Hepatitis C is an infection of the liver caused by the Hepatitis C virus. There are very few symptoms of Hepatitis C, and therefore, a lot of people don’t realize that they are carrying the virus. Many known forms of the Hepatitis C virus have been accounted, but Type 1 is most common. Below are some of the other things you need to know about this liver infection.
Understanding the symptoms
Unfortunately, most patients who have Hepatitis C don’t have any symptom of the virus/infection, which makes it hard to detect. Much like Hepatitis A and Hepatitis B, patients suffering from Hepatitis C may have signs of jaundice, such as the change in color of the stool, dark urine and yellow and pale skin and eyes. There can be pain in the abdomen, along with signs like loss of appetite, fatigue, and nausea.
How do patients get the virus?
Again, just like Hepatitis A, Hepatitis C also spreads from the blood and other body fluids of infected people. You can get the virus from someone if you are sharing drugs and needles and from sex. If you have an STD or are have several partners, you are at a higher risk of getting Hepatitis C. Mothers may pass the virus to the child too. Please note that Hepatitis C is not spread by contact. As such, it cannot spread through water or food, which is not the case with Hepatitis A.
Should you get tested?
Known liver disease specialists like Dr Gurunath Reddy recommend patients to get tested for Hepatitis C if they have injected drugs on their own or have received blood from a patient who carried the disease at some point of time. Anyone who has gone through organ transplant prior to 1992 should also get tested. Patients who have been undergoing dialysis should also consider getting tested, besides those who have HIV or have a mother who had Hepatitis C. In most cases, doctors also recommend tests for anyone who has other kinds of liver diseases. To know the presence of Hepatitis C virus, a blood test is done.
If left unchecked and untreated, patients with Hepatitis C virus may develop a chronic version of the condition, which can eventually lead to liver cancer. It can also cause scarring of the organ, and eventually, the patient might need a transplant. Talk to your doctor today to know more about Hepatitis C.