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Hepatitis C

Hepatitis C has been referred to as a "Silent Epidemic," since it usually progresses slowly over many years. Most people who are infected with hepatitis C are not aware of any noticeable symptoms for as long as one to two decades after they are infected. In fact, by the time symptoms appear, the virus has probably already begun to damage the liver. If the liver is injured and stops functioning, death will always be the outcome (Lieber). Liver failure from chronic hepatitis C is one of the most common causes of liver transplants in the United States.
Hepatitis C is an inflammation of the liver’s cells and tissues caused by the hepatitis C virus (HCV).
Hepatitis C virus is blood-borne, which means it is spread through blood and blood products (Grady). After the discovery of hepatitis A virus in 1973 and hepatitis B in 1963, any cases of acute or chronic hepatitis or cirrhosis without identifiable causes were placed into the category of non-A non-B (NANB) hepatitis(Palmer108) . In 1989, a major breakthrough regarding this mysterious and intriguing disease occurred, the hepatitis C virus was identified. Now, most hepatitis C viruses are believed to be the viruses responsible for about 90 percent of all cases of NANB.
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, approximately 1.8% of the U.S. population, or 3.9 million Americans, have been infected with this chronic blood-borne virus. About 50,000 new cases of hepatitis C are estimated to occur in the United States each year. Without proper and effective treatment the death rate is expected to triple in the next fifteen years (Turkington 9). Seventy-five percent of those infected with the virus will develop chronic hepatitis and half of those people will develop cirrhosis of the liver
Due to the fact that Hepatitis C is blood-borne there are many ways a person can contract HCV, and many types of people who are more prone to it than others. The most effective mode of transmission is when an infected persons blood gets into the bloodstream of another person. HCV can only enter the bloodstream by first getting through the protective covering skin, this is called percutaneous route. Common routes of infection include needle stick accidents among healthcare workers, shared needles that are used during body piercing, injecting illegal drugs, and tattooing (Turkington 19).
Another common ...

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...eek so many people ignore them and go back to their normal lives. Once most people become infected with acute hepatitis C and are untreated, patient will develop chronic hepatitis. In fact 85 percent of infected people develop chronic hepatitis C (Palmer 118).
Chronic hepatitis can lead to cirrhosis of the liver, liver failure, and liver cancer (Hoofnagle). If Chronic hepatitis does not reverse itself, and a liver transplant is not done the liver will shrink, the kidneys will fail, and the patient will lapse into a coma (Bushie). The main symptom for chronic hepatitis in jaundice. The result is the yellowish appearance of the skin and eyes and the urine will become a brownish color (Leiber). Many patients have complained of red itchy rash on their bodies and pain in their lung and abdominal areas (Bushie). The limbs often swell, and many experience brain fogs, where they forget what is happening around them. There are many symptoms that hepatitis C shares with other viruses, this is what makes it difficult to diagnose.
After the diagnosis is made from the necessary blood tests, the doctor will perform a liver biopsy to determine the extent of inflammation and damage in the liver.

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