The Invisible Disease
How do you know if you have hepatitis C? It can be difficult to determine in the early stages of the infection with hepatitis c virus because most people aren't aware of any symptoms.
A hepatitis virus that can attack the liver hence the condition is serious. In fact, when it comes to the hepatitis viruses (A, B and C), the hepatitis C infection is considered to be the most serious of all.
2. Symptoms Of Hepatitis C
How Can I Tell That I Have Hepatitis C?
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, CDC, up to 80 percent of those who have an acute form of hepatitis C will have no visible symptoms. In some cases, however, people will experience certain symptoms not long after the virus has infected them.
These symptoms may be mild but can also be severe for some people and they include;
• a fever
• feeling tired
• having a poor appetite
3. Signs Of Hepatitis C Infection
More Hepatitis C Warning Signs
If you are among the 20 to 30 percent of people who do develop hepatitis C symptoms soon after infection, you might also have these symptoms;
• nausea or vomiting
• pain in your stomach
• joint or muscle pain
• abnormalities in urine or bowel movements
• a yellowing in your eyes or skin
Early symptoms would be most likely to occur around six or seven weeks after exposure to the hepatitis C virus, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, CDC.
4. Delayed Symptoms Of Hepatitis C
While some people may develop hepatitis C symptoms within two weeks of infection, others might experience a much longer delay before noticing any symptoms.
It could take anywhere from six months to 10 years or more before someone with the virus becomes aware of any symptoms, according to the National Digestive Diseases Information Clearinghouse (NDDIC). This is because it can take years for the virus to lead to liver damage.
5. Types Of Hepatitis C
There are two main types of hepatitis C
• Acute hepatitis C and
• Chronic hepatitis C
The length of time you may experience symptoms will depend on the type of infection you have.
With acute hepatitis C, the symptoms are more short-term, lasting only six months or less. Acute hepatitis, however, can lead to another type of hepatitis, chronic hepatitis.
Chronic hepatitis can last for one's entire life because it's very difficult for the body to get rid of the virus.
Since it can be difficult to tell based on symptoms whether you have contracted hepatitis C, you can be tested for it. A simple blood test in your doctor's office or lab can confirm whether or not you have the condition.
After your doctor gets the results of your blood test, he or she may recommend that you undergo a biopsy on your liver to determine if you have chronic hepatitis C.
7. Treatments Of Hepatitis C Infection
Treating The Symptoms
If you do have symptoms of hepatitis C, there are treatments available. Your doctor may prescribe medications to prevent damage to your liver. By monitoring your symptoms closely and performing blood tests, your doctor can confirm whether certain treatments are working for you.
If you are diagnosed with chronic hepatitis C, you will likely be prescribed two drugs at once, ribavirin and interferon. Not everyone will benefit from this combination treatment, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, CDC.
8. Prevention, Taking Preventive Measures
Since it's particularly difficult to tell if someone has hepatitis C based on symptoms, it is imperative that one practices preventive measures to ensure one's safe from developing this infection.
• You need to consider taking up safe sexual practices.
• If you get tattoos or piercings, make sure that the employees use clean and sterile needles.
• You should avoid sharing needles as well.
If you do think you may have contracted hepatitis C, talk to your doctor as soon as possible. This may help to prevent potential liver damage by initiating treatment early.