About 3.9 million people in the U.S. have the disease.
The most common in the U.S. is type 1.
The illness affects people in different ways and has several stages:
Incubation period. This is the time between first exposure to the start of the disease.
Acute hepatitis C.
After that, some people who have it will get rid of, or clear, the virus on their own.
Chronic hepatitis C. If your body doesn’t clear the virus on its own once half-dozen months, it becomes a long-term infection.
This can lead to serious health problems like liver cancer or cirrhosis.
Cirrhosis. This disease leads to inflammation that, over time, replaces your healthy liver cells with scar tissue. It usually takes about 20 to 30 years for this to happen, though it can be faster if you drink alcohol or have HIV.
Liver cancer. Cirrhosis makes liver cancer more likely. Your doctor will make sure you get regular screenings because there are usually no symptoms in the early stages. Read the seven….
Symptoms of Hepatitis C
Many people with hepatitis C have no symptoms. But between 2 weeks and 6 months after the virus enters your bloodstream, you could notice:
Loss of appetite
Symptoms usually last for 2 to 12 weeks
Symptoms of End-Stage Liver Disease
You could notice acute symptoms along with:
Fluid buildup in the abdominal cavity (ascites) or the legs (edema)
Your brain doesn’t work as well (encephalopathy)
Easy bleeding and bruising
Problems with memory and concentration
Spider-like veins on the skin
Vomiting blood due to bleeding in the lower esophagus (esophageal varices)
Weight loss. Read syphilis….
How Hep C Spread
You can catch it from:
Sharing injection drugs and needles
Being stuck by infected needles
Sharing personal care items like toothbrushes, razor blades, and nail clippers
Getting a tattoo or piercing with unclean equipment
You can’t catch hepatitis C through:
Breastfeeding (unless nipples are cracked and bleeding)
Sharing eating utensils
Sharing food or drink
Risk Factors for Have Hepatitis C
The CDC recommends you get tested for the disease if you:
Received blood from a donor who had the disease
Have ever injected or inhaled drugs
Had a blood transfusion or an organ transplant before July 1992
Received a blood product used to treat clotting problems before 1987
Were born between 1945 and 1965, the age group with the highest rate of infection
Have been on long-term kidney dialysis
Were born to a mother with hepatitis C
Have symptoms of liver disease
Got a tattoo or piercing with unclean equipment
Are or have ever been in prison
Testing and Diagnosis
Doctors will start by checking your blood for:
Anti-HCV antibodies: These are proteins your body makes when it finds the hep C virus in your blood. They usually show up about 12 weeks after infection.
It usually takes a few days to a week to get results, though a rapid test is available in some places.
The results can be:
Nonreactive, or negative:
That may mean you don’t have hep C.
If you’ve been exposed in the last 6 months, you’ll need to be retested.
Reactive, or positive:
That means you have hep C antibodies and you’ve been infected at some point.
You’ll need another test to make sure.
If your antibody test is positive, you’ll get this test:
HCV RNA: It measures the number of viral RNA (genetic material from the hepatitis virus) particles in your blood. They usually show up 1-2 weeks after you’re infected.
The results can be:
Negative: You don’t have hep C.
Positive: You currently have hep C.
As part of the diagnosis process, you might also get:
Liver function tests: They measure proteins and enzyme levels, which usually rise 7 to 8 weeks after you’re infected. As your liver gets damaged, enzymes leak into your bloodstream. But you can have normal enzyme levels and still have hepatitis C.
Treatment for Hepatitis C
But hepatitis C treatments have changed a lot in recent years. Now you’re more likely to get one of these medications:
Ledipasvir-sofosbuvir (Harvoni ).
Glecaprevir and pibrentasvir (Mavyret).
Peginterferon (Pegasys). You take this medicine as a shot under your skin once a week. Try to take it the same day at the same time. You might take it alone or with other medications. You’ll take it for 12 to 24 weeks.
Ribavirin (Copegus, Moderiba, , Ribasphere, Virazole). This comes as a tablet, capsule, or liquid. You take it with food twice a day, in the morning and evening, for 24 to 48 weeks or longer.
Sofosbuvir (Sovaldi) with interferon and ribavirin. Take this tablet at the same time every day with food. You have to take it along with ribavirin and/or interferon, and you’ll probably be on it for 12 to 24 weeks.
Ombitasvir-paritaprevir-dasabuvir-ritonavir (Viekira Pack). This treatment is a combo of pills: two that you’ll take once a day, and one you’ll take twice with meals. You’ll take it for 12 to 24 weeks.
had certain treatments.
Elbasvir-grazoprevir ( Zepatier ).
Low blood counts
Complications of Hepatitis C
Prevent Hepatitis C by
There’s no vaccine to prevent hepatitis C. To help avoid getting the virus:
Don’t share personal items like razors.
Be careful if you get a tattoo, body piercing, or manicure. The equipment may have someone else’s blood on it. Read Hepatitis b…..