Hepatitis C – What It Is, Symptoms, How You Get It | Gastroenterology

Hepatitis C

What is hepatitis c?

Hepatitis C is a liver infection that can lead to severe liver damage. It is caused by the hepatitis C virus. Approximately 3.9 million people in the world suffer from the disease. But it does cause some symptoms, so most of them are unknown. The virus is transmitted through the blood or body fluids of an infected person.

In general, hepatitis refers to inflammation of the liver. Many viruses cause hepatitis. The most common types are A, B, and C. These viruses attack liver cells, causing inflammation and dysfunction. Over time, inflammation of the liver tissue can damage the organ.

Hepatitis C infections can be acute (short-term) or chronic (chronic). When a person has severe hepatitis, symptoms last up to 6 months. There are many forms of the hepatitis C virus or HCV. The most common type in 1. None is more serious than the others, but they respond differently to a treatment.

How is hepatitis C spread?

Hepatitis C is spread when blood or body fluids contaminated with the hepatitis C virus enter the bloodstream through contact with an infected person.

You can be exposed to the virus by:

  • Sharing injection drugs and needles
  • Have sex, especially if you have HIV, another STD, multiple partners, or rough sex
  • Catching through infected needles
  • Birth: a mother can pass it on to her children
  • Sharing personal care items like toothbrushes, razors, and nail clippers
  • Getting a tattoo or sewing with dirty equipment

You can’t get hepatitis C from:

  • Lactation (except for nipple cracks and bleeding)
  • Casual introduction
  • Cough
  • Hug
  • Holding hands
  • Kiss
  • Mosquito bite
  • Sharing eating utensils
  • Sharing food or drink
  • Sneeze

Stages of hepatitis C

The hepatitis C virus affects people in different ways and has several stages:

  • The growth period of insects: It is time to first expose the onset of the disease. Lasts between 14 and 80 days, but averages 45
  • Acute hepatitis c: It is a short-term illness that lasts for the first 6 months after the virus enters your body. After that, some people who have it get rid of the virus on their own or eliminate it.
  • Chronic hepatitis c: For most people with hepatitis C, up to 85%, the disease progresses to a chronic stage (more than 6 months). This is called a chronic hepatitis C infection and can lead to serious health problems, such as liver cancer or cirrhosis.
  • Cirrhosis: This disease can lead to inflammation and, over time, replace healthy liver cells with scar tissue. This usually takes 20-30 years, but it can be faster if you drink alcohol or have HIV.
  • Liver cancer: Cirrhosis increases the risk of liver cancer. Your doctor will see you regularly as symptoms usually do not appear in the early stages.

Symptoms of hepatitis C

Hepatitis C can range from a mild illness to a serious, chronic health condition for a few weeks.

People have hepatitis C without any symptoms, especially in the acute stage, and they may not be aware of it. This facilitates transmission to others.

Acute hepatitis C

Most people with severe hepatitis C have no symptoms. If they do, symptoms usually appear 2 to 12 weeks after exposure. People are rarely diagnosed with acute hepatitis C because they have no diagnostic symptoms. For this reason, doctors often refer to hepatitis C as a silent infection.

Acute symptoms are similar to those of other viral infections. Symptoms of acute hepatitis C:

  • Fever
  • Fatigue
  • Abdominal pain
  • Lack of appetite
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Dark urine
  • Clay coloured stool
  • Joint pain
  • Jaundice, rarely

According to the CDC, less than half of people with severe hepatitis C shed the virus from their bodies without treatment and do not develop chronic illness. Some researchers don’t know why this happens and others don’t.

Chronic hepatitis C

Hepatitis C becomes chronic when the body cannot eliminate the virus. In most cases, chronic hepatitis C causes no symptoms or causes common symptoms such as chronic fatigue or depression. This condition can only be diagnosed when a person undergoes a blood test or for a blood donation.

Early diagnosis and treatment can prevent liver damage. If left untreated, chronic hepatitis C can lead to:

  • Chronic liver disease, which occurs slowly over many decades without any symptoms.
  • Cirrhosis, or scarring of the liver, occurs in 20% of people after 20 to 30 years.
  • For liver failure
  • Liver cancer

Causes and risk factors of hepatitis C

  • The HCV virus causes hepatitis C.
  • People become infected with the virus from blood to blood with contaminated blood. For transmission to occur, HCV-free blood must enter the body of an HCV-free person.
  • The blood scar, invisible to the eyes, can carry hundreds of cells of the hepatitis C virus. Killing a virus is not so easy.
  • The CDC advises cleaning syringes if clean and hygienic syringes cannot be used. Although bleach kills HCV in syringes, it may not have the same effect on other devices. Boiling, grilling, and using alcohol, peroxide, or other common cleaning fluids to wash equipment can reduce the amount of HCV, but may not prevent a person from becoming infected.
  • Injecting bleach, disinfectant, or other cleaning products is very dangerous, so rinse the syringe well. Use bleach to clean equipment only if you do not have new, clean equipment and syringes.
  • A person cannot transmit the virus by casual contact, breathing, kissing, or sharing food. There is no evidence that mosquito bites can transmit the virus.

The CDC reports the following risk factors for developing this disease:

  • The use or use of injectable drugs, currently in the US The most common way to enter.
  • Get a blood transfusion or organ transplant before 1992 before blood tests were available
  • Needle sticks are very common in people who work in healthcare.
  • Born to a mother with this disease.

