Life After Diagnosing Hepatitis C Virus
October 20, 2019
Getting diagnosed with Hepatitis C infection may leave you baffled mainly when you feel you’re fit and healthy. Relax, it is true that Hepatitis C is a possible chronic liver infection but it can be dealt with revolutionary treatment which is thankfully now available. According to World Health Organization, 6 to 12 million people are chronically infected with Hepatitis C in India. As surprising as it may sound, 50% of individuals with Hepatitis C infection are not even aware of having it. And approximately, 15 to 25% of people with Hepatitis C virus manage to free themselves from the infection without any treatment.
It’s obvious to have a lot of queries about your health after Hepatitis C diagnosis.
What does Hepatitis C diagnosis means?
Hepatitis C is an infection of liver caused by virus HCV. This infection causes chronic liver inflammation. Hepatitis C virus spreads through the blood of an infected person into the bloodstream of an uninfected person. Majorly, Hepatitis C virus is transmitted through infected needles, unguarded healthcare practices, or blood transfusion of not appropriately screened blood or blood products. It does not show any symptoms immediately after the infection.
What tests confirms about Hepatitis C infection?
The diagnosis involves two steps of tests:
- Screening: Hepatitis C antibody test to screen the person for the infection.
- Diagnosis: Hepatitis C virus RNA PCR test to confirm whether the infection is active.
In some individuals, the infection goes away without any treatment. In others, the infection progresses and cause fibrosis, as a result of scarred tissue development. Due to scarring, it gets difficult for the liver to function normally which includes: difficulty in protein metabolism, blood filtration and releasing stored energy in the form of carbohydrates into the bloodstream.
What to do?
A liver specialist will examine you to know more about the size of the infection. The doctor may advise you to get some more blood test done to know about the liver functioning and also an ultrasound scan of the liver to estimate the amount of scarring in the liver. If the test shows little or no scar tissues on the liver, there will be no risk of complications related to cirrhosis. A long term follow up with the liver specialist is surely recommended to monitor the progress of the disease. Alternatively, individuals with cirrhosis will have to be regularly screened for liver cancer and portal hypertension
The treatment plan:
A combination of direct acting antiviral medications is prescribed to treat Hepatitis C infection. These drugs have shown great results in eliminating Hepatitis virus from the body. The medication is prescribed for 8 to 24 weeks and from time to time the doctor may advise some blood tests to scan how much of virus isexists in the blood during the course. It’s important to mention to the doctor about your complete medical history and medications you are put on to avoid contraindications.
Life with Hepatitis C:
To avoid the spread of Hepatitis C infection, it’s suggested that you follow these steps:
- Avoid sharing toothbrushes or razors with others
- Avoid intravenous drugs
- Have protected sex
- Do not have sex during menstruation
It is also recommended to avoid alcohol and drugs which can increase the load on the liver and maintain healthy diet to keep the liver functioning well.
After the completion of the treatment, the doctor will continue the blood tests to check for the viral load. In some individuals, after few weeks the virus may relapse. If there is no relapse for three months, you will be virus free.
Hepatitis Treatment at Rela Hospital:
Rela Hospital has the top hepatologist in Chennai for the treatment of Hepatitis C. The best hospital for liver treatment in India, Rela Hospital, has been acknowledged in procuring latest medication for the treatment of Hepatitis C infection. For patients with chronic scarring of the liver due to Hepatitis C, Rela Hospital has the world class amenities and technology for liver transplantation in India.