Hepatitis C is one of the dreaded conditions of liver resulting in cirrhosis of liver and liver cancer. The organism responsible for hepatitis C is called Hepatitis C virus or HCV. Often the disease remains subtle and asymptomatic in its preliminary stage in an infected individual for as long as 10 years. By the time the symptoms appear, the virus may have already begun to damage the liver cells.
Among several types of viral hepatitis, HCV is considered to be the most serious. HCV infection is transmitted by blood borne route. A person can get infected through an infected blood transfusion, hemodyalysis, and use of infected and unsterilized syringes and needles as in case of drug abusers etc.
The usual mode of treatment is anti viral medicines. The aim of treatment is to remove the virus from patient’s blood for long term. Many alternative methods are beneficial in complementing the main line treatment. These methods may not be able to eliminate the virus load but can strengthen the liver to fight against virus, assist the liver to function better etc.
How Is Hepatitis C Transmitted?
Hepatitis C is contagious disease. Hepatitis C virus spreads when the blood of an infected individual enters the body of an uninfected person. Usually the disease is spread from contaminated blood transfusion, sharing infected needle and syringes which is most common among drug abusers, organ transplantation etc.
It can also spread from unsterilized instruments used for body piercing and tattooing. Hepatitis C can spread to the new born child from his infected mother. Hepatitis C is also transmitted through sex. It can also be transmitted through sexual contact with an infected person.
However, hepatitis C is not spread through touching, kissing or hugging an infected individual. It is also not spread through sharing common food and utensils with an infected person.
Symptoms Of Hepatitis C
Usually more than 80% of acute HCV infections are silent. This means the patient does not experience any symptoms. Only 20% of acute HCV infections manifest symptoms such as fatigue, muscle pain, loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, fever, dark colored urine, and jaundice.
The incubation period of HCV ranges from 15 to 160 days. In many patients, the symptoms may take 10 years to appear. Patient experiences the effect of inflammation of liver cells. There may be elevated level of liver enzymes.
During this period, the patient may complain of fatigue or tiredness. Patient may gradually develop cirrhosis and hepatocellular carcinoma. As cirrhosis progresses patient may develop confusion, coma, and death.
Hepatitis C Treatment And Home Remedies
The main aim of viral hepatitis C treatment is to eradicate the virus. At times people may not necessarily require treatment as there are several genotypes of virus hepatitis C that may have different response to the medicines. Different patients may have variable approach for treating the disease. Patient may require to be checked regularly for blood test and follow up to find further liver damage.
- Besides anti viral medicines and interferon treatment, liver transplant is another alternative. Liver transplant has extended life of patients suffering from hepatitis C. However, transplant is not the cure as the replaced liver may also become damaged, anti viral medicines have still to be continued.
- Aside from the conventional treatment for hepatitis C, there are alternative methods that may not eradicate the virus, but may assist in strengthening the liver to fight against the virus load.
- The beneficial qualities of castor oil can reduce the inflammation of liver when it is applied locally. It is known to trigger immune response and reduce pain. It also helps to detoxify liver.
- Milk thistle is considered liver friendly. It is known to strengthen liver cell. At the same time, it prevents further deterioration of liver cells. It also promotes healthy growth of liver cells.
- Patient should stop drinking alcohol and avoid consuming medicines that are known to cause damage to liver.