Although the risk is low, people can also become infected with this disease:

  • Intercourse without barrier protection, especially rough or anal sex, increases blood-to-blood contact
  • Sharing blood-related items, such as toothbrushes or razors
  • Aggressive health policies like injections
  • Messy Tattoo
  • People at risk for these factors can be screened to rule out HCV.

If you are at increased risk of this infection:

  • This can happen if an infected needle pierces your skin, according to an infected blood health worker.
  • Illegal drugs ever injected or inhaled
  • Have HIV
  • Received piercings or tattoos in an unsanitary environment using unsanitary equipment
  • Received a blood transfusion or organ transplant before 1992
  • Received clotting factor is concentrated before 1987
  • She received hemodialysis treatments for a long time.
  • Born to a woman with this infection
  • That they were always in jail
  • Born between 1945 and 1965, the age at which this infection is most prevalent

Hepatitis C treatment

Antiviral drugs

This infection can be treated with antiviral medications designed to clear the virus from your body. The goal of treatment is to find the hepatitis C virus in your body at least 12 weeks after completing treatment.

Recently, researchers have made significant advances in the treatment of this infection, using new “live-acting” antiviral drugs, sometimes in combination with existing ones. As a result, people experience better results, fewer side effects, and shorter treatment times, some up to eight weeks. The choice of Nations medication and the duration of treatment depend on the hepatitis C genotype, pre-existing liver damage, other medical conditions, and previous treatment.

Due to the speed of research, drug recommendations and treatment regimens are changing rapidly. Therefore, it is advisable to discuss your treatment options with a specialist. Your care team monitors your response to medications throughout treatment.

Liver transplant

If you develop serious complications from a chronic hepatitis C infection, a liver transplant is an option. During a liver transplant, the surgeon will remove your damaged liver and replace it with a healthy one. Most transplant livers come from deceased donors, although few come from living donors who donate part of their liver.

In most cases, a liver transplant alone will not cure hepatitis C. The infection is more likely to recur, requiring treatment with antiviral medications to prevent damage to the transplanted liver. Numerous studies have shown that new direct-acting antiviral drugs are effective in treating post-transplant hepatitis C. At the same time, treatment with live-acting antivirals can be achieved in appropriately selected patients prior to liver transplantation.


Even if you don’t have the hepatitis C vaccine, your doctor may recommend that you get vaccinated against hepatitis A and B viruses. These are different viruses that can damage the liver and complicate the course of chronic hepatitis C.

Now you have a chance to get one of these drugs:

  • Daclatasvir (Daclinza): Take this pill once a day with sofosbuvir for 12 weeks.
  • Elbasvir-Grazoprevir (Zopatier): The pill cures 97% of people who receive treatment once a day.
  • Glecaprevir-Pibrentasvir (Mavirate): This daily pill provides a shorter 8-week treatment cycle for adult patients with all types of HCV who do not have cirrhosis and have not received treatment. Treatment is more for those with a different stage of the disease. The recommended dose of this medicine is 3 tablets a day.
  • Ledipasvir-Sofosbuvir (Harvoni): This once-in-a-lifetime pill will cure most people in 8-12 weeks.
  • Ombitasvir-Paritaprevir-Dasabuvir-Ritonavir (Viekira Pak): This combination of treatment pills: two are taken once a day and one twice a day with meals. You take it for 12 to 24 weeks.
  • Ombitasvir-paritaprevir-ritonavir (Technivie): You will take this tablet by mouth, possibly with ribavirin.
  • Ribavirin (Copagus, Moderiba, Rebetol, Ribosphere, Virazole): It comes in a tablet, capsule, or liquid. You should take it twice a day, in the morning and in the evening, with food for 24 to 48 weeks or longer.
  • Sofosbuvir (Sovaldi) with interferon and ribavirin: Take this tablet with food at the same time every day. You must take it with ribavirin and / or interferon and will probably be 12-24 weeks.
  • Sophosbuvir-Velpatasvir (Epclusa): This daily pill that you take for 12 weeks should cure your illness.
  • Sofosbuvir-Velpatasvir-Voxilaprevir (Vocev): This combination is approved for the treatment of adults with chronic HCV, with or without cirrhosis (asymptomatic stage of disease), who already have some treatments.

What are the side effects of hepatitis C medications?

The most common side effects of this infection drugs depend on the drug and often include:

  • Flu-like symptoms
  • Fatigue
  • Hair loss
  • Headache
  • Low blood counts
  • Difficulty thinking
  • Nervous
  • Depression

Complications of hepatitis c

Hepatitis C infection, which has been going on for many years, can cause significant problems, including:

  • Scarring of the liver (cirrhosis): Decades after a hepatitis C infection, cirrhosis can occur. Scars on your liver can make it harder for it to function.
  • Liver cancer: A small number of people with hepatitis C infection can develop liver cancer.
  • For liver failure: Advanced cirrhosis is when your liver stops working.

Prevention of hepatitis c

Protect yourself from hepatitis C infection by taking the following precautions:

  • Avoid using illicit drugs, especially if you inject them. If you use illicit drugs, seek help.
  • Be careful with body piercings and tattoos. If you choose to have piercings or a tattoo, look for a reputable store. Ask questions in advance about how the equipment is cleaned. Make sure employees are using clean needles. If the employees don’t answer your questions, find another store.
  • Safe sex practice. Do not have unprotected sex with multiple partners or with any partner whose health status is uncertain. Sexually transmitted infections can occur between monogamous couples, but the risk is lower.

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