Hepatitis C is an infection of the liver caused by the hepatitis C virus. The liver inflates more than the normal range in this case. Hepatitis can last either for an extended period, or sometimes it lasts for a shorter term. Hepatitis C virus can cause both chronic and acute hepatitis.
Acute hepatitis C occurs within six months of being exposed to the hepatitis C virus. In most cases of acute hepatitis C, the infection leads to chronic disease.
Chronic hepatitis C is a chronic liver disease that can be fatal to human health. It can cause many health problems like liver cirrhosis, liver damage, liver cancer, and even death.
The hepatitis C virus or HVC is bloodborne. That means you can get infected by HVC only if the virus comes in direct contact with your blood. The few possible ways through which you can be exposed to the HVC virus are:
- Unscreened blood or blood product transfusion
- Using used injection needles or blades
- Improper health care
- Sexual practices leading to blood exposure.
Hepatitis C can also be transmitted from a mother to its newly born child at the time of birth. This will happen if either of the parents of the baby is HCV positive. These modes of transmission are less common.
It should be noted that HCV spreads only through blood contact and not by casual touching like shaking hands, hugging, or kissing. It also does not spread through breastfeeding or through sharing food and drinks.
The studies estimate that more than half of those affected by the Hepatitis C virus develop a chronic infection. Many people are diagnosed with cirrhosis of the liver and even liver cancer among the chronically affected population.
Most of the people do not exhibit any symptom of Hepatitis C in the initial period. The incubation period of the virus can range from two weeks to six months. Those who have acute infection might develop pale yellow skin symptoms like jaundice, vomiting tendency, stomach upset, abdominal pain, decreased appetite, constant fatigue, dark urine, and light-colored feces.
As the disease becomes more and more chronic over time, many people develop serious liver diseases, which can range from being mild to being severe. Chronic liver diseases caused due to HVC occurs slowly and take decades to show any signs or symptoms.
Due to the hepatitis C virus’s asymptomatic nature, only a few people get to address the disease at the early stages and start their treatment. For those who develop a chronic disease, the infection may lead to severe liver damage.
Hepatitis C is a very deadly disease, and protections must be taken to avoid it as much one can. Unlike hepatitis A or hepatitis B, the vaccine for hepatitis C is still not available in the market. However, antiviral medicines are there, which can reduce hepatitis C infection and decrease the number of deaths due to liver cirrhosis or liver cancer. Due to the vast resource requirement and other various causes, the rate of people accessing this diagnosis and treatment is very less.
The hepatitis C virus is spread all over the world. The world health organization has found the significant dominance of HCV in the Eastern Mediterranean region and the European region. In the historical era, when the immense practice of being aware of a transmitted disease was not there, there was no sign of abstinence from various activities, which today would have caused a great stir.