Hepatitis C is a viral disease that causes inflammation of the liver. It is primarily spread in men by coming in contact with infected persons bodily fluids. Other possible ways in which you can catch the disease include blood transfusions, organ replacements, sharing syringes to inject drugs, getting tattoos with a dirty needle, sexual contact with the person having Hepatitis C, and being born from a mother carrying the virus all can result in spreading of this medical problem.
Studies show that hepatitis C is more common in men than women. The disease develops in two stages “Acute hepatitis” and “Chronic Hepatitis”. An acute infection is short-term and shows symptoms within six months after the initial exposure to the virus but sometimes acute infection leads to a chronic Infection. Chronic infections shows very delayed or no symptoms and can last lifetime. Chronic infection also leads to scarring of liver or liver cancer.
Symptoms of Hepatitis C
Hepatitis C often does not show any signs or have very mild symptoms. These symptoms appear after six to seven months of exposure, and sometimes take even longer time to appear. Many people have no idea they have contracted the disease. The reason for delayed symptoms is the fact that all these signs are associated with the extent of damage to the liver.
Following are some of the most common hepatitis C symptoms you should look out for.
- Joint pains
- Swelling of abdomen due to accumulation of fluid
- Swelling of the legs
- Pain in the right side of abdomen
- Low fever
- Blood vomiting
- Loss of sleep (insomnia)
- Yellow color in skin and eyes
Treatment and Management of Hepatitis C
Treatment for hepatitis C depends on many things, like what type of hepatitis C virus the patient has. Many new treatment options for hepatitis C are being introduced. However, until recently, the most popular method for treating hepatitis was a blend of shots and pills. Often this included combination of a shot of interferon with the pills ribavirin, which caused unpleasant side effects.
Following are the hepatitis C drugs that FDA has approved. These medications include:
- Interferon alfa-2b (Intron A)
- Ledipasvir-sofosbuvir (Harvoni)
- Boceprevir (Victrelis)
- Simeprevir (Olysio)
- Daclatasvir (Daklinza)
- Elbasvir-grazoprevir (Zepatier)
- Ombitasvir-paritaprevir-ritonavir (Technivie)
- Telaprevir (Incivek)
- Ombitasvir, paritaprevir, dasabuvir, ritonavir (Viekira Pak)
- Peginterferon alfa-2a (Pegasys, Pegasys Proclick)
- Ribavirin (Copegus, Moderiba ,Rebetol, RibaPak, RibaTab, Ribasphere Ribasphere Ribapak, Virazole)
- Peginterferon alfa-2b (PEGIntron, Peg Intron RP, Sylatron)
- Sofosbuvir (Sovaldi)
There are certain cases where patients do not require treatment for the hepatitis C, as their immune system fights the virus on its own. Many people cannot handle the side effects of these medicines. Only your doctor can decide which course of action is best for you.
Life is a blessing and is given only once. One should be very conscious about his health, should always take the precautionary measures not to let Hepatitis C ruin their lives. Hepatitis C is more common in men than in women, and it can easily be avoided by taking extra care and precautionary measures.
The liver is an important and vital organ of the human body. Our health and quality of life depend upon a healthy liver. Hepatitis C is a serious medical condition that can lead to permanent damage and scarring of the liver. Public awareness is an important step regulatory authorities should take, in order to educate people how to avoid practices that can possibly lead to catching the hepatitis C virus.
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