Caused by the hepatitis C virus or HCV, hepatitis C is something that can be acute or chronic in nature. In most cases, acute hepatitis C is asymptomatic, which means that the disease does not cause any sign and symptom. Chronic hepatitis C, on the other hand, can cause complications if left untreated, including cirrhosis of the liver.
Medical experts say that HCV is a virus that is blood-borne, which means that it can spread from one person to the other by means of contaminated blood. Most cases of hepatitis C is due to the use of illegal drugs, in particular the injected kinds. Less common modes of spreading are unprotected sex, sharing or personal items and a few others.
Hepatitis C is something that can be found all over the planet. It is said that 130 to 150 million people worldwide have chronic hepatitis C. However, this liver infection is said to be more widespread in some parts of the globe. They include Africa as well as Eastern and Central Asia.
As mentioned earlier, the culprit behind hepatitis C is the hepatitis C virus or HCV. There is only a single way for the said virus to get from person to person, and that is by means of the blood. While it’s true that HCV may also be present in other bodily fluids, there is always a higher concentration of the virus found in the blood.
The most common cause of hepatitis C transmission is by means of illegal drug use, particularly the kind that involves the use of needles. The use of an injection employed by someone who has hepatitis C can leave you infected as well. Getting the liver disease is also possible when you use other drug paraphernalia that are contaminated.
Other ways for a person to get hepatitis C also exist, but they are considered by medical experts as less common. Some of these less common causes of hepatitis C include:
Having unprotected sex, most especially among men who have sexual intercourse with other men.
Using the toothbrush or razor of someone who has hepatitis C.
Getting a tattoo or body piercing, in particular if the tools or equipment used are contaminated.
Accidental puncturing of a contaminated needle, which is common among healthcare workers.
Receiving blood before the early 90s when donated blood back then was not screened for hepatitis C.
Getting dental or medical treatment involving the use of unsterilized equipment.
Childbirth, in particular when the mother is infected with hepatitis C.
It’s important to note that you will not get hepatitis C from any of the following: kissing, hugging, sharing spoons, forks, glasses and other kitchen utensils, and the use of public toilets.
According to medical experts, it’s very much possible for you to have hepatitis C but not know it because of the absence of any sign and symptom. However, various signs and symptoms associated with hepatitis C may show up as the disease progresses or damage to the liver increases.
Acute hepatitis C refers to the liver disease which does not last more than 6 months. Some of the signs and symptoms of it include:
Tiredness and malaise
Loss of appetite
Pain in the abdomen
Jaundice, or the yellowing of the skin and/or whites of the eyes (sclera)
Chronic hepatitis C refers to the liver disease that extends beyond 6 months. It’s important for it to be treated as it may cause some serious complications, including cirrhosis of the liver. Some of the signs and symptoms experienced by a person who has chronic hepatitis C are:
Muscle and joint pain
Mood swings and depression