October 18, 2020
What is Hepatitis C?
Hepatitis C is a contagious disease caused by a Hepatitis C virus that infects the liver which
is if left untreated, can lead to liver cancer, liver damage and ultimately liver failure. According to the World Health Organization, about 130–170 million people are chronically infected with the Hepatitis C virus, with more than 350,000 people dying from Hepatitis C-related liver diseases each year.
What causes Hepatitis C?
Hepatitis C occurs as the result of percutaneous transmission of the hepatitis C virus through infectious blood. In other word, it transmits blood-to-blood. Most common transmission routes are:
What are the signs and symptoms of Hepatitis C?
As in the case for acute Hepatitis C, most people who have chronic Hepatitis C do not experience symptoms in the early stages or even in the advanced stages of the disease. Therefore, it is not uncommon to find out, by surprise, that one has the virus when donating blood.
In some cases, symptoms may appear as:
Are there different types of Hepatitis C (Genotypes)?
Hepatitis C is divided into six distinct genotypes throughout the world with multiple subtypes in each genotype class. Following is a list of the different genotypes of chronic Hepatitis C:
Genotype 1a, 1b
Genotype 2a, 2b, 2c & 2d
Genotype 3a, 3b, 3c, 3d, 3e & 3f
Genotype 4a, 4b, 4c, 4d, 4e, 4f, 4g, 4h, 4i & 4j
What are the management of Hepatitis C?
Till date there is no vaccine for hepatitis C, but there are ways to reduce the risk of infection. Combination of two main medications called Pegylated interferon and Ribavirin medications are used to treat the infection.
Other newer hepatitis C medications have been approved by FDA to make treatment more effective. They include Daclatasvir, Sofosbuvir/Velpatasvir, Ledipasvir/Sofosbuvir, Telaprevir, Simeprevir etc.
Alternate therapy for the treatment of Hepatitis C?
Milk thistle is the herbal remedy which is one of the most well researched and supported supplement to aid in liver health. Silymarin, milk thistle’s active ingredient, is an antioxidant, hepatoprotectant, and anti-inflammatory.
Living with Hepatitis C
While testing positive for HCV isn’t good news, but you need to know it’s not death sentence,either. Here are some important things to remember:
Don’t panic: HCV infection does not disappear spontaneously, so you should be further tested and advised about treatment options. Think positively.
Get regular medical attention: Identify problems and get advised about new treatments.
Avoid contact with blood: Cover open cuts, don’t share razors, toothbrushes, manicure tools, tattoo needles, body piercing instruments. Be aware of menstrual blood, as well.
Protect your liver: Omit or severely limit alcohol use and liver damaging drugs like acetaminophen.
Be concerned about sex partners: People with HCV should discuss about the HCV infection with their partners and should take precaution.
Be informed: Keep yourself updated on current research, information, and treatment