Hepatitis C, based on the World Health Organization fact sheet, is a liver disease caused by the hepatitis C virus, which is bloodborne. An estimated 71 million people (around the globe) have chronic hepatitis C infection and approximately 399, 000 people die each year due to this illness (in the U.S., about 3.5 million people have the disease).
Many of those affected with Hepatitis C are not in the know that they have the disease due to absence of symptoms. Those who experience symptoms, however, these can include:
- Pain in the stomach or abdomen;
- Soreness around the liver;
- Dark urine;
- A sore or achy feeling all over the body;
- Decreased appetite;
- Chronic fatigue or sleepiness; and/or,
- Yellowing of the eyes.
Food, water, and casual contact do cause the spread of Hepatitis C. The virus is rather spread through the blood or body fluids of an infected person, and through the following:
- Sharing drugs and needles with someone who has the disease;
- Having sex, especially if you have an STD, an HIV infection, several partners, or have rough sex;
- Getting stuck by an infected needle; and,
- Birth — a mother passing it to her child.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), it is important that you get tested for the disease if you:
- Received blood from a donor who had the disease.
- Have ever injected drugs.
- Had a blood transfusion or an organ transplant before July 1992.
- Received a blood product used to treat clotting problems before 1987.
- Were born between 1945 and 1965.
- Have been on long-term kidney dialysis.
- Have HIV.
- Were born to a mother with hepatitis C.
According to a Glendale Hepatitis C doctor, individuals with Hepatitis C should focus on avoiding alcohol consumption and following a healthy, balanced diet. In addition, new antiviral medications are often effective in controlling the virus and curing Hepatitis, enabling you to live your life and resume normal activities.
In serious cases of Hepatitis C, a liver transplant may be the most effective option, but this is not required in most cases (especially if it is caught and treated early).