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Hepatitis C

Overview

Hepatitis C - an infectious disease of the liver caused by the hepatitis C virus To hepatitis C virus infection was carried out, it is necessary that the material containing the virus (the blood of an infected person), got into the bloodstream of another person. More than 2% of the world's population is infected with the virus. Each year the incidence of hepatitis C is increasing. It is believed that this increase is associated with the spread of drug addiction, as 38-40% of young people who get hepatitis C infected intravenous drug use. Approximately 70-80% of patients with hepatitis C develop a chronic form of the disease, which is the most dangerous, as it can lead to cirrhosis or liver cancer formation. Currently, a variety of effective drugs for the treatment of hepatitis C. With timely and correct treatment of a full recovery is possible in 60-80% of cases. Unfortunately, an effective vaccine against hepatitis C does not exist yet.

Causes of the disease

Source of infection sick person or a virus carrier.

Infection with hepatitis C virus in the following possible situations:

- addicts using one syringe for intravenous administration of drugs;
- when the body piercing and tattooing instruments contaminated with blood or patient carrier of infection;
- in sharing razors, nail supplies, toothbrushes;
- in hemodialysis (artificial kidney);
- health care workers during any medical procedures related to blood;
- transfusion blood (this transmission path is becoming less significant, since blood products developed countries necessarily tested for hepatitis C);
- sexual transmission of hepatitis C (during unprotected sexual contact with a carrier of the virus transmission probability is 3-5%);
- transmission of infection from mother to fetus (happens less than 5% of cases, infection usually occurs during labor, during the passage of the birth canal).

The risk of infection with hepatitis C virus in medical procedures can be saved in the developing world. If grossly violated health standards, the place of infection could be any office where medical procedures are performed.
Hepatitis C is transmitted through airborne droplets, by shaking hands, hugging, or sharing dishes, food or drinks. If there was a way of life in the transmission of the disease, when it necessarily the case that a particle of blood from the patient or a carrier of hepatitis C virus in the blood is infected.

Symptoms of hepatitis C

From infection to clinical manifestations held from 2-3 weeks to 6-12 months. In the case of an acute onset of the disease lasts for an initial period of 2-3 weeks, accompanied by joint pain, fatigue, weakness, indigestion. The temperature rise is rare. Jaundice is also unlikely. Acute hepatitis C is diagnosed very rarely and usually by accident.

After the acute phase of the disease a person may recover, the disease can become chronic, or of virus. The majority of patients (70-80% of cases) is developing a chronic course. The transition of acute hepatitis C in chronic occurs gradually: for several years increases the damage of liver cells, fibrosis develops. Liver function in this case may persist for a long time. And the first symptoms (jaundice, abdominal distension, spider veins on the skin of the abdomen, the growing weakness) may appear in cirrhosis of the liver.

The combination of hepatitis C to other forms of viral hepatitis dramatically increase the weight of the course and prognosis of the disease.

Diagnosis of Hepatitis C

For the diagnosis of hepatitis C is necessary to perform biochemical analysis of blood (bilirubin, ALT, AST, prothrombin index, alkaline phosphatase, cholesterol), a blood test for antibodies to hepatitis C virus (anti-HCV), PCR for HCV-RNA (qualitative PCR, quantitative PCR , genotyping), complete blood count, ultrasound of the abdomen and a number of other studies.

Hepatitis C virus RNA in blood (HCV-RNA) was measured by PCR. This study helps to confirm infection and gives information about the activity and rate of virus replication in the body.

The presence of antibodies of class IgM (anti-HCV IgM) to distinguish active hepatitis from the carrier (when no IgM antibodies and ALT levels are normal). With all the results, the doctor will be able to supply a complete diagnosis, to determine the level of virus in the body of the process, to assess the condition of the liver and the extent of its damage, pick up an effective and safe treatment.

What you can do?

If you have received a positive test for antibodies to hepatitis C virus in his or suspected disease on the basis of symptoms, should promptly contact their physician. Upon confirmation of the diagnosis should be scrupulously comply with prescribed treatments and give up drinking. Hepatitis C should be treated by an experienced specialist hepatologist. This will ensure maximum effectiveness of the treatment and to avoid additional costs. Non-traditional methods of medicine for the treatment of hepatitis C is not effective. So do not believe the hype, which tell of bioadditives, herbal teas and other miraculous means, promising a guaranteed cure for hepatitis in a short period of time.

If you are infected with the hepatitis C virus, be sure you will question your doctor about precautions in the family.

What can a doctor?

Program hepatitis C depends on the type and severity of the disease.
Treatment of chronic hepatitis C is based on the combination antiviral therapy. If treatment is started in time the prognosis is usually favorable. The effectiveness of therapy of hepatitis C is estimated by biochemical parameters of blood (decrease of ALT, AST, alkaline phosphatase), presence or absence of HCV RNA and viral load.

Prevention of hepatitis C

- avoiding the use of intravenous drug use (if you can not abandon them, never use someone else's syringe and needle);
- do not share razors, toothbrushes and any article which may be blood;
- at a reception at the dentist, check that all potentially hazardous manipulations were carried out only disposable instruments;
- visit only tested and high-quality manicure and tattoo parlors (master must wash their hands to work in single-use disposable gloves and tools);
- persons who have sex with patients with hepatitis C virus or carriers, the use of condoms.