Hepatitis C is a disease which attacks the liver and it is caused by the Hepatitis C virus. This disease can also be abbreviated as HCV. Current studies and data findings by the World Health Organization or WHO peg the disease at infecting around 3% of the entire world population. This is quite concerning and it has merited the attention of the world governing body. There are also around roughly 170 million carriers who carry the disease. This means that the disease lies dormant in their system and they do not even know it is there. These carriers can infect others or develop a lot of complications arising from Hepatitis C like liver cirrhosis or liver cancer.
Signs And Symptoms Of Hepatitis C
According to the CDC, 80% of people who have acute HCV, will have no visible symptoms. Others will experience mild to severe signs that start shortly after infection. These signs include fever, fatigue, and poor appetite, along with nausea, vomiting, change in urination and bowel movements, stomach pain, joint and muscle pain, and a yellowing of skin and eyes. You could develop one or more of these previously mentioned problems that will range from mild and severe.
Later Signs Of HCV
After you have had acute HCV for some time you may experience the following:
- Bruising and bleeding easily
- Your legs may tend to swell
- Itching of your skin
- Weight loss
- Fluid gathering in your abdomen
- Spider-like veins close to the skin that are visible
- Slurred speech confusion and fatigue are otherwise known as hepatic encephalopathy
These are brought on by liver damage after years of acute virus activity with HepC.
How Long Before Infection Becomes Symptomatic
It could a couple weeks to six months before any signs of the infection occur. For some, it may take up to 10 years to show up. This is because for some it could to take years for liver damage to occur.
Diagnosis And Testing For Hepatitis C
A simple blood test done at the clinic can reveal whether you have HCV. If you are positive for HCV, you will be given a combination of drugs to help prevent liver disease and take care of the virus.
How To Help Keep Yourself Safe
In order to help protect yourself you can do the following:
- Be sure to engage in safe sex practices
- Do not share needles
- Do not share personal hygiene articles such as toothbrush or razors
- If you are getting a tattoo or piercing, make sure the place you are getting it done, uses clean instruments, that they sterilize and clean their equipment well.
- Workers in the healthcare industry who take blood or work in areas in which they could accidentally be stuck with an infected needle.
- Are HIV positive
- If your mother had HepC when she gave birth to you
- If you were born between 1945 and 1965
- If you had blood transfusion or organ transplant prior to 1992