Hepatitis C is an infection that can lead to serious liver damage. The virus (HCV) spreads through contaminated blood, often people are infected through sharing drug equipment or unsanitized tattoo, piercing, or manicure tools. To complicate matters, symptoms can take years to appear, this is why most of those with Hepatitis C don’t realize they’re infected.
Most cases (95-98%) of HCV are curable by simply taking an oral medication daily for 8-12 weeks.
SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS
Unfortunately, many symptoms don’t start to appear until some damage to the liver is done. These symptoms include:
Catching hepatitis C early in the infection increases the chances of it being successfully treated and cured. Some patients can be infected with Hepatitis C for decades without experiencing any signs or symptoms. This is why testing is critical communities.
UNDERSTANDING YOUR LIVER
To understand HCV, it helps to have a basic understanding of your liver.
You only have one liver, it’s protected by the bottom of your ribs on the right side. The livers’ job is to keep you healthy. It acts as a filter to clean your blood by breaking down alcohol, prescription, and street drugs as well as other chemicals. The liver removes waste and stores nutrients such as vitamins and fat. It also produces important chemicals, such as those to make your blood clot and heal after an injury.
So where does hepatitis C fit in? Hepatitis causes the liver to swell or become inflamed. That makes it difficult to do its job, and properly filter chemicals. When the infection turns chronic, it can cause cirrhosis (scarring of the liver), making it difficult to filter out waste and store nutrients. It can also lead to liver cancer and liver failure.
While Hepatitis A and B have a vaccine available, there isn’t one for HCV, however, treatment options are available. Preventing a possible infection is your best course of action:
If you’re concerned about Hepatitis C, speak to your doctor and get tested as soon as possible. Recovery Care is proud to offer an HCV treatment program, which has a high success rate. Read more about it here.