Are you confused about what exactly Hepatitis C is? Never fear, Dr. Robin Baradarian, Director of Brooklyn Gastroenterology and Endoscopy, is here to give you the basics of what it is and how to deal with it. Only on HealthCosmos.
The term hepatitis refers to an inflammation of the liver. It's a general term used for any type of inflammation that can be caused by many things; for example, drugs or alcohol. It can also be caused by herbal supplements, toxins, bacteria. It can be caused by virus' as in the case of Hepatitis C. Hepatitis A, B and C are completely different from one another. They all have different ways of transmission or how a person becomes infected with them; how long they effect a person and what their major outcomes or effects are on a person's body.
Well the term acute Hepatitis C refers to a short term infection with the virus. Nearly 20% of cases of acute Hepatitis C resolve on their own. Eighty percent in turn, can turn into chronic Hepatitis C. While acute Hepatitis C does not have very serious outcomes, chronic Hepatitis C can have very serious outcomes including; cirrhosis, liver failure as well as hepatocellular carcinoma and even death.
Most people today contract Hepatitis C through needle sharing. Other forms of transmission have also been documented such as needle sticks, tattoos and piercing, if done in a place that's not clean, also dental procedures, receiving a blood transfusions.
The people at higher risk to get Hepatitis C through sexual contact are people who have multiple sexual partners, those with HIV and people who have sexually transmitted diseases. It's very rare to spread Hepatitis C through casual contact such as holding hands or kissing. But most people don't realize this but Hepatitis C can actually live outside of the body for a pretty long time. On a household surface, it can actually last up to three weeks. Common sense should be followed though and in the same household, we shouldn't share razors or toothbrushes.
Hepatitis C is a very serious and potentially dangerous disease if left untreated. Nearly 20,000 patients die a year as a direct result of the complications of Hepatitis C but we've come a long way. The most important thing is to become informed and educated and know that you have options to treat the disease.