Hepatitis C is a virus caught by blood contact, it was found in the 1970s and confirmed as Hepatitis C in the late 1980s. Hepatitis C damages the liver, the bodys largest organ by causing inflammation.
It is estimated that there are over 170 million sufferers in the world, yet many people dont even know they have it, so why is there no real battle to supply information on this virus to patients?
As Hepatitis C has been classed as an epidemic and a public health risk there should be more information available for the general public to understand what Hepatitis C is and how they can try to protect themselves from this silent virus.
Hepatitis C is growing at an alarming rate, reports show that between 35,000 and 185,000 people are diagnosed with the virus every year in the United States alone.
Why is Hepatitis known as a silent virus
One of he major problems with combating Hepatitis C is the fact that it doesnt show any symptoms in eight out of ten patients and most of those who find they are suffering with Hepatitis C have been infected for long periods of time.
What effects can Hepatitis C have on my body
Most people who have Hepatitis C will have liver inflammation; this can also lead to more dangerous conditions like Cirrhosis and liver cancer.
On a more day-to-day level Hepatitis C has affects that make a patient have fatigue, joint pains.
Hepatitis has also been known to cause impaired cognitive skills like loss of memory and problems concentrating. The cognitive problems can be so severe that patients cannot express themselves verbally very well and have problems understanding questions unless they are clearly written in an easy to understand manner.
How can I treat Hepatitis C?
Before treatment of Hepatitis C medical experts will tell a patient that vaccination against Hepatitis A and B is the best course of action.
The best treatment for Hepatitis C available today is a combination of two drugs, Interferon and Ribavirin. These drugs are normally taken for six to 12 months and will alleviate the viral affects of Hepatitis.
During the course of the treatment patients do require a lot of support as the side affects can be quite strong, some people have report nausea, anemia or even psychiatric problems giving them suicidal thoughts.
The road ahead
If the health care systems in countries around the world do not work on the future management and treatment of this epidemic there could be disastrous consequences. Liver services in most countries are already becoming stretched from this virus and if the amount of people infected keeps rising then people will find they are not going to get the treatment they need to manage this condition.
We all want to enjoy our lives to the full and most of us believe that our health is one of the most important factors in our life. The next time you visit your doctor dont forget to ask about Hepatitis C and what you can do to prevent getting infection.