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Hepatitis C

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Part of Body Hep C damages most

Hepatitis C is an enlargement or inflammation of the liver. About four million people are diagnosed with it in the United States. The majority of the people who have the disease were born from 1946 to 1964; about 75 percent of people who have Hepatitis C were born during that period. The new generation of people who have Hepatitis C usually get it from sharing needles, and other dangerous acts, that caused the transportation of blood from multiple people. As will be described in greater detail injected drugs are the most common way of people get Hepatitis C. The lack of symptoms for Hepatitis C makes it a dangerous disease. That is why screening can really save people from Hepatitis C. Doctors have now recently found a pill that can cure Chronic Hepatitis C, the price is very expensive, but can be a tremendous help. Because of the cure that are being found, doctors project Hepatitis C to be a rare disease in the United States by 2036. [1]

Symptoms

Jaundice eyes

Hepatitis C often have minor symptoms when first infected; this is why some refer to the infection as "silent". About half of the people that have Hepatitis C do not know they have it because of the lack of symptoms. The first step of Hep C is called the acute phase. This phase has symptoms that appear one to three months after first being infected by the disease. Some of those symptoms include dark colored urine, felling tired, muscle and joint pain, nausea and many more. [2] Some people infected by Hepatitis C have it cleared from their body after the acute phase People go through a process known as the spontaneous viral clearance. Studies have shown wide variety between people cleared and uncleared. Some statistics show around fourteen to fifty percent of the infected have been cleared by spontaneous viral clearance. Having Long term Hepatitis C or better known as Chronic Hepatitis C is the result of people not know they are infected for many years. When the liver is damaged from years of the infection many symptoms starts showing up, which is why screening for Hepatitis C is very important. Some signs include bleeding easily, poor appetite, swelling of the leg, Jaundice and many more. Jaundice is arguably the most common symptom of Hepatitis C, because it occurs both in acute phase and chronic phase. Jaundice is a condition that causes yellow eyes and skin, which is seen on the image. Dangerous results of Chronic Hepatitis C can lead to liver cancer. [2]

Causes and Preventions

Needles that can cause Hepatitis C

There are many causes and preventative measures we could take to protect ourselves from Hepatitis C. The causes of Hepatitis C originate from the transportation of blood from one person to another. HCV virus gets into the cell making copies of one another and circulate throughout the body. [3] The first is to never share needles. Many drug users share needles, which is seen on the image, and isn't a safe practice. If ever dealing with blood or sores wear a glove to protect yourself. Even sharing razors, nail clippers and toothbrushes can be dangerous. Blood can be exposed onto any one of these items, so make sure to use your own. The final preventative measure you can take is to be cautious when getting piercings or tattoos. Be positive the tattoo artist is using sterile needles when giving you a tattoo. These are some simple steps to reducing your chances of receiving Hepatitis C. [4]

Treatments / Complication

Sofosbuvir chemical structure

Hepatitis C has had major recent advancement in the treatment of the infection. In the past doctors would give shots of interferon (a protein), to help fight the immune system. These shots have a fifty percent success rate. Today there are pills called Sofosbuvir that do not include interferons. As you can see in the image the pill is very complicated. [4] These pills are easy to take and have a ninety percent cure rate. Although all of these factors sound great the price is extremely expensive. Taking one of these pills a day costs over $1000. [5] Some insurances do not want to pay for these pills, and there has been lawsuits; also people are upset that some countries don't charge nearly as much as the United States for these pills, but that is a separate discussion. There are also some other ways doctors treat Hepatitis C. Depending on the patient they may require a physical exam, where they check if swelling has occurred in the legs, or they check of changing skin colors. Some doctors might propose a blood test. They may have screenings to check for antibodies in the blood, if your results turn negative you have not had Hepatitis C, while if you are positive you go through another step. This is called an RNA test; these tests shows doctors the amount of virus contained in the blood. Genotype test may be taken to discover what type of Hepatitis C you are diagnosed with. If you have Chronic Hepatitis C more tests will be added on, and finally the patient will receive the proper medicine.

A couple of complications with Hepatitis C include: Cirrhosis- A condition when the liver is slowly breaking down. It prevents blood flow throughout the liver. As Cirrhosis comes worse so does the liver. As it lasts longer in the liver, the more damage it will do [1] According to George Y a professor of medicine at Connecticut Medical Center Cirrhosis "usually occurs when the liver is damaged over an extended period of time" [6]. Some possible symptoms of these include swelling of the legs, Enlarged blood vessels in esophagus and stomach, greater sensitivity to blood, kidney and lung failure, and more. Hepatitis C and alcoholism are the main causes of Cirrhosis. Having Hepatitis C and Cirrhosis causes you to have a higher chance of Liver Cancer. seventy to ninety percent of people who have liver cancer have Cirrhosis.They are similar to the symptoms of Hepatitis C, because the symptoms are not noticeable for a long time. People do survive liver cancer, but the survival rate is low.

Video

Symptoms Indicating Hepatitis C

Viral Diseases

References

  1. 1.0 1.1 C Hepatits C "National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Disease. Web.
  2. 2.0 2.1 Hepatitis C Mayo Clinic. no author. Mayo Clinic. March 6, 2018.(Date of Publication.)
  3. today Everything You need to know about Hepatitis C .web. 28 Sep, 2017 (last updated)
  4. 4.0 4.1 Understanding Hepatitis C prevention WebMD.
  5. times Will Hepatitis C costs drop in years ahead .web. 8 February, 2017 (date of publication)
  6. Health Cirrhosis and liver cancer "Everyday Health". web.