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Contaminated needles or injection equipment is considered as the primary cause for spreading Hepatitis C

Hepatitis C is a virus that affects the liver and causes inflammation. Hepatitis C continues to exist, with the patient unaware of its existence. It is only after decades that it may be detected during routine medical tests. Hepatitis C spreads through contaminated blood, and needles shared during drug abuse.

CAUSES

During transfusion or injection of contaminated blood, Hepatitis Virus spreads to recipients.

Hepatitis C

SYMPTOMS

After one to three months of infection the patient experiences fatigue, nausea, stomach pain, dark colored urine, yellow discoloration, fever and muscle or joint pains. However, it is only after few years that the symptoms of acute infection are evident. These symptoms are seen as bleeding and bruising easily, itchy skin, fluid accumulation, swelling in your legs, weight loss, confusion, drowsiness and slurred speech, and spider-like blood vessels on the skin (spider angiomas).

RISKS & COMPLICATIONS

The risk of Hepatitis C is greater in people dealing with infected blood. This includes health care workers, blood bank personnel, blood transfusion specialists and drug addicts. Children born to women infected with Hepatitis C also have the risk of getting infected. Piercing or tattooing in an unclean environment and use of unsterile equipment also causes the virus to spread. The complications of Hepatitis C are evident as cirrhosis or scarring of the liver tissue, liver cancer and liver failure.

TESTS AND DIAGNOSIS

Hepatitis C progresses in the body over a long period of time. It is usually found in the routine blood tests done as part of blood testing for other diseases. The doctor may suggest for detailed blood profiling to check the viral load or quantity of hepatitis C virus, and evaluate the genetic make-up of the virus (genotyping). Further, the doctor may also recommend for testing the samples of liver tissue. Blood tests and liver biopsy helps the doctor to determine the severity of the disease, and provide the right treatments.

TREATMENTS AND DRUGS

The treatment for Hepatitis C includes antiviral medication and liver transplant. Liver transplant is advised only when the liver is severely damaged. There is no vaccine for Hepatitis C, as it is present for Hepatitis A and B.

Read more about symptoms, causes and treatment of different types of liver diseases.