Hepatitis C is a type of infection that is transmitted through blood and other bodily fluids. While long known as a sexually transmittable disease, the drug culture of the 1980's also caused many people to get it by sharing needles with other drug users. Unfortunately, there is no vaccine for Hepatitis C, although it can be treated. Knowing about the hepatitis C causes, symptoms, signs, and treatments is very important to help prevent the further spread of this disease.
Hepatitis C Causes, Symptoms, Signs, and Treatments:
Hepatitis C Causes:
There are several ways for hepatitis C to spread, including by mothers to their unborn babies. That said, if the expectant mother already has a hepatitis C diagnosis, transferring the disease to the baby is highly preventable. In rare cases, people have been infected with hepatitis C through blood transfusions. This is particularly true for those who had a blood transfusion before September 1991. Most commonly, therefore, the disease is spread through unsafe sexual practices and sharing needles, including piercing and tattoo equipment. Unsafe sex remains the number one reason for transmission, which is why it is very important to get tested if you have had unprotected intercourse. That said, you cannot contract the disease through toilet seats, hugging, sharing utensils, or kissing.
Hepatitis C Symptoms:
Hepatitis C is often asymptomatic at first. Some people will experience nausea and vomiting, fatigue, joint pain, or flu-like symptoms, but these are often misdiagnosed. Usually, these symptoms appear about a week after infection, after which people will feel fine again for a very long time. Around 20% of people get healed from the disease by themselves, which means no more traces of the virus can be found in the bloodstream after three months. However, some people develop chronic hepatitis C, which presents a different issue.
With chronic hepatitis C, the virus remains active for months or even years. Nevertheless, it can still be asymptomatic. In this lies the danger as well, as people can transmit the illness without realizing that they have it. After suffering from chronic hepatitis C for a considerable length of time, however, the liver tends to sustain damage, leading to weight loss, tiredness, aching muscles, liver pain, jaundice, and sustained nausea.
Hepatitis C Treatment:
Hepatitis C is the only form of hepatitis for which there is no vaccine. Nevertheless, treatment does exist, and particularly by amalgamating two drugs, Interferon and Ribavirin. If this does not clear the virus because it has become chronic, it does slow down the inflammation and damage to the liver. Unfortunately, these medications also have significant side effects.
Hopefully, by knowing about hepatitis C causes, symptoms, signs, and treatments, some progress can be made towards eradicating the condition as well. It is easily preventable by not having unprotected sex nor sharing any kind of needles. If you have ever done either of those, it is important to get checked to confirm whether you have the virus or not. The earlier you discover it, the more likely that it will respond positively to treatment.