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Hepatitis C

more about Hepatitis C

  • Hepatitis is an inflammation of the liver.  Hepatitis C is a specific type of hepatitis caused by the Hepatitis C virus, and is usually transmitted by blood products, but rarely from sexual activity (unlike Hepatitis B).  Hepatitis C can cause an acute infection or a chronic (persistent) one.

  • First phase (lasts 2- 3 weeks):
    1. Fatigue
    2. Not "feeling well"
    3. Loss of appetite
    4. Nasal discharge
    5. Sore throat
    6. Skin rashes
    7. Joint pain
    8. Fever or chills
    9. Nausea/vomiting
    10. Abdominal pain
    11. Diarrhea or constipation
  • Second phase (occurs 5-10 days after first phase):
    1. Possible yellow skin or eyes.
    2. Usually other symptoms improve
  • Third (convalescent) phase:

- Continued steady improvement

  • Chronic persistent hepatitis
    1. May have none
    2. Fatigue
    3. Loss of appetite
  • Chronic active hepatitis:
    1. May have none
    2. Fatigue
    3. Yellow skin or eyes may be present

  • Liver tenderness
  • Spleen tenderness
  • Elevated AST, ALT, and total Bilirubin
  • Hepatitis C antibody (HCV) testing to confirm diagnosis
  • Liver biopsy to diagnose chronic forms
  • Possible jaundiced skin or eyes

  • Homosexuals
  • Intravenous drug abusers
  • Medical professionals
  • Hemodialysis workers

  • Acute hepatitis:
    1. Avoid Tylenol and alcoholic beverages.
    2. Bed rest as needed.
    3. There is no known medical treatment.
  • Chronic active hepatitis:

- Alpha-Interferon plus Ribavirin

  • Infection by a delta agent.  This is a secondary agent on top of the infection with Hepatitis C.  It can make the infection much more severe.  Diagnosis is made by checking for anti-HDV in blood.
  • Hepatocellular (liver) cancer -- persons who have been infected with Hepatitis C, are at much higher risk of developing liver cancer
  • Liver Cirrhosis

  • Universal blood precautions
  • Blood products are now carefully screened in the United States.
  • Condoms may reduce or eliminate the chance of contracting Hepatitis C from sexual relations.

more about Hepatitis C

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