HCV Symptoms and Treatment
Hepatitis C is a silent disease. It is called this because most people who are infected, experience little or no symptoms of the disease. More than 4 million people in the United States are infected with the virus and many don't know it.
This virus is at epidemic proportions, not only in the United States but in the world. Hepatitis is blood virus that causes inflammation of the liver.
If the disease is caught and treated early enough, some have been cured, with no instance of recurrence. More than 75% of people with the virus have progressed to chronic hepatitis C. Though it progresses slowly, it is in the final stages when scarring, cirrhosis, cancer, and liver failure can occur.
New Successful Treatment for Hep C
Harvoni, is a relatively new treatment for Hepatitis C. It is the first treatment where you take only one pill a day. Clinical studies say patients with a genotype 1 who have not previously been treated for the virus has produced a cure in 96 - 99% of those treated. For more information go to http://harvoni.com.
What do they mean when they say, "cured"? You are considered cured when after three months after being treated, there are no detectable signs of the virus in the blood.
How Hepatitis C is Contracted
Millions of men and woman are infected with the virus right now and are not aware of it. This blood-borne disease can be transmitted by, blood transfusion, sexual intercourse or by being stuck with an infected needle.
Before 1992 when there was no tested of the public blood supply. This virus was transmitted through blood transfusion, dialysis, organ transplantation. It is also transmitted by improperly sterilized equipment in dentist, hospitals and even nail salons. People with weakened immune systems are more likely to contract the virus.
It can also be transmitted from mother to infant during childbirth and or by being stuck with a needle infected with the blood of someone infected with the virus or from nail salons, and tattoo parlors who don't use proper sterilization.
Hepatitis C can be transmitted through sex, hypodermic needles, childbirth, contaminated blood entering the eyes or an open cut.
Symptoms can be subtle and thus overlooked as a cold the flu or general malaise. The best way to determine if you have contracted this disease is through a blood test. Some of the symptoms are:
- Loss of appetite
- Low grade fever
- Light colored stool
- Itchy skin
- Mental confusion
Treatement for Hepatitis C
One of the prescribed methods of treatment of Hep C is Interferon. It was taken by injection and had to be taken 3 times a week. Now they have found something more effective by adding polyethylene glycol to interferon, and is only taken once a week.
A standard treatment for hepatitis C is pegylated interferon plus ribavirin. Pegylation is the process of allowing a drug to remain the blood longer. It is the treatment that has been found most effective in most patients.
There is also rebetron with ribavirin which is taken in capsule form and is more effective than interferon alone and does not have to be taken as long. The success of treatment also depends on the geno-type of the virus.
The amount of virus in the blood usually determine how severe the infection is and whether there may be damage to the liver. A liver biopsy will determine more accurately determine the progression of the disease of the liver. A blood test will measure the amount of virus in the blood. A viral load of 200,000 to 1,000,000 is considered low and a viral load of 25,000,000 is high.
Milk thistle is an herb that is know, to help cleanse and rebuild the liver. Though milk thistle can not cure, is can help support and detox the liver from free radical damage from environment and drugs.
There are other herbs that help detoxify and cleanse the liver such as dandelion extract, artichoke leaf extract, licorice root and rhizome
If diagnosed with hepatitis c, it is advised the patient not drink alcohol, smoke. A healthy life style should be adopted, avoiding stress, eating healthy and exercise. With early detection and treatment there is better possibility of remission or cure.
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