What is Hepatitis C?
Hepatitis C is caused by the virus known as Hepatitis C virus or HCV. It is contagious and causes damage to the liver. It has several symptoms and has two categories which are the Acute Hepatitis C and the Chronic Hepatitis C.
Based on statistics revealed by the United States Center for Disease Control, at least 20,000 people in the country have been infected with Hepatitis C. It is believed that the actual number of infected Hepatitis C victims is more than that because of the ability of Hepatitis C to hide any visible symptoms for some time once it affects an individual.
Symptoms of Hepatitis C
Most hepatitis C symptoms manifest after about six weeks since the first exposure. This is the reason why many cases are left undiagnosed. Here are the most common of all the Hepatitis C symptoms:
- Appetite loss
- Joint pain
- Stomach pains
- Pain in the abdominal area
- Feces that are clay-colored
- Dark-colored urine
- Yellowing of the eyes and the skin
Once you see and experience these symptoms, it is important that you test for hepatitis C immediately. This infection is highly contagious and can be transmitted very easily from one person to another. The most common way of transmitting hepatitis C is through sexual activity. Other methods of transmission are sharing of syringes, needles, or paraphernalia for intravenous use of drugs, sharing of razors and toothbrushes, and a Hepatitis C-positive mother passing on the infection to her unborn.
People more likely to contract Hepatitis C
Everybody is encouraged to take a hepatitis C test once they suspect that they have the infection. There are certain groups that are more likely to contract the disease, and they should exert an effort to get themselves tested for Hepatitis C. They are the following:
- Drug addicts who inject the drugs into their blood
- People who have been on the receiving end of blood donations or organ transplants
- Healthcare workers, hospital workers, and other people who have been exposed to the Hepatitis C virus
- AIDS/HIV-positive individuals
- Children of mothers who are Hepatitis C-positive
If you belong to any of those groups enumerated above, you are at higher risk of getting infected with Hepatitis C so it is crucial that you get tested for Hepatitis C as soon as possible. You can go to the nearest STD clinic in your area and have yourself examined.