What is hepatitis C?
Hepatitis C is a virus that primarily affects the liver. It is divided into two stages: acute and chronic. Acute hepatitis C is usually treatable and curable. Chronic hepatitis C is a virus that can cause damage to the liver. It is known as a silent killer as the liver disease does not manifest itself until the late stage.
The mode of transmission includes past exposure to infected blood/ blood products and/ or contaminated injection devices. Blood tests for the type of hepatitis C virus, viral activity, and liver imaging, inform the decision for an anti-viral treatment course and prognosis.
What are the symptoms?
Noticeable symptoms of hepatitis C are rare, but the following symptoms do occasionally occur:
- Loss of appetite
- Muscle pain
How is hepatitis C diagnosed?
It is typically diagnosed through a blood test.
What are the treatment options?
Depending on the stage and severity of the hepatitis C virus, various combinations of medications may be recommended. Eating a healthier diet and not drinking alcohol may also help treat acute hepatitis C.
Medications and lifestyle changes are designed to clear the blood of the virus, prevent the virus from developing to chronic status and prevent cirrhosis from occurring. If cirrhosis does occur and reaches an advanced stage, a liver transplant may be recommended.