Hepatitis C is a contagious liver disease that varies in chronicity from a slight illness lasting for several weeks, to a more somber condition that can turn into a lifelong condition that assails the liver. It is a consequence of the Hepatitis C virus or HCV, which can be spread mainly via contact with the blood of an infected individual. Hepatitis C is considered either “acute” or “chronic.”
Hepatitis C Drugs
Hepatitis C Symptoms
Roughly, up to 80% of individuals with acute Hepatitis C have no symptoms at all. However, some people can experience mild to severe symptoms directly after being infected. These symptoms include:
- Joint pain
- Bowel movements that are clay colored
- Jaundice (yellow color in the eyes and skin)
- Stomach pain
- Dark urine
- No appetite
If symptoms appear, the standard time is six to seven weeks following exposure; however, this can vary from two-weeks to six-months. Nonetheless, most people infected with Hepatitis C will not develop symptoms.
Chronic Hepatitis C symptoms are another story. Most individuals with Hepatitis C in the severe phase do not have any symptoms. Nevertheless, if an individual has been infected for many years, their liver may become damaged. In most instances, there are no symptoms of the disease until liver problems develop. Individuals without symptoms usually find out they have Hepatitis C after a routine blood test to detect liver activity and their liver enzyme level.
Hepatitis C Causes
Various contaminants, drugs, diseases, heavy alcohol usage, in addition to viral and bacterial infections can all cause hepatitis. A person can get Hepatitis C from the blood or bodily floods of an infected individual.
- Sharing needles and drugs
- Through birth from mother to child
- Infected needles
- Having sex, particularly if a person has an STD or HIV infection, is
- promiscuous, or partakes in rough sex
A person cannot become infected with Hepatitis C via casual contact, water, or food.
Hepatitis C Diagnosis
The hepatitis C virus is diagnosed by a doctor through a antibody blood test.
People who should be tested for Hepatitis C include:
- Those who have injected drugs
- Those with chronic liver disease, HIV, or AIDS.
- Those who have donated blood or organs prior to 1992
- Those born between 1945-1965
- Those with abnormal liver tests
- Those, such as safety and health workers, who have been exposed to blood whether it be by a needle or sharp object
- Those on hemodialysis
- Those who have a mother diagnosed with Hepatitis C
Hepatitis C Treatment
Aside from self-care and prevention methods, Hepatitis C treatments methods have changed for the better. Below, you will find some of the more popularly used treatments for the Hepatitis C virus.
Medication treatment for Hepatitis C
- The latest treatment involves taking a pill called “Harvoni” once a day, which heals the disease in most individuals within two to three months. It merges two drugs: Ledipasvir and Sovaldi. During clinical trials, the only side-effects were headaches and fatigue.
- Additional options include taking a combination of Interferon (which is taken by injection) and/or Ribavirin (that comes in liquid form) along with Olysio and Solvadi.
- Ribavirin or Interferon was previously the primary treatment for Hepatitis C. Their side-effects may include nausea, diarrhea, depression, mild anxiety, skin rash, anemia, flu-like symptoms, and fatigue. In some instances, patients may experience a low blood count, hair loss, and nervousness as a treatment side-effect.
A Hepatitis C patient should speak with their doctor concerning what is right for them based upon their medical needs and insurance coverage, as the newer
Hepatitis C drugs are more costly. Consequently, the FDA has acknowledged that it has received cases of a serious skin rash developing from combination treatment with Incivek, which has led to a few deaths.