Our liver does a remarkable job every day to keep us alive and healthy. Along with brain and heart, our liver is one of the biggest and most important organs in our body.
Hepatitis C - silent killerBernice Clark ▼ Thursday May 29, 2008 3:50AM ET
Liver is responsible for storage of sugar, vitamins, minerals and iron needed for organs and food dissolution. It is responsible for creating proteins, blood coagulation, for controlling level of hormones and for dissolution of adversely substances. It is settled beyond right rib arch and without the liver we cannot live.
Hepatitis is a virus liver inflammation which causes liver cells damage or cells destruction. Hepatitis C is widely spread disease caused by HCV virus and it appears in six different shapes (genotypes). HCV genotype may influence illness severity and its treatment.
Genotype 1 is mostly found in patients in Europe and North America. It is harder to treat and it takes approximately one year to be eliminated from the body. Genotypes 2 and 3 are easier to treat and many persons with this type of hepatitis C can be healed in six months. Around 30 percent of patients in Europe and North America who have hepatitis C, have genotypes 2 and 3. Genotypes 2 and 3 also appear in far East and Australia. Genotype 4 most frequently appears in patients in Middle East and Africa (90 percent) and its healing lasts one year, as is the case with genotype 1. Genotypes 5 and 6 are rare and healing lasts one year, like in the case of genotypes 1 and 4.
Most of patients with hepatitis C don't have any symptoms. Because of that hepatitis C is frequently called "silent sickness". But it doesn't mean that their liver is not damaged. Acute phase lasts six months and during that time only 15 to 30 percent of patients may be healed without treatments and the only sign that they had an infection is the presence of antibodies to hepatitis C viruses in their blood.
Hepatitis C is called chronic if a patient has a virus for more than six months. Liver inflammation causes the death of liver cells and appearance of scars on the liver. That liver condition is called fibrosis. The scars can vary from mild to severe, and harder they are the liver functions more adversely.
Cirrhosis is the phase of liver condition when it is full of scars. Cirrhosis can cause serious complications and sometimes liver cancer if it's not treated. Fibrosis and cirrhosis may be slowed or stopped by therapy, even in case when the virus is present in the body. In all patients with chronic hepatitis C some 30 percent develop significant liver damage or cirrhosis in the period of 10 to 30 years. Patients with chronic hepatitis C may feel fatigue, have problems with concentration, feel seek, have pains in joints or mussels, and, not rare, they have symptoms of depression.
HCV transfer primarily by direct contact with contagious blood. Hepatitis C cannot be transferred by social contact, hugging, kissing and shaking hands. It can be transferred in the following cases: If you were - even a long time ago - taking drugs intravenous or intranasal; if you had transfusion or received an organ transplant; if you are on haemodialysis; had operation or frequent stomatology interventions; if you have tattoo, piercing, acupuncture; if you had sexual intercourse with contagious person, or if your mother had hepatitis C when you were born.
Vaccine for hepatitis C doesn't exist at this moment. ■