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Hepatitis C – Symptoms and Treatment

Hepatitis represents the inflammation of the liver and occurs due to viral infections. The most common strains of hepatitis are type A, type B, and type C. Hepatitis C Virus (HCV), is the most widespread blood carried disease with more than 50% patients who remain unaware of their infection. Most of the gastroenterologists and liver specialists complain about the lack of awareness about HCV and patients not taking the right treatment at right time. 

Symptoms of Hepatitis C

Unlike other infections, most patients who are suffering from an acute Hep C infection do not experience any symptoms or show signs of the infection, since the symptoms appear two weeks to six months after being infected. Most common symptoms related to Hepatitis C are mild and flu-like and may include:

  • Fatigue and feeling very tired
  • Aches in joints and stomach
  • Joint pain
  • Fever
  • Nausea
  • Itchy skin
  • Dark urine
  • A yellow discoloration of the skin and whites of the eyes, called jaundice.
  • Weight loss
  • Confusion, drowsiness and slurred speech (hepatic encephalopathy)

In most cases, patients with acute Hepatitis C go on to develop chronic Hepatitis C and still reflect no Hep C symptoms.

Also read about Superfoods for Healthy Liver.

Treatment Options for Hepatitis C

  • Antiviral Medications: Hep C infection is treated with antiviral medications that promote removal of the HCV from the body. The therapy is usually designed to make sure no hepatitis C virus detected in your body at least 12 weeks after complete treatment. There has been much significant advancement in treatment alternatives for Hep C including “direct-acting” anti-viral medications, sometimes in combination with existing ones. This has really helped in improving treatment outcomes, fewer side effects and shorter treatment times — some as short as eight weeks. Based on the patient’ current health status and prior medical history, along with knowing the hepatitis C genotype, presence of existing liver damage, treatment options are decided and administered.  It is always food to speak to the specialist to discuss what treatment alternative would best suit you.
  • Liver Transplantation: If your hepatitis C is caused severe damage to cause serious complications from chronic Hep C infection, your doctor might suggest you to undergo liver transplantation. During this procedure, the surgeon removes your damaged liver with a healthy liver, which has been donated by deceased donors. Even after liver transplantation, the chances of the infection returning remain. The patient might need treatment with newer antiviral that might be able to treat post-transplant Hep C.

Read about Common Liver Disease

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