Hepatitis C is a viral infection leading to liver inflammation and liver diseases. The hepatitis C virus (HCV) causes it. At the initial stage of the infection, there are no symptoms of the disease. Dark urine, belly pain, yellowing of skin, muscle aches, confusion, fatigue, nausea, mood swings, and dark urine could be observed sometimes. It lasts for either short-term (acute infection) or long-term (long-term infection) duration. But in most cases, almost 70%–85% people already infected with hepatitis C suffer from long-term illness. At later stages of chronic infection, liver disease may occur and might lead to cirrhosis. It spreads via blood or body fluids contact with an infected person. Other reasons could be sharing of needles, taking drugs, having rough sex, passed from mother to child. It does not spread through sharing food and water or by casual contact. Unlike hepatitis A and hepatitis B, there is no vaccine for curing hepatitis C.
Blood sample is taken and tested in the laboratory to check the presence of the infection. For this, you do not have to go anywhere, but need to give a missed call on 0124-222-3197 and consult with the doctor free. You can log on to www.nextdoorlab.com for further details and order the blood test. The sample of your blood will be collected from your home at no cost. Sometimes if the doctor feels that your liver is damaged because of hepatitis C, he/she can go for liver biopsy. Other tests include liver function tests, screening for alcohol abuse or depression, thyroid function studies, and screening tests for coinfection with hepatitis B virus (HBV) or human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). In liver biopsy, a liver sample is obtained by inserting a needle inside the liver. Chronic hepatitis C is treated by giving medicines that act slowly and stops the liver damage caused by the virus. Regular blood tests is a good way to keep a check on the infectious state and if the treatment is working or not. The treatment lasts from 24 to 48 weeks. Liver transplant is done in the liver case of severe damage, liver cancer, or liver failure. The symptoms of severe liver damage include swollen stomach, spider angiomas, easy bruising, and itching. Other tests for hepatitis C includes HCV genotyping, hepatitis C antibody testing, RIA (recombinant immunoblot essay), serologic testing, and qualitative and quantitative assays for HCV RNA.
Protection from being infected with the HCV is possible by following the below points:
1. use gloves in case you need to touch other person’s blood
2. if getting tattooed, make sure the needles used are sterilized
3. take precautions while having sex
4. do not share needles
5. do not share personal stuff:
a. nail cutters
6. eat a healthy diet
7. do not donate blood
8. avoid drinking alcohol
9. quit smoking and
10. follow the doctor’s prescription strictly
It is important to take care of our liver because it plays many important roles in our body like removing harmful chemicals from the blood, stores energy, helps in digestion of food, stores vitamins, and helps in fighting against infections.