Disease Conditions of Hepatitis C

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Hepatitis C (HCV) is defined as inflammation of the liver, caused by a virus. The liver, because of its diversity, can be locally diffuse throughout the liver or it can manifest systemically (Osborn, Wraa, Watson and Hollaeran, 2014). It can be acute or chronic, mild or life threatening, depending on the type and duration of the infection. HCV has an incubation period of 35 to 72 days and replicates at a very high rate, mutating readily, which does not allow the host’s immune system to keep up and destroy the virus (Osborn, et al, 2014). Hepatitis C (HCV) virus is the most prevalent blood-blood infection in the United States: with over 4 million persons chronically infected. More than 80% of those infected go on to develop chronic HCV infection leading to many increased risks such as; liver cirrhosis, hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC), liver failure, and related morbidities (O’Brien, 2013). Morbidity and mortality rates remain high due to the fact that 45% to 85% of infected patients remain unaware of their HCV infection because of the asymptomatic nature of this disease process. HCV has a very slow disease progression, which lends to its high mortality rate when diagnosis is found after the liver is already beyond repair (O’Brien, 2013). HCV used to be associated with injecting drug use, however, more times than not the person acquired the virus from a source other than drug use. Among the many risk factors include but are not limited to the following; “has injected drugs at any time in their lives (including anabolic steroids) using shared equipment, even if it was only once or twice, had a blood transfusion before September 1991 or received any blood products before 1986, has received medical or dental treatment abroad (in... ... middle of paper ... ...). Nursing Care Plans: Guidelines for individualizing patient care. Philadelphia: F.A. Davis. Gujral, H., & Collantes, R. S. (2009). Understanding viral hepatitis: A guide for primary care. Nurse Practitioner, 34(12), 23-31. doi:10.1097/01.NPR.0000365124.50786.b5 McCreaddie, M., Lyons, I., Horsburgh, D., Miller, M., & Frew, J. (2011). The isolating and insulating effects of hepatitis C: A substantive grounded theory. Gastroenterology Nursing, 34(1), 49-59. doi:10.1097/SGA.0b013e31820b2254 O'Brien, S. (2013). The clinical importance of hepatitis C genotyping in the United States. MLO: Medical Laboratory Observer, 45(11), 16-17. Poll, R. (2009). Hepatitis C -- the silent disease. Practice Nurse: The Journal for Nurses in General Practice, 38(10), 18; 18-20; 20. Poll, R. (2012). Hepatitis C part 2: Treatment and prevention. Practice Nursing, 23(11), 540-544

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