General Information about Hepatitis
Hepatitis is caused by the virus infection of liver. Liver is an important organ of our digestive system. It helps our body to digest the food properly and provides fluids that are very important for development and maintenance of proper body immune system. There are number of factors which can affect the proper functioning of liver and hepatitis virus infection is one of such factors.
Description of Hepatitis C
When the Hepatitis C virus attacks the liver such condition is called as development of Hepatitis C. Usually, this virus is transmitted from one person to another through blood.
About 4 million people in United States are exposed to hepatitis C through blood-to-blood contact and more than 2.7 million have developed chronic infection. The progress of hepatitis C is gradual in initial stages. It displays symptoms in advanced stages when scarring of liver is observed. About 20% of infected people develop liver cirrhosis (scarring) and 5% develop liver failure. The progress is ongoing and may take many years to develop cirrhosis from the time of onset of infection.
Symptoms of Hepatitis C
There are number of symptoms but about 80% people do not experience any symptoms. When symptoms occur, they include abdominal pain, jaundice, loss of appetite, vomiting, nausea, dark yellow colored urine.
Cause behind development of Hepatitis C
Liver infection caused by the Hepatitis C Virus (HCV) is main cause behind development of hepatitis C.
Transmission of Hepatitis C
The hepatitis C virus is transmitted from one person to another through body fluids or blood from infected person to the person who is not immune. Through needlestics or sharps exposures on the job, sharing needles for shooting drugs and from infected mother to new born baby is the main ways of transmission of hepatitis C from one person to another.
Prevention of Hepatitis C
There is no vaccine available for prevention of hepatitis C.; Avoiding risk factors is the best way of preventing occurrence of hepatitis C. You must:
- Avoid sharing of needles or syringes (especially if you are involved in drug shooting)
- Avoid contact with blood and body fluids of infected person
- Avoid sharing of personal care items like tooth-brushes, razors, soaps etc which may have blood or body fluids of person infected with hepatitis C
- Always consult your doctor before starting any medication. Over-the-counter medications and herbal products may affect you liver.
Risk factors of Hepatitis C
There are many factors that could increase your risk of getting infected from hepatitis C virus and developing hepatitis C. Following are some of the common factors.
- Blood transfusion. This factor was considered before 1992. However, this factor is not in existence now as the blood used for transfusion is examined before transfusion.
- Having a tattoo specifically when tattooed on many people with same needles
- Sexual activities with infected person
- Cocaine snorting
- Intravenous drug use
Health complications produced by Hepatitis C
Chronic liver disease is the main health complication produced by hepatitis C that can have long term effects on your health.