This virus is spread in situations where a non-infected person comes in contact with the blood of someone who has been infected. For example, Hepatitis C may have been transmitted by blood transfusions or organ transplants that were completed before 1992. Today, this viral disease can be spread through shared needles, sexual contact and even childbirth. This means that a mother who has Hepatitis C can pass the infection to her newborn child.
When an infection is allowed to continue for several years, there are a number of significant complications that can result. The first is Cirrhosis or scarring of the tissue in the liver, which can occur after 20 to 30 years of a Hepatitis C infection. This scarring in the liver can make it more difficult for the organ to properly function. Two serious complications of Hepatitis C include liver failure and cancer. Seeking medical assistance for a hepatitis C infection is imperative.
In many situations, Hepatitis C does not show any signs and symptoms during the earliest stages. At the point when the signs and symptoms are appearing and they are typically mild as well as flu-like in nature, this is an indicator that the condition is advanced. Symptoms can include: a fever, fatigue, joint and muscle pains, poor appetite, nausea and tenderness around the liver area. Patients who are worried by any of these symptoms should seek assistance from a medical professional as soon as possible.
People who may be at risk for contracting Hepatitis C can undergo regular screening. People who have the virus can undergo lifestyle changes in order to prevent damage to the liver before symptoms actually appear. The most common test for Hepatitis C is a blood test, which can help to determine who does and does not have the virus, how much of the virus is in the blood (the viral load) and evaluate the virus genetic makeup through genotyping. This will help determine what treatment options are available.
Treatment is not always required for Hepatitis C. However, if damage is being caused to the liver, then long term treatment solutions need to be considered. Anti-viral medications are typically the first course of action, because they can clear the virus from the body over a period of several weeks. If damage has already been done to the liver, then a transplant may be required. The damaged liver would be removed from the body entirely and replaced with a healthy organ. Sometimes a partial liver can be donated to someone in need though many liver transplants come from deceased donors.