Chronic Hepatitis C Infection Symptoms

 By: Jasmine Stone
Hepatitis C is a stealthy virus that mutates while hiding in liver cells and other organ cells like the spleen and gall bladder. The fact that the viral cells "hide" makes it very difficult for the body's immune system to eradicate it. Hepatitis C is a slowly progressing disease sometimes taking many years until symptoms are noticeable. It is at this point that the virus has reached advanced chronic stage and becomes difficult to eradicate. Hepatitis C results in 8,000 to 10,000 deaths annually. Hepatitis C is also the leading cause of liver transplants in the U.S.

Hepatitis C infection is caused by blood contact with someone who has the virus infection himself. The transmission of the virus can occur by illicit drug use with needles, sharing toothbrushes or razors with an infected person, by sexual means, by unsanitary tattooing or by exposure to blood at your workplace (like a hospital or blood bank). Some HCV infection may have been caused by receiving blood from a transfusion prior to 1992.

Hepatitis C is diagnosed via a blood test. Usually, the first thing that is noticed is that the liver enzyme levels for ALT and AST are elevated well above normal levels. Further investigation via HCV-RNA testing identifies whether the Hepatitis C virus is in your blood or not. Other tests for HCV include qualitative viral load tests, which measure the RNA particles in your blood. If you are being treated for HCV, your doctor is probably using either a HCV-RNA or viral load test to determine the effectiveness of the treatment.

The symptoms of Hepatitis C infection often do not occur in a person until 20 years after he/she had been infected. Since the HCV infects the liver and the liver is the organ in the body that makes all the energy for our daily activities possible, liver function deterioration often results in fatigue. Fatigue is the primary complaint or symptom of HCV infection. Other more severe symptoms are jaundice (yellowing of the skin/eyes), bile retention (which can cause jaundice), portal vein hypertension, skin rashes and itching, and autoimmune problems resulting from your body's immune system attacking normal cells.

Long term HCV infection may result in fibrosis or even cirrhosis of the liver. Fibrosis results from unchecked liver inflammation. As the HCV infection progresses, the damage to the liver results in scarring or hardening of the liver cells (fibrosis). Long term fibrosis may lead to cirrhosis which is when the scarring from fibrosis overtakes the normal liver cell structure causing deformity and loss of function in the liver. About 15%-20% of HCV patients end up with cirrhosis. A liver biopsy is currently the most accurate means of determining the amount of inflammation and fibrosis the liver has sustained.

Hepatitis C progression in the body can take several years or even decades to come to chronic stage or to a stage where severe liver damage is evident. This period of time allows a person to determine how to properly treat the disease and to decide on a course of disease management. Currently, the main treatment for HCV infection to eradicate the virus is combo alpha-interferon and Ribavirin. Sometimes a doctor may prescribe interferon alone. Interferon comes in standard form or in pegylated form. Standard form interferon is administered 3 times per week, while the pegylated form is administered only once per week. Your body makes its own interferon, which is a protein that fights viral infection and viral replication.

Hepatitis C may often be managed by taking herbal and vitamin supplements that help your body fight infection and limit inflammation. These supplements help your liver with the inflammation and give it the nutrients it needs to regenerate healthy new cells. Your doctor can recommend alternative or adjunct solutions you may want to try.

Proper treatment of the disease, a healthy and active lifestyle, a good diet, abstinence from alcohol and stress management are important factors in controlling Hepatitis C progression.
loading...
Author:
Artice Source: http://www.articlesphere.com

Related Articles in Hepatitis


People interested in the above article are also interested in the related articles listed below:

Medical research may seem a rather dull, tedious occupation; however, some of the people who engage in it have extraordinary tales to tell. Dr. Wolf Szmuness, who helped develop the first hepatitis B vaccine, is an outstanding example. The story of how he came to New York City from Poland to carry out his life-saving work reads like high fiction.
While Hepatitis A is largely only a risk in underdeveloped countries, there are a combined 5.25 million people in America living with Hepatitis B and C. The consequences of not undergoing Hepatitis treatment can be chronic Hepatitis, which can lead to serious liver damage and death. With that in mind, it’s important to understand the truth about Hepatitis...
Hepatitis, more particularly Hepatitis C, has been associated with the decline or worsening of the oral health condition of patients infected with the diseases. As such, these patients experience problems not just pertaining to the health of their teeth and mouth, but also with their quality of life as manifested by their reluctance to interact with other people in society due to their very poor oral health.

More in Hepatitis

Excellent, Larry. Thank you for taking the new article directory technology and making it work to the max. I encourage everyone to keep contributing and contributing regularly. I can attest to the fact that this site is already a strong directory in a field of many. Kudos to Larry!

Matthew C. Keegan
The Article Writer

 

I find it a delight to use both as an author and a publisher. It is full of nice little surprises that make the whole process of writing, reading and publishing articles a complete delight. This is one that comes out tops and beats the rest hands down.

Eric Garner
Managing Director
ManageTrainLearn

 

I did a Google search and came across your site. It was exactly what I was looking for and was elated to find such a broad range of articles. As I am launching a free magazine in a small town in Florida, I wanted to be as resourceful as possible while still being able to provide some content that is interesting and well written. Your site has all the variables in the mix. Excellent Site hitting all the notes in the scale sort of speak.

Mo Montana
Florida, USA

Article Topics

 
Copyright © 2005 - by Larry Lim, Singapore - Article Search Engine Directory at ArticleSphere.com™
All Rights Reserved Worldwide. All Trademarks and Servicemarks are the property of the respective owners.
ArabicBulgarianCatalanChinese (Simplified)Chinese (Traditional)CzechDanishDutchEnglishEstonianFinnishFrenchGermanGreekHaitian CreoleHebrewHindiHungarianIndonesianItalianJapaneseKoreanLatvianLithuanianNorwegianPersianPolishPortugueseRomanianRussianSlovakSlovenianSpanishSwedishThaiTurkishUkranianVietnamese