Hepatitis C – Causes, Symptoms, and Diagnosis
Hepatitis C is a viral infection caused by inflammation of the liver. In some cases, it can lead to serious liver damage in people with the condition. The disease mainly spreads through contamination of blood. Earlier the treatment of hepatitis C involved weekly injections that were given to patients and certain oral medications. However, many hepatitis patients could not take these medications due to their other health problems and due to side effects.
Chronic HCV is curable using oral medications that are taken daily for at least two months. There are about half of the people suffering from HCV, and they don’t know they are infected. This happens when a person experiences no symptoms of the problem. Symptoms can take a decade to appear in many students. This is why the U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention ask a person to get a one-time screening of blood test for those who can be at increased risk of infection. The largest group at the risk of the situation is born between 1945 and 1965. A population is five times more likely to get infected with the problem than people born in other years.
Symptoms of hepatitis C
There are many factors by which can determine if a person is suffering from hepatitis C. People suffer from long-term infection with hepatitis C virus. It is also known as chronic hepatitis C. Chronic hepatitis C remains silent for many years. This becomes evident sometimes when the virus has damaged liver enough to cause signs and symptoms to appear. Here are a few signs and symptoms of the condition.
- Easy bleeding
- Easy bruising
- Poor appetite
- Discoloration of skin and eyes, a form of jaundice.
- Urine that is dark colored
- Itchy skin
- Abdomen fluid build up
- Leg swelling
- Weight loss
- Slurred speech
- Spider-like blood vessels in the skin or spider angiomas.
A chronic illness is termed hepatitis C if the infection has begun with the acute stage. A hepatitis C at acute stage often remains undiagnosed because there are no symptoms. In the case when these symptoms are present in the body, they appear as jaundice, fatigue, fever, nausea and muscle aches. The acute symptoms of the condition are visible three months after the actual exposures to the virus. The symptoms last for as long as two weeks to 3 months.
A hepatitis C that is acute does not importantly go chronic. In some cases, people with acute hepatitis C get cured completely. An outcome named spontaneous viral clearance takes over. There are studies on the diagnosis of acute hepatitis HCV. There are rates of spontaneous viral clearance that range from 14 to 50%. Acute hepatitis C acts well with antiviral therapy.
Causes of hepatitis C
Hepatitis C infection is triggered by the HCV. This infection occurs when a contaminated blood enters a healthy person’s body. HCV is found available in different forms that are known as genotypes. It is type 1 HCV genotype that is most common in North America and Europe, while Type 2 is found mostly occurring in the United States and Europe. There are both types Type 1 and 2 spread across the world. Other genotypes have caused most of the infections in Asia, Africa, and the Middle East. Chronic hepatitis C follow a course that similar in most places. This function independent virus genotype found in people. Treatment for the condition depends on viral genotype.
Diagnostic tests for liver damage
Some doctors normally utilize one or more tests that are assessed for level of liver damage caused by chronic hepatitis C. Here are diagnostic tests used for the purpose.
Magnetic Resonance Elastography (MRE)
It is a non-invasive alternative to liver biopsy. MRE brings magnetic resonance imaging technology together with patterned that are formed by sound waves that bounce off the liver to make a visual map of the liver. The presence fibrosis is indicated by a stiff liver.
It is another noninvasive test recommended for hepatitis C. It is a type of ultrasound the sends certain vibrations to the liver and measure the speed of vibration’s dispersal into liver tissue. It helps estimate the stiffness.
It is normally done using ultrasound. This test is done by inserting a thin needle into the abdominal wall, and a small sample of liver tissue is removed for testing in the laboratory.
It is the member of the care team who performs transient elastography. The test is a painless alternative to liver biopsy. It measures liver damage.
Other blood tests
In case there is an initial blood test that shows a chance of hepatitis C. An additional blood test can aid measure quantity of hepatitis C virus in the blood. The quantity is also referred as viral load. It also helps identify the virus genotype.