Hepatitis C is a viral infection that causes liver inflammation, sometimes causing serious liver damage. The liver disease C infection (HCV) spreads through polluted blood.
Till just recently, hepatitis C treatment needed weekly injections and oral medications that many HCV-infected people could not take because of other illness or undesirable side effects.
That’s changing. Today, chronic HCV is generally curable with oral medications taken every day for two to six months. Still, about half of individuals with HCV have no idea they’re infected, primarily since they have no symptoms, which can take years to appear.
Because of that, the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention suggests a one-time screening blood test for everybody at increased risk of the infection.
The biggest group at risk consists of everyone born in between 1945 and 1965– a population 5 times more likely to be infected than those born in other years.
Particular things might increase your risk of ending up being infected with the liver disease C infection. Just because you are at risk for getting hepatitis C does not imply that you have the infection.
Many people do not know how they became infected with hepatitis C.
Needle Use or Unexpected Stick
You can get liver disease C from:
- Sharing needles and other equipment (such as cotton, spoons, and water) used to inject drugs.
- Having your ears or another body part pierced or having acupuncture with needles that have not been sanitized appropriately. The risk of getting hepatitis C in these methods is very low.
- Working in a healthcare environment where you are exposed to fresh blood or where you might be pricked with a used needle. Following basic safety measures for health care workers makes this risk extremely low.
Other possible threats
Your risk of liver disease C infection is increased if you:
- Having had a blood transfusion or organ transplant before 1992. Since 1992, all contributed blood and organs are screened for liver disease C.
- Having been exposed to unsafe practices for giving shots, such as recycling needles. This occurs in some developing nations.
- Needing to have your blood filtered by a machine (hemodialysis) because your kidneys can not filter your blood.
- Being born to a mother who has liver disease C. The risk of passing the infection to a child is higher if the mom is likewise infected with HIV.
- Have ever injected or breathed in illicit drugs.
- Have HIV.
- Gotten clotting aspect concentrates prior to 1987.
- Were born to a woman with a hepatitis C infection.
- Were ever in jail.
People born from 1945 to 1965 are 5 times most likely to be infected with hepatitis C than people born in other years.
The risk of getting hepatitis C through sexual contact is really small.
Liver disease C infection that continues over several years can cause substantial complications, such as:
- Scarring of the liver (cirrhosis). After 20 to 30 years of liver disease C infection, cirrhosis may happen. Scarring in your liver makes it tough for your liver to function.
- Liver cancer. A small number of people with liver disease C infection might establish liver cancer.
- Liver failure. Advanced cirrhosis might cause your liver to stop functioning.
Good luck! Have a nice weekend!