Hepatitis C

HCV

Hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection can be fatal, it is the major cause of chronic non-A, non-B hepatitis worldwide, it leads to different Liver complications.  HCV represents a new example in interactions between the virus and the hepatic cell. HCV travels in the circulatory system infecting cells through the lipoprotein-receptor. This virus has many health consequences. Usually, people infected initially have no symptoms, especially in the acute stage. The most common symptoms are fatigue, fever, or nonspecific pains.

Hepatitis C is a silent virus, transmitted through contact with the blood. It’s rarely transmitted through sexual contact. The virus has two stages, acute and chronic. The acute stage occurs within six months of being exposed.

Liver

The liver is the most affected organ. Its main function is to filter toxins from the blood. Also, it produces proteins, vitamins, and bile. Hepatitis C virus generates inflammation which limits the normal function of the liver. Symptoms such as skin problems, blood disorders, and weight loss can appear with the progression of the illness.  Diagnosis is confirmed with a specific blood test. Hepatic Cirrhosis is defined as a chronic liver disease characterised by the substitution of normal tissue for an unhealthy tissue. As a result, the functionality of the liver is affected. Common signs