Hepatitis C, chronic hepatitis: symptoms and treatment

Health PliskiN July 25, 2016 0 14
Hepatitis C is a virus that infects the liver and cause liver damage in the long term. The virus is spread by contact with blood of an infected person. Many people are not aware that they have hepatitis C. They will not initially have symptoms, sometimes on some fatigue after. It may take decades before the diagnosis. There are chronically infected individuals for drugs to treat hepatitis C.

Hepatitis C

  • What is hepatitis C?
  • What are the causes of hepatitis C infection?
  • What are the signs and symptoms?
  • How is hepatitis C?
  • How is hepatitis C treated?
  • Is there a vaccine against hepatitis C?

What is hepatitis C?

Hepatitis C is a bemettelijke disease caused by a virus that infects the liver. Over time, this can lead to permanent liver damage, such as liver cirrhosis, liver cancer, and liver failure.
Many people are unaware that they have hepatitis C until they already have some liver damage. A hepatitis C infection is at about 70% of the cases unnoticed over in a chronic form. Approximately 20-30% of people with the chronic form develops liver damage and of these will get about 2-5% per year liver cancer. It may take up to 20-30 years after infection before a person with hepatitis C get physical symptoms and then it is often too late for treatment.

What are the causes of hepatitis C infection?

Hepatitis C is caused by the hepatitis C virus. Transmission is primarily by blood to blood contact:
  • by sharing needles during intravenous drug use;
  • by a bloedtransfusie¹;
  • through the use of contaminated toothbrushes algae caused by bleeding gums, or contaminated razors;
  • by use of contaminated needles;
  • transmission of hepatitis C virus through sexual contact is only described in hivpositieve men who have sex with men;
  • it can be transmitted during birth from mother to child.

The disease is contagious from one week after infection and the incubation period is on average seven weeks.

What are the signs and symptoms?

A hepatitis C infection initially proceeds usually asymptomatic. However, some people get in a few months experience the following symptoms:
  • tiredness;
  • joint pain;
  • decreased appetite;
  • nausea;
  • vague abdominal pain;
  •  jaundice.

This is called acute hepatitis, which usually goes away by itself. Most people develop chronic hepatitis C. They have the first years of the disease has no symptoms, or are just tired. It can take at this group of people for decades before diagnosis.

How is hepatitis C?

Many people discover by accident that the virus they carry with them. For example, they find out if their blood is investigated with a view to blood donation or as part of a routine check, whereby also the functioning of the liver is examined. In the blood are found in many people with hepatitis C, increased levels of certain liver enzymes, as a result of an inflammation of the liver. Hepatitis C through blood tests can be demonstrated.

How is hepatitis C treated?

A special diet for hepatitis C is not necessary. However, alcohol use is strongly discouraged, because alcohol increases the risk of permanent liver damage. It is also important to prevent people from the area of ​​the patient becoming infected. This can be done by the avoidance of blood to blood contact.
If the virus is detected in time, treatment can prevent severe damage to the liver. There are chronically infected individuals for drugs to treat hepatitis C. The current treatment consists of a combination of two drugs that combat the infection: peg-interferon and ribavirin. Specifically, this means weekly injections of peg-interferon plus ribavirin orally twice daily for a period of 24 or 48 weeks. The development of several new antiviral drugs is at an advanced stage.

Is there a vaccine against hepatitis C?

There is no hepatitis C vaccine available.
Hepatitis C to more effectively cured with new drugs
Hepatitis C appears to be well cured by medication. American research shows that nearly all patients recover within six months, even the group with the most severe, incurable form. The effective dose was found to consist of a combination of two experimental drugs. More than 200 patients participated in the study and were given for a period of three to six months, given the two new antiviral drugs daclatasvir and sofosbuvir. It turned out that 95% of them already not had more virus particles in the blood after six months.
These results mean possible that the use of the present agent, ribavirin, is superfluous. This drug is now part of the standard treatment and often causes severe anemia. The cure rate of the current standard treatment is 60% to 75%, but is often accompanied by the necessary side-effects. The new drugs provide a better chance for a cure because they inhibit the multiplication of the virus effectively know. For sofosbuvir is with the Health Care Insurance meantime requested fee. However, there will be high costs associated with the use of this drug, ?? about 60,000 per patient.
  • Including the Netherlands and other Western European countries since 1992, checked for blood transfusions for hepatitis C.
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