Hepatitis C is when your liver is inflamed because of a virus. There is an estimated 3.2 million Americans alone that have Hepatitis C. About 17,000 people get infected with Hepatitis C each and every year. If you leave it untreated, it will turn into a chronic liver disease, resulting in a traumatic situation.
How Do You Get Hepatitis C?
The main way hepatitis C is spread is the sharing of needles and any other tools that one would use to inject illegal drugs into their skin. Health care workers are also at risk for getting the disease too. Therefore, they need to be extra cautious when dealing with needles because if they come in contact with an infected patient, they do not want to get stuck with the needle. Another way you can get hepatitis C is at the tattoo parlor. It is very rare, but if the parlor does not clean its equipment, there is a great chance you may contract the disease. It should be known that you cannot get the disease by hugging, kissing, or sharing the same utensils.
Who Gets Hepatitis C?
Research has discovered that many baby boomers have the infection. They are not sure why, but that is what studies have shown. They are thinking that it has to do with the blood screening methods prior to 1992. Or perhaps they contracted the disease if they used illegal drugs. However, the CDC suggests if you were born in the 1940s through the 1960s you should get tested to see if you have the disease.
Hepatitis C Symptoms
The symptoms are very common to other illnesses. Most people who contract the disease do not show any signs or symptoms. However, the people who do show symptoms usually experience vomiting, stomach pain, fever, and nausea. You might also experience fatigue and loss of appetite. Since these symptoms can be just about any illness, if you feel that you have the disease, see your doctor.
Long-Term Risks of Hepatitis C
It is vital that you get treatment if you have the disease. If you do not get the proper treatment, you can develop serious liver damage. This can easily lead to liver failure, liver cancer, and cirrhosis.
Diagnosing Hepatitis C
All it takes is a simple blood test. If you screen positive, your doctor will more than likely want to take a few more tests to make sure you in fact, have hepatitis C. Once you are diagnosed, you will be starting treatment.
Treating Hepatitis C
The way most doctors will treat hepatitis C is a combination of a shot and a pill, or they will want to use an anti-virus drug. However, treatment is always changing. You may have a combination of anti-viral drugs along with the shot and pills. The reason behind this is because it has a much higher cure rate, and doesn’t take long to treat. Plus, it has fewer side effects than the other ways.