Hepatitis C: Diagnosis and Treatment

Hepatitis C is certainly a important viral illness that primarily affect the liver. Most current estimates indicate that about 1-2% of U.S. human population are affected by this illness. It's one of the most frequent causes of chronic liver condition, bringing about hardening and cancer with the liver. Obviously, hepatitis C remains probably the most common indications for liver transplant surgery in the usa.

Generally speaking, hepatitis C virus is transmitted through blood products. As a result, hepatitis C is contracted from items which are contaminated with blood for example needles and IV drugs. However, this virus is unlikely to be transmitted by casual contact, or from food. Additionally, unlike hepatitis B, hepatitis C is never trasmitted from sexual contact. Unfortunately, there isn't any effective type of vaccination for hepatitis C.

Hepatitis C is a chronic viral illness in which the infection lasts longer at least Half a year in duration. Normally, patients with chronic hepatitis C infection have no idea of their illness, because symptoms linked to this ailment is rare in early stages. However, as the viral infection persists, individuals may start to see persistent and chronic lassitude (fatigue). Others may complain of anorexia, nausea, and even weight reduction in rare cases. Since the illness advances, there could be findings for example yellowing of the skin (jaundice), vomiting of blood (hematemesis), fluid inside the abdomen (ascites), and altered a higher level consciousness and confusion (encephalopathy). However, even more worrisome complication of chronic hepatitis C will be the occurrence of cirrhosis or the hardening of liver, and liver cancer, called hepatocellular carcinoma (hepatoma).


Hepatitis C is diagnosed using blood tests. The first task within the diagnosis include hepatitis C antibody (ELISA based), and liver function test (ALT/AST). When the antibody is detected, hepatitis C viral RNA test will confirm the active infection. For installments of hepatitis C confirmed with viral RNA, additional tests which can be often necessary include genotyping, alpha-feto-protein (AFP), a serum marker for liver cancer, and ultrasound in the liver. Finally, a liver biopsy might be obtained to completely characterize the overall condition with the liver disease and also to exclude existence of fibrosis (cirrhosis).

The treatment selections for hepatitis C is rapidly evolving. Available treatments include ribavirin, PEG-interferon, and protease inhibitor including telaprevir and boceprevir. For patients with genotype 1 hepatitis C, a triple combination of ribavirin, interferon, and protease inhibitor is recommended for 6-12 months. They can expect cure rate of approximately 70%. On the other hand, patients with genotype 2 about three are treated for 6 months with a dual regimen of interferon and ribavirin. They have a higher cure rate of 80-90%.

Chronic hepatitis C is definitely a serious condition. For those using this illness, it is very important that they undergo a normal check-up including periodic liver function test, AFP determination, and sonogram. It is usually advisable to avoid alcohol, and then for any unnecessary medication. For those with active viral replication, the therapy with anti-viral drugs is recommended to prevent potential complications including cirrhosis and hepatoma.

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