Causes of Hepatitis C, Symptoms, Treatment, Prevention

Causes of Hepatitis C, Symptoms, Treatment, Prevention

Causes of Hepatitis C

Hepatitis C is a liver disease caused by infection with the hepatitis C virus. This infection spreads when blood contaminated with the hepatitis C virus enters the bloodstream of another person.

Some of the main causes of the spread of hepatitis C virus are:

  • Using disposable syringes
  • Having sex without a condom with a hepatitis C patient
  • Get a blood transfusion from the patient
  • Perform medical procedures with non-sterile equipment
  • Sharing the use of a toothbrush, nail clippers, or razor with the sufferer

In addition to the blood, other body fluids of hepatitis C sufferers also contain the hepatitis C virus. However, a person cannot contract hepatitis C from:

  • Breast milk, unless there is a tear in the nipple
  • Hugging, kissing, and holding hands
  • Sharing food or drink with hepatitis C sufferers
  • Splashes of saliva from a person who sneezes or coughs

Hepatitis C Risk Factors

There are several factors that can increase the risk of hepatitis C virus transmission, namely:

  • Having a sexual partner suffering from hepatitis C
  • Tattooing or piercing with non-sterile equipment
  • Born to a mother suffering from hepatitis C
  • Abusing injectable NAPZA and sharing syringes
  • Suffering from HIV infection
  • Suffering from kidney failure
  • Undergoing blood washing procedures in the long term
  • Worked as a medical officer

Symptoms of Hepatitis C

The incubation period or the period of time since the hepatitis C virus enters the body until it causes complaints is 2 weeks to 6 months. In this time span (acute hepatitis C), generally, only a handful of sufferers experience symptoms, including:

  • Fever
  • Loss of appetite
  • Weak
  • Stomach ache
  • Vomit
  • Jaundice

Acute hepatitis C usually clears up on its own in 2–3 weeks. However, in some cases, the infection can progress to chronic hepatitis C.

Just as in the acute phase, most people with chronic hepatitis C do not experience any symptoms until the virus causes damage to the liver. Symptoms that can result from chronic hepatitis and liver damage include:

  • Body feels tired all-day
  • Joint and muscle pain
  • Bloated
  • Itchy skin
  • Loss of appetite
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Easy bruising or bleeding
  • Impaired short-term memory and difficulty concentrating
  • Changes in mood ( mood )
  • Jaundice
  • Accumulation of fluid in the abdomen (ascites )
  • Vomiting blood
  • Loss of consciousness

When to go to the doctor

Hepatitis C can occur without symptoms and suddenly cause complications. Therefore, consult a doctor if you are at risk for hepatitis C. In addition, also check with your doctor if you experience the symptoms above because it can be a sign of hepatitis C infection or other health problems.

People who already have chronic hepatitis C need to consult their doctor regularly until they are declared cured. By undergoing detection and control to the doctor on a regular basis, complications can be prevented or treated early.

Hepatitis C diagnosis

Doctors can diagnose hepatitis C through a blood test. There are two types of blood tests performed to diagnose this disease, namely:

1. Hepatitis C antibody test

This test aims to detect antibodies (immune) produced by the body in response to hepatitis C infection. If the test result is positive, the doctor will perform further tests to determine whether hepatitis C has entered the chronic stage or not.

Keep in mind, the hepatitis C antibody test will remain positive even if a person has recovered from hepatitis C.

2. Virus Genetic Test (HCV RNA)

This test aims to detect RNA, which is the genetic code of the hepatitis C virus. If this test shows a positive result, it means the body has failed to kill the virus and hepatitis C has progressed to chronic. This test can also determine the response to treatment.

After knowing that the patient is suffering from chronic hepatitis, the doctor will check the level of the patient’s liver damage through several additional tests, namely:

  • Blood tests Liver function tests through blood are done to determine the level of proteins or enzymes in the bloodstream, which can indicate damage to the liver.
  • Transient elastography fibroscan ) Fibroscan was performed to determine the level of damage or hardening of liver tissue.
  • Magnetic resonance elastography (MRE)
    The MRE test also aims to see the condition of the liver and the hardening of the liver tissue.
  • Liver biopsy
    With the help of ultrasound, the doctor will take a sample of liver tissue, which will then be examined in a laboratory.

Hepatitis C Treatment

Hepatitis C does not always have to be treated, this is because the immune system will heal the infection. However, if hepatitis C has progressed to chronic, the doctor will suggest a number of treatment measures, namely:

About Antivirus

Doctors will generally prescribe antiviral drugs to be taken for 12 weeks until the hepatitis C virus in the body is not detected. If needed, the doctor will give several types of antiviral drugs.

Common antiviral drugs used to treat hepatitis C include sofosbuvir, ritonavir, and ribavirin.

Hepatitis A and Hepatitis B Vaccination

Although the hepatitis C vaccine is not yet available, doctors will give hepatitis B and hepatitis A vaccines to prevent hepatitis C patients from getting hepatitis A or hepatitis B. The goal is to prevent further liver damage and worsening complications of chronic hepatitis C.

In addition to undergoing treatment, hepatitis C patients are encouraged to take the following measures:

  • Exercise regularly
  • Have sex safely
  • Quit smoking
  • Stop consuming alcoholic beverages
  • Eat a balanced nutritious diet
  • Do not share personal items, such as toothbrushes and razors
  • Do not take medicine without a doctor’s advice

If hepatitis C has already caused complications, such as cirrhosis or liver cancer, your doctor may recommend a liver transplant or liver transplant. This procedure is performed by replacing the patient’s damaged liver with a donor’s liver.

After a liver transplant, some patients need to take antiviral drugs to prevent the infection from spreading to the new liver.

Complications of Hepatitis C

Chronic hepatitis C can cause complications, especially if it has been going on for years. Complications that can occur include:

  • Scar tissue in the liver (cirrhosis)
    Hepatitis C infection that occurs for decades can cause scar tissue in the liver ( cirrhosis ). This condition can cause disturbances in liver function.
  • Liver failure
    Cirrhosis that develops progressively can cause the liver to lose its function. This condition is called liver failure.
  • Liver cancer
    Chronic infection of the liver can also cause liver cells to turn malignant ( liver cancer ).

Hepatitis C Prevention

Until now, there is no vaccine to prevent hepatitis C. However, there are several ways that can be done to prevent hepatitis C virus infection, namely:

  • Wash your hands with soap and water regularly, especially after outdoor activities and before eating
  • Not using drugs, let alone sharing needles with other users
  • Do not share the use of personal items, such as razors, toothbrushes, and nail clippers, because they are easily contaminated with blood
  • Be careful when you want to get pierced or tattooed, among others, by choosing a trusted piercing or tattoo site and ensuring that the equipment is sterile
  • Use personal protective equipment such as disposable gloves before contact with other people’s blood, especially for medical staff
  • Have safe sex, for example by using condoms and not having multiple sexual partners
  • Increase endurance, among others by eating a balanced nutritious diet and exercising regularly

Especially for people with hepatitis C who have open wounds, cover the wound with a plaster. This is to prevent the transmission of hepatitis C to others.

Leave a Comment