagers.

Hepatitis C treatment

About 90% of the persons infected by Hepatitis C gets cured with the consumption of antibiotics thus preventing the number of fatalities due to this disease, but access to diagnosis and treatment is low. 

Hepatitis C can be treated by the combination of change in routine and medication (usually in the combination of 2-3)

Change is Routine : Change in routine life to take care not to help limit any damage to liver and prevent the infection spreading to others. This involves the following

  • eating a healthy & balanced diet
  • exercising
  • not sharing syringe and needles in any form.
  • limiting intake of alcohol
  • quit smoking
  • strict personal hygiene

Hepatitis C medication

  • pegylated interferon – it increases the immune system to fight against the virus
  • ribavirin :stops virus reproduction.

How to Prevent yourself from Hepatitis C?

    • Use safety precautions while in use of drugs and never share needles.
    • Practice safe sex, avoid sex with multiple partners
    • Don’t share personal items like your toothbrush or razor.
    • Avoid alcohol, eat healthy diet
    • exercise regularly
    • control your weight as obesity can make difficult to treat
    • Regular STD check up.

Also read : Untreated STD : Shocking Health Risk