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Hepatitis C

Hepatitis C is one of the diseases that can attack the liver. Diseases caused by this virus can trigger infection and inflammation in the liver.

Hepatitis C generally does not show symptoms in the early stages. Therefore, around people with hepatitis C do not realize that they have contracted it until they suffer liver damage years later.

Even if there are symptoms of hepatitis C that appear, the indications are similar to other diseases so it is difficult to realize. Some of them are always feeling tired, sore, and no appetite.

Acute and Chronic Hepatitis C

The hepatitis C virus can cause acute and chronic infections.

Acute hepatitis C is an infection that occurs in the first 6 months. This infection is usually asymptomatic and rarely deadly. About 15-45 percent of sufferers recover from this disease without special treatment.

While 55 to 85 percent will save the virus for a long time which then develops into chronic hepatitis C infection. People with chronic hepatitis C have a risk of around 15-30 percent for developing liver cirrhosis within 20 years. Cirrhosis This complication can be fatal.

According to WHO, the number of people with chronic hepatitis C in the world reaches 130 to 150 million and there are around 700 thousand who suffer from liver disease caused by hepatitis C.




Hepatitis C : Cause, treatment and prevention

 

How to Transmit Hepatitis C

The hepatitis C virus develops in the blood. Therefore, we will contract hepatitis C if we have contact with the blood of the patient.

The most common way of transmission of hepatitis C is through needles, for example drug users who share needles or undergo the process of making tattoos in a place that does not have sterile equipment. In addition, mutual lending to personal items such as nail clippers and toothbrushes and free sex can also increase a person's risk of contracting this disease. Among others are:

  • People who share the use of personal items that may be contaminated with blood, such as nail clippers or shavers.
  • Medical workers in hospitals who often handle the blood or body fluids of patients.
  • People who have sex without a safety device.
  • Patients who undergo medical procedures in hospitals with non-sterile equipment.
  • People with weakened immune systems, such as people with HIV.
  • People who undergo blood transfusions or organ transplants, especially before 1992. Because before that year, blood received from donors is still not checked whether it is free of the Hepatitis C virus.
  • People who undergo a tattoo or piercing process in a place that does not have sterile equipment.
  • Infants in the womb of pregnant women who are infected.

However, the hepatitis C virus will not spread through mother's milk, food, drink, or touch like shaking or hugging.

Diagnosis and Treatment of Hepatitis C

If handled as early as possible, liver damage in patients with hepatitis C can be prevented and inhibited. Therefore, people who are at high risk of contracting this disease are advised to undergo blood tests to diagnose hepatitis C. For example, people who have or actively use illegal drugs through injections or who have had blood transfusions.

If you have hepatitis C, you don't necessarily need treatment. The immune system is generally able to eradicate infections and not all people with chronic hepatitis C will definitely experience liver damage.

Acute hepatitis C usually resolves without special treatment. While chronic hepatitis C sufferers need to take steps through antiviral drugs. These drugs will stop the development of the virus and prevent liver damage. Examples of commonly used antivirals are interferon and ribavirin.

The experts then managed to find a new type of drug that was more effective and safer and could be tolerated by the body. The name of the newest drug is direct antiviral agent (DAA).

Please remember that if you have had and recovered from hepatitis C, it does not mean that your body has complete immunity to the virus. Despite recovering, hepatitis C sufferers must be careful because they still have the risk of being re-infected with the same disease.

Hepatitis C Complications

Hepatitis C infection that continues for years and is not treated can cause fatal liver damage. These complications include cirrhosis, liver cancer, and liver failure.

Scarring in the liver or cirrhosis is a complication that develops within 20 years after first being infected. Drinking alcohol and developing type 2 diabetes and other hepatitis infections can also increase a person's risk of developing cirrhosis. Symptoms of cirrhosis include fatigue, nausea, not eating, the right upper abdomen (location of the liver) feels pain, jaundice, and severe itching.

Severe cirrhosis can cause liver failure and liver cancer. Symptoms that indicate liver failure include dark urine, liquid stools and pallor, hair loss, frequent bleeding and bleeding gums, and vomiting of blood. While liver cancer has symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, jaundice, and weight loss for no apparent reason.

Cirrhosis and liver failure can only be cured by a liver transplant procedure. Handling with drugs only aims to reduce symptoms and prevent cirrhosis from getting worse.

While liver cancer is generally difficult to cure. Handling with chemotherapy is used to slow the spread of cancer.

Hepatitis C Prevention Steps

Hepatitis C cannot be prevented by vaccination. But there are several ways that we can do to reduce the risk of transmission, such as stopping or not using illegal drugs. Not sharing the use of potentially blood-contaminated personal items (such as nail clippers and toothbrushes) can also be done as a precaution.

Although this disease is rarely transmitted through sex, the use of safety devices such as condoms can prevent you from hepatitis C. Especially if there is contact with blood, such as anal sex or menstrual blood.

Prevention of the spread of the hepatitis C virus is also important. People with hepatitis C can prevent transmission by:

  • Clean and cover the wound with waterproof tape.
  • Don't be a blood donor.
  • Always cleanse blood spills with household cleaning remedies.
  • Don't share needles and personal belongings.

People with hepatitis C are also more at risk for other types of hepatitis. Doctors generally recommend vaccination to prevent hepatitis A and hepatitis B.



References

References

World Health Organization (2018). Hepatitis C.

World Health Organization (2012). Hepatitis is Closer Than You Think.


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Is a health and wellness enthusiast. In him free time, she loves to travel and taste different types of teas.

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