The Hepatitis C Virus
Some of you may have heard about the Hepatitis B Virus as it is usually one of the compulsory medical check-ups when you apply for a job. However, aside from the Hepatitis B Virus, there is also the Hepatitis C Virus that is equally important. Why? We will find out in this article.
There are 6 different types of Hepatitis C Virus, which are type 1-6. The differentiating of these types has nothing to do with its severity, but rather its treatment, which involves different formula, dose and usage period of the medicine. Type 2 and type 3 are the one said to be easier to cure.
The Hepatitis C Virus is a bloodborne virus. It is most commonly transmitted through sexual intercourse; reuse of syringe; inadequate sterilization of equipment when you went to non-standardize ear piercing or tattoo shops. The Hepatitis C Virus could be transmitted from a mother to her child as well.
Nonetheless, the Hepatitis C Virus cannot be transmitted by sharing items, sharing foods, coughing, sneezing, kissing, hugging or via physical contact.
Once enter the body, the Hepatitis C Virus will split and embed itself in the liver. At the beginning stage, the Hepatitis C Virus may cause acute hepatitis. Unfortunately, the symptoms will not show in most of the case, or it would be too mild for the infected person to notice the infection. Other symptoms involve flu, fatigue, loss of appetite, weight loss, dark urine, and jaundice. 15 percent of the infected person would be able to recover themselves, especially with a child under the age of 18 years old. However, 85 percent of the infected person will gradually develop chronic infections. It is important to note that the disease progression will also be more threatening throughout the years. After 10-30 years, it will develop to the stage of cirrhosis of the liver, which could further to liver cancer at its end-stage; a life-threatening cause.
The Hepatitis C Virus can be diagnosed via blood examination and screening for anti-HCV antibodies. If the result is positive for anti-HCV antibodies, then a nucleic acid test for HCV ribonucleic acid (RNA) is needed to confirm the infection, as well as its severity.
Moreover, it is important to know the exact type of the infected Hepatitis C Virus to plan proper treatment. This includes, but not limited to, assessing the level of liver function, and the severity of inflammation and fibrosis in the liver to determine the severity of the disease, which could be done by measuring the number of liver enzymes such as AST, ALT, METAVIR score, etc.
The Hepatitis C Virus could be considered as one of the silence threats, which most people are not aware of or concern about. Many patients come to see the doctor when it is already the end-stage causing a high number of deceased patients from cirrhosis of the liver and liver cancer. Until now, there is still no vaccine to prevent this virus, which is different from The Hepatitis B Virus that already has vaccines. Nonetheless, there are treatments for the virus. Do not wait for the chronic infection to spread until it causes severe diseases, as it would cost both the time and the resources. Therefore, please make the yearly health check-up your routine for a good life in the future.
The faster you know, the earlier you can get the treatment…