What is hepatitis C (Hep C)?
Liver damage constitutes one of the riskiest health problems around the globe, although the liver is one organ that has a strong totipotential ability to regenerate defective lobes but in the case of hepatitis C it may not be possible in chronic cases. So what is Hep c? It is an infectious disease caused by a virus known as hepatitis C virus (HCV) that affects the liver cells. There are various forms of hepatitis C but the commonest type is type 1.
One of the complications of hepatitis c is liver cirrhosis i.e. formation of fibrous hardened cells mostly irreversible, however hepatitis c patients still do recover but how soon depends on the early diagnosis and onset of treatment.
What is hepatitis C’s mode of transmission? It may be transmitted through sexual contact with multiple sex partners, unsterilized needles and syringes, blood transfusion and needle stick injuries among others.
It may also be spread from mother to child at birth but it doesn’t spread through superficial contact with infected persons. Presently there is no vaccine but several trials are ongoing and some has been showing promising results, however, the best form of cure is prevention.
Statistical evidences suggest that about 130-200million people are infected with hepatitis worldwide with the highest prevalence in Africa, central and East Asia.
Signs and symptoms of hepatitis c
Hepatitis c usually produces mild to no symptoms at early stage, if caught early, treatment always shows great results. However, there are some symptoms of hepatitis c that begins to show up in the chronic stage such as the following:
1. Yellowing of skin and bluish-tinged skin
This is primarily caused by presence of bilirubin in the serum as a result of blockage or inhibition of bile flow through the bile duct. This is also an indication of jaundice.
2. Dark urine
This is also caused by bilirubin which was not broken down by the liver from the red blood cells its passage into the urine darken the urine.
3. Abdominal pain
This is caused by fluid retention (ascites) in the gastric cavity. This may be presented as abdominal protrusion with feeling of distention when touched.
One of the symptoms of Hep c that is common to many other diseases is fever, however this may not be treated in isolation.
5. Another common example of Hep C symptoms is stomach pain which may be accompanied by nausea and vomiting.
7. Complications of Hep c symptoms includes liver cancer, cirrhosis and liver scaring.
8. Loss of appetite
Another hepatitis c symptom that must not be overlooked is recurrent loss of appetite despite physical manifestations of its effect.
Reports suggested that about 80% of those exposed to the hepatitis c virus develop chronic hepatitis c.
What is hepatitis c’s treatment prognosis? The determinant here is early discovery of the disease.
On the treatment of hepatitis c, hepatitis C symptoms especially yellowing of skin and abdominal distention must not be taken lightly, though several drugs of choice such as ribavirin, simeprevir, peginterferon among others has been reported to be effective though with serious side effects. Also transplant may be recommended in chronic cases of liver cirrhosis and it all depends on the hepatitis c symptoms manifested and progression.