Diseases caused by viruses are present in our daily lives all the time. And there is no escape from many of them, like the flu, which is perhaps the greatest example of this type of disease. But the number is not limited to just these most common diseases and some of them can bring us several harms, such as hepatitis C.
So in this article we will talk about the main causes, symptoms and treatments of this disease, which is famous for all the consequences it brings, but which is unknown in many ways by many people.
What is Hepatitis C?
Hepatitis C, as already mentioned here, is a disease caused by a virus called C (or HCV) that attacks and causes inflammation in the liver of the infected person . It is not a disease considered to be sexually transmitted, although there is a possibility of infection through sexual intercourse between men as with HIV infection .
This disease is silent, which attacks but takes time for its symptoms to be felt by those who have the virus, so much so that many people only discover that they were infected by this virus when they donate blood, perform routine tests or when the disease is already in a state advanced.
It is estimated that about 3% of the world population suffers from hepatitis C, which means more than 150 million people, including more than 3 million Brazilians.
Diagnosis of Hepatitis C
Common blood tests can detect the presence of hepatitis C in a person, as well as the amount of virus a person has. In addition, after discovering the disease, the doctor usually genotyps the virus , which helps to find the best type of treatment for the infected person.
Main Causes of Hepatitis C
Hepatitis C can appear for different reasons and, even for this reason, many people end up not caring as much as when they should with the presence of the virus. The main causes of hepatitis C are:
- Sharing razor blades or toothbrushes
- Sharing of non-sterile needles
- Unprotected sex
It is important to remember that hepatitis C acquired through unprotected sex is more rare to happen . Of course, there are other ways of contracting the disease, but these are the most common and well-known.
Groups of risk
Because hepatitis C is a disease that is easily transmitted from person to person, some groups are more at risk of being infected than others. The main ones are:
- Injecting drug users
- People who have been on kidney dialysis for a long time
- People who have contact with blood at work
- People who received blood or an organ from someone suspected of having hepatitis C
- People who got a tattoo with instruments that may be contaminated
All of these factors influence how a person can acquire the hepatitis C virus. Although situations like these do not always confirm the existence of the disease, people who fit into one of these groups need to be more attentive.
There is no vaccine against the disease, which means that prevention is to avoid this type of habit and stay away from objects that can infect you, especially needles.
Symptoms of Hepatitis C
As we have already said, hepatitis C usually does not show visible symptoms in its initial phase , which can make the treatment of the disease difficult in several aspects. The main symptoms of hepatitis C are usually due to the liver problems that the disease causes, they are:
- Muscle and joint pain
- Abdominal swelling
- Abdominal pain
- Constant tiredness
- Dark colored urine
- Yellowish skin
Although many of these symptoms are confused with normal symptoms of other common diseases such as the flu, for example, it is necessary to be aware of all of them, especially those who are part of the risk groups already mentioned here. The sooner the disease is treated, the more effective it can be.
Hepatitis C has a cure?
For a long time hepatitis C was known as a disease that could be treated, but did not cure. Today’s reality is different and treatment can cure the infected person completely . Like practically all diseases, it is easier to treat when discovered earlier, but it can be cured even at an advanced stage.
Still, it is necessary to take some precautions for this cure to materialize, since the treatment does not depend only on the drugs, but often on a change of behavior in the person undergoing the treatment.
How is the treatment done?
Hepatitis C is treated with antiviral pills that attack and reduce symptoms until the virus has no effect on the infected person’s body. The treatment can last between 12 and 24 weeks and, during this period, the person must avoid the consumption of alcohol, as it is something that directly attacks the liver and can cause problems in the healing process.
In more severe cases, a liver transplant may be necessary. This usually happens when the disease is at an advanced stage and medications can no longer help with treatment.
If not treated properly, hepatitis C can even cause death, so it is important to visit a doctor as soon as you notice the first symptoms of the disease.
Consequences of Hepatitis C
Hepatitis C is a disease that can have many bad consequences for the infected person, but it can be treated with some ease if the person knows how to identify the symptoms and understand how the treatment is done.
For this reason, it is always important to stay informed about everything that concerns diseases transmitted by viruses, especially those that attack silently like hepatitis C, because the lack of knowledge can lead to more serious consequences.
Do not forget that consulting a doctor is essential when you experience any of the symptoms and you should never take any medication on your own to try to cure hepatitis C or any other disease, this can cause even greater problems for the person who is already sick.
See also: Prenatal Tests – How Important Are They?
My name is Dr. Alexis Hart I am 38 years old, I am the mother of 3 beautiful children! Different ages, different phases 16 years, 12 years and 7 years. In love with motherhood since always, I found it difficult to make my dreams come true, and also some more after I was already a mother.
Since I imagined myself as a mother, in my thoughts everything seemed to be much easier and simpler than it really was, I expected to get pregnant as soon as I wished, but it wasn’t that simple. The first pregnancy was smooth, but my daughter’s birth was very troubled. Joana was born in 2002 with a weight of 2930kg and 45cm, from a very peaceful cesarean delivery but she had already been born with congenital pneumonia due to a broken bag not treated with antibiotics even before delivery.