General hepatitis C information
Hepatitis C is the most encountered liver disease in both the USA and Europe. It is a viral disease caused by a family of viruses that can inflammate the liver. If it is not discovered and treated it can lead to cirrhosis and liver cancer, which can happen because hepatitis C usually doesn't show any signs and symptoms until it's too late.
It is important to know all the hepatitis C information as you can, in order to be able to prevent the illness and to know what to do in case you notice any of the symptoms in you or in a family member.
As mentioned before, the cause of hepatitis C is an infection with a virus. This virus can be spread to other people by blood to blood contact. You can get it if you share the same syringe with someone that has it, or by having sex with an infected person. You can't get hepatitis C by hugging, kissing, or touching people.
Once the virus enter the body it can take years for it to make its presence felt. Many have it and don't even know about it, some find out during a routine consultation.
At some people acute hepatitis begins right after the infection, and lasts for 6 months. In this phase, no damage is done to the liver and no symptoms appear at more than 50% of the patients. When symptoms do occur, they may include pain in the abdomen, jaundice or loss of appetite.
Some eliminate the virus from their bodies during these first 6 months, but at most people it remains in the blood. If the 6 months pass and the virus is still in the body then chronic hepatitis starts. Chronic hepatitis evolves fast, and unfortunately, it also shown almost no symptoms, so it's hard to detect it too until it already caused damage to the liver. But when the liver starts to malfunction, many symptoms appear. The most common ones are fever, abdominal pain, loss of appetite, nausea, headaches and depression.
It is important to start the treatment as soon as hepatitis C is detected, because after the chronic phase it can progress to cirrhosis, and the liver almost stops functioning.
The virus can be eliminated from the body if action is taken quickly. Hepatitis C therapy is treated moslty with a combination of two drugs - interferons and ribavirin. These drugs can have severe side effects, and they may fail to clear the virus in some cases, so doctors advice patients to choose the therapy method carefully.
There are many support groups for those infected with hepatitis C, that provide them with a lot of accurate hepatitis C information and with the latest medical tehniques used to cure the illness. Also, a lot of hepatitis C information can be found on the Internet, covering all the topics from causes and symptoms to treatment.
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