Monday, March 8, 2010

Hepatitis C a viral Disease that Leads to Swelling

Hepatitis C

Hepatitis C is a viral disease that leads to swelling (inflammation) of the liver.
Alternative Names

Non-A or non-B hepatitis

Hepatitis Causes

Hepatitis C infection is caused by the hepatitis C virus (HCV). People who may be at risk for hepatitis C are those who:

* Have been on long-term kidney dialysis
* Have regular contact with blood at work (for instance, as a health care worker)
* Have unprotected sexual contact with a person who has hepatitis C (this is less common, but the risk increases for those who have multiple sex partners, already have a sexually transmitted disease, or are infected with HIV)
* Inject street drugs or share a needle with someone who has hepatitis C
* Received a blood transfusion before July 1992

* Received a tattoo or acupuncture with contaminated instruments (the risk is very low with licensed, commercial tattoo facilities)
* Received blood, blood products, or solid organs from a donor who has hepatitis C
* Share personal items such as toothbrushes and razors with someone who has hepatitis C (less common)
* Were born to a hepatitis C-infected mother (this is less common than with hepatitis B)

Hepatitis C has an acute and chronic form. Most people who are infected with the virus develop chronic hepatitis C.

Other hepatitis virus infections include hepatitis A and hepatitis B. Each viral hepatitis infection is caused by a different virus.

Symptoms hepatitis C infection

Many people who are infected with hepatitis C do not have symptoms.

If the infection has been present for many years, the liver may be permanently scarred, a condition called cirrhosis. In many cases, there may be no symptoms of the disease until cirrhosis has developed.

The following symptoms could occur with hepatitis C infection:

* Abdominal pain (right upper abdomen)
* Ascites
* Bleeding varices (dilated veins in the esophagus)
* Dark urine
* Fatigue
* Generalized itching
* Jaundice
* Loss of appetite
* Low-grade fever
* Nausea
* Pale or clay-colored stools
* Vomiting

Exams and Tests

The following tests are done to help diagnose hepatitis C:

* ELISA assay to detect hepatitis C antibody
* Hepatitis C genotype. Six genotypes exist. Most Americans have genotype 1 infection, which is the most difficult to treat.
* Hepatitis C RNA assays to determine virus levels (called viral load)

The following tests are done to identify and monitor liver damage from hepatitis C:

* Liver function tests
* Albumin level
* Prothrombin time

Liver biopsy can show how much damage has been done to the liver.

Hepatitis Treatment

There is no cure for hepatitis C, but medications in some cases can suppress the virus for a long period of time.

Some patients with hepatitis C benefit from treatment with medications. The most common medications are a combination of interferon alpha and ribavirin, an antiviral medication.

* Most patients receive weekly injections just under the skin with a form called pegylated interferon alpha.
* Ribavirin is a capsule taken twice daily. The major side effect is low red blood cells (anemia). Ribavirin also causes birth defects. Women should avoid getting pregnant during, and for 6 months after, treatment.
* Treatment is given for 24 - 48 weeks.

These medications have a number of side effects, including:

* Depression
* Fatigue
* Fever
* Flu-like symptoms
* Headache
* Irritability
* Loss of appetite
* Low white blood cell counts and platelets
* Nausea
* Thinning of hair
* Vomiting

See: Cirrhosis for information about treating more severe liver damage caused by hepatitis C.

Patients who develop cirrhosis or liver cancer may be candidates for a liver transplant.

People with hepatitis C should also:

* Be careful not to take vitamins, nutritional supplements, or new over-the-counter medications without first discussing it with their health care provider.
* Avoid any substances that are toxic to the liver (hepatotoxic), including alcohol. Even moderate amounts of alcohol speed up the progression of hepatitis C, and alcohol reduces the effectiveness of treatment.
* Get vaccinated against hepatitis A and B.

1 comment:

  1. For abdominal pain it is best to drink half lukewarm glass of milk with turmeric powder mixed without sugar. It has the power to cure any wound and kill bacteria invasion to any part of the organ. Think consuming Pure Noni Juice also for it is very beneficial in treating stomach related disorders.