Hepatitis C Facts

The odd thing about Hepatitis C is that while you might have it you may not know you have it.  Sometimes the symptoms take years to show up. While other times the symptoms of this infection will show within six to eight months. If it's the acute type someone then the first symptoms are usually nausea, dark urine, and unending tiredness. Of the people who have acute Hepatitis C twenty five percent will completely recover with the proper treatment.  Unfortunately the other seventy five percent will have it permanently. This is called chronic Hepatitis C.

Chronic Hepatitis C is a confusing disease. Some people will have the infection but it will have no affect on them at all. It will remain inactive for years, potentially as long as ten years, before there are any symptoms.  There will also be no obvious signs of liver damage if the infection lays dormant. These people may only find out they have Hepatitis C because of blood work done during a yearly check-up.

While in others the symptoms might be undeniable.  They may show signs of being very tired all the time, have a decrease in their appetite and diarrhea.  Their urine and stool may be the wrong color with the stool being too light and the urine too dark. Some will seem to have a low-grade fever all the time. They may suffer from stomach pains, nausea and tenderness in the upper body. Their eyes may take on a yellowish tint as might their skin. These are signs of jaundice.  When people with these symptoms see their health care providers it may be discovered that their liver enzymes are as much as twenty times higher than they should be.

Those with chronic Hepatitis C eventually develop liver damage in the form of cirrhosis of the liver. This disease does irreparable damage to the liver consisting of scarring that interferes with normal liver function.  But this can take ten or even twenty years from when the hepatitis infection first sets in.  About five percent of these patients eventually will go on to develop liver cancer, but this can take twenty to forty years.  Anyone, not just those with Hepatitis C, who develops cirrhosis, will eventually see the onset of liver cancer. The average time in this case is seventeen years.

Hepatitis C is the single most likely cause of a person requiring a liver transplant.  Close to one thousand liver transplants are performed in the United States for this reason every year.  Sadly it is also the cause of as many as ten thousand deaths annually. Although research continues there is no cure for Hepatitis C nor is there a vaccine against it.  One reason is that this infection is constantly mutating and so even if a vaccine were to be found the infection might mutate so quickly that it would be unusable before it had the opportunity to be used. Prevention is the best medicine when it comes to containing the Hepatitis C virus.

Hepatitis news on the Web


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