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Your liver is the largest organ inside your body. It helps your body digest food, store energy, and remove poisons. Hepatitis is an inflammation of the liver. One type, hepatitis C, is caused by the hepatitis C virus (HCV). It usually spreads through contact with infected blood. It can also spread through sex with an infected person and from mother to baby during childbirth.

Most people who are infected with hepatitis C don't have any symptoms for years. If you do get symptoms, you may feel as if you have the flu. You may also have jaundice, a yellowing of skin and eyes, dark-colored urine, and pale bowel movements. A blood test can tell if you have it. Usually, hepatitis C does not get better by itself. The infection can last a lifetime and may lead to cirrhosis (scarring of the liver) or liver cancer. Medicines sometimes help, but side effects can be a problem. Serious cases may need a liver transplant.

There is no vaccine for HCV.

NIH: National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases

Symptoms of Hepatitis C

The following features are indicative of Hepatitis C:
  • fever
  • dark urine
  • abdominal pain
  • yellow tinged skin
  • weight loss
  • muscle pain
  • joint pain
  • decreased appetite
  • fatigue
It is possible that Hepatitis C shows no physical symptoms and still be present in a patient.

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Common Causes of Hepatitis C

The following are the most common causes of Hepatitis C:
  • hepatitis C virus

Risk Factors for Hepatitis C

The following factors may increase the likelihood of Hepatitis C:
  • hemodialysis patients
  • health care workers injured by needlesticks
  • HIV-infected persons
  • children born to mothers infected with the Hepatitis C virus
  • sexual contact with a person who is infected with the Hepatitis C virus
  • sharing personal care items

Prevention of Hepatitis C

Yes, it may be possible to prevent Hepatitis C. Prevention may be possible by doing the following:
  • wash hands thoroughly
  • safe handling and disposal of sharp things and waste
  • use of condoms during sex activity

Occurrence of Hepatitis C

Number of Cases

The following are the number of Hepatitis C cases seen each year worldwide:
  • Very common > 10 Million cases

Common Age Group

Hepatitis C can occur at any age.

Common Gender

Hepatitis C can occur in any gender.

Lab Tests and Procedures for Diagnosis of Hepatitis C

The following lab tests and procedures are used to detect Hepatitis C:
  • Blood test: To screen for hepatitis C infection
  • Magnetic resonance elastography: To view the gradients of stiffness throughout the liver
  • Transient elastography: To measures the speed of their dispersal through liver tissue to estimate its stiffness
  • Liver biopsy: To know the causes of liver disease

Doctor for Diagnosis of Hepatitis C

Patients should visit the following specialists if they have symptoms of Hepatitis C:
  • Gastroenterologist
  • Infectious disease specialist

Complications of Hepatitis C if untreated

It is not know if Hepatitis C causes complications if left untreated.

Procedures for Treatment of Hepatitis C

The following procedures are used to treat Hepatitis C:
  • Liver transplantation: Remove the damaged liver and replaces it with a healthy liver

Self-care for Hepatitis C

The following self-care actions or lifestyle changes may help in the treatment or management of Hepatitis C:
  • Avoid sharing personal items: Helps in preventing the spread of hepatitis B and C from one person to another
  • Avoid alcohol consumption: Helps in preventing hepatitis and cirrhosis

Alternative Medicine for Treatment of Hepatitis C

The following alternate medicine and therapies are known to help in the treatment or management of Hepatitis C:
  • Exercise regularly: Helps in recovering the disease

Patient Support for Treatment of Hepatitis C

The following actions may help Hepatitis C patients:
  • Join support groups: Helps you learn about the latest treatments and coping with the disease

Time for Treatment of Hepatitis C

While time-period of treatment for each patient may vary, below is the typical time-period for Hepatitis C to resolve if treated properly under an expert supervision:
  • In 6 months - 1 year

Is Hepatitis C Infectious?

Yes, Hepatitis C is known to be infectious. It can spread across people via the following means:
  • blood contact
  • intravenous drug use
  • poorly sterilized medical equipment
  • needlestick injuries in healthcare
  • blood transfusions

Last updated date

This page was last updated on 2/04/2019.
This page provides information for Hepatitis C.

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