Hepatitis C refers to the infection of liver caused by basically Hepatitis C virus. It is the inflammatory condition of the liver. Hepatitis C occurs in its various forms. The most common is the type I. It is an infection of the Liver that can cause severe damage to the liver. The viruses, causing hepatitis C, enters the liver via blood stream. They cause damage to the liver cells and they increase in number there. The antigen structure on the virus site is changed. The necrosis of liver cells begins now.
Stages of Hepatitis C:
People are affected by hepatitis C in different ways and there are different stages of hepatitis C. Here we will discuss the stages of Hepatis C,
- Period of Incubation: It is the total time from the first exposure to the start of the disease. The average incubation period for hepatitis C virus is 45 days.
- Acute stage of infection: The acute stage of viral infection in hepatitis C is a disease of short duration. It is less than six months. The affected people will get rid rid of acute infection within six months.
- Chronic stage of Infection: The chronic stage of hepatitis is a long-term illness. It lasts for greater than six months. It can cause serious problems of the health.
- The cirrhotic liver: As the disease progresses, the healthy liver cells are replaced by the diseased one. In this stage the inflammation of the liver cells occurs. It takes a long time for the liver to be cirrhotic.
- Cancer of the liver: After the cirrhosis, the liver cancer is most likely. When the cirrhosis has occurred, it is a severe need to get medical attention immediately.
Diagnosis and testing of Hepatitis C:
In order to label patient as hepatitis C positive, the doctor had to prescribe several tests. Some of the investigations for hepatitis are given below;
- Anti-HCV antibodies: Anti-HCV antibodies will be present in your blood after twelve weeks of getting infection. These are the proteins that are present in your blood after you infected from the Hepatitis C Virus. It may take some time to get the result of anti HCV antibodies. The result of the test may be positive or negative in case of presence or absence of anti HCV antibodies respectively
- Anti HCV by ELISA: It is used as a screening test in order to check whether there is hepatitis C virus present or not.
- Hepatitis C Kit test: This test can also be performed bedside by taking the blood sample. The blood cells and plasma are separated. Some drops from plasma sample are put on the kit. It shows the results within seconds.
- Liver Function Test: The proteins and enzyme levels are measured by this test. These enzymes usually rise seven to eight weeks after you infected from the disease. These enzymes and proteins are;
- Ultrasound: The ultrasound of the abdomen is performed by using ultrasound waves to create an image of the abdominal organs. A close view of the liver can be obtained. The abdominal ultrasound can also show,
- The presence of some fluid in your abdomen
- The enlargement of the liver
- Any tumor of the liver
- Any abnormality of your gallbladder
- Pancreas can also be seen on abdominal ultrasound
Hepatitis C does not have any symptoms in the start. However, when the virus has entered the blood stream, the symptoms begin to appear. Here is the most common symptoms that we notice in hepatitis C infection;
- A change in the color of stool (it will be clay colored)
- Turning the urine color from yellow to dark
- Pain in the joints
- A change in the color of eyes and skin (turning to yellow)
- Pain in the stomach
- Appetite loss