Hepatitis C Test London
A very common infection which can spread through contaminated blood is Hepatitis C, and it is caused by the Hepatitis C virus (HCV). It is a viral inflammation of the liver which can sometimes lead to serious life-threatening liver damage if left untreated.
Hepatitis C infection can be treated with modern treatment and the people cured can have their normal life expectancy. However, most people do not go for treatment because they do not even know they are infected. Infection can stay for years before its symptoms appear; that is why a regular blood test is advised. Through direct contact with the blood of an infected person, Hepatitis C can be contacted, and in rare cases through unprotected sex.
Symptoms of hepatitis C
Hepatitis C is a “silent infection” –a person can be infected for many years without noticeable symptoms. Symptom appears at the chronic stage when the virus has damaged the liver enough to cause those signs and symptoms. When symptoms occur in some cases, they can be mistaken for another condition. Symptoms of hepatitis include:
- muscle aches, high temperature (fever) and other flu-like symptoms
- feeling and being sick
- Bleeding easily
- feeling tired all the time
- Fluid build-up in your abdomen (ascites)
- Swelling in your legs
- loss of appetite
- Weight loss
- tummy pain
- Confusion, drowsiness and slurred speech (hepatic encephalopathy)
Chronic hepatitis C usually goes undiagnosed because it might be common to symptoms from other conditions. The only way to know that Hepatitis is the cause of these symptoms is to get tested.
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How hepatitis C can be transmitted
The virus responsible for Hepatitis C infection is hepatitis C virus and spreads through blood-to-blood contact.
The infection can be spread through the following ways including;
- sharing items like razors or toothbrushes
- through unprotected sex
- sharing unsterilised needles
- To an unborn baby through an infected pregnant woman
Getting tested for hepatitis C
Anyone having persistent symptoms of hepatitis C should get medical advice because there is a risk that you might have been infected. You can carry out a blood test once in a while even if you don’t have any symptoms.
Diagnosing and treating hepatitis C can help prevent or limit any damage to your liver, and also help to ensure the infection isn’t passed on to other people.
Treatments for hepatitis C
Hepatitis C is treated with medicines usually taken for weeks to stop the virus from multiplying inside the body. There were two main medications taken for hepatitis; pegylated interferon (a weekly injection) and ribavirin (a capsule or tablet), but tablet-only treatments are now used.
These new hepatitis C medications such as simeprevir, sofosbuvir and daclatasvir have made treatment more effective, have shorter treatment courses and become easier to tolerate. With these medications, more than 90% of people with hepatitis C may be cured.
Complications of hepatitis C
A serious risk is associated with the chronic phase of hepatitis C; if left untreated for many years it can cause cirrhosis (scarring of the liver) which can make the liver work abnormally. Life-threatening problems such as liver failure, liver cancer can eventually develop in some cases. Early hepatitis C treatment can help reduce the risk of these problems occurring.
Preventing hepatitis C
Hepatitis C does not have any vaccine, but you can reduce your risk of being infected by;
- Avoid sharing blood-contaminated razors or toothbrushes
- Avoid sharing drug-injecting equipment with other people – including needles and other equipment like syringes, spoons and filters.