Hepatitis C infection is a disease caused by Hepatitis C virus. This virus gets to the liver and damages it without any symptoms until such time when the liver is totally damaged and beyond saving. In the US, the most common strain of Hepatitis C virus is type 1.
Common Symptoms of Hepatitis C Infection
Although there are no known symptoms of Hepatitis C infection, there are still some conditions apparent to people who caught this virus. Among the common symptoms are:
- Yellowing of the eyes and skin or jaundice
- Having dark urine
- Experiencing stomach pain
- Loss of appetite
- Feeling fatigue
Just like Hepatitis B, Hepatitis C infection can become chronic if left untreated. It can also lead to liver damage like cirrhosis or liver scarring. The only thing that can be done to save a patient at this stage is through a liver transplant.
Hepatitis C Prevention
Can it be prevented? The answer is yes but unlike Hepatitis B where a vaccine is available, there is no known vaccine yet that works in protecting a person from contacting Hepatitis C. still, a person can reduce the risk of getting Hepatitis C infection by:
- Having safe sex
- By not sharing your own personal stuff like razor or toothbrush
- By not getting a tattoo from untrusted artist or shop
- Make sure you are getting manicure from a trusted person or shop because if someone with Hepatitis C used those tools and they got cut, their blood is still there and can infect you
Who is prone to Hepatitis C infection?
More and more people are becoming at risk of getting infected with Hepatitis C so if you are in these situations, you better have a Hepatitis C screening as soon as possible.
- Just had blood transfusion or donated blood and you are not sure that the environment or equipment used are sterile
- You are injecting drugs or medicine like insulin
- You had organ transplant before 1992
- You had blood transfusion before 1987
- If you were born between 1945 and 1965
- If you are having kidney dialysis
- If your mother has Hepatitis C when she was carrying you
- If you have HIV infection
Hepatitis C Treatment
Treating Hepatitis C is not a cheap. When a pharmaceutical company finally developed a miracle drug that can treat Hepatitis C, the price proved it to be an expensive infection. When Gilead Sciences first released it Sovaldi medicine, the price was about $1000. Clinical trials proved that Sovaldi was a miracle drug after clearing a person of the infection in as fast as 12 weeks.
Other medicines used to treat Hepatitis C depend on the strain of Hepatitis C virus that a patient has. Among the common drugs being prescribed are Victrelis, sofosbuvir, telaprevir, ribavirin, and Harvoni. A combination of two or more drugs (ombitasvir-paritaprevir-dasabuvir-ritonavir and ombitasvir-paritaprevir-ritonavir) is also used to make the clearing of the infection faster. These drugs are all costly but promise to cure within 12 to 20 weeks of treatment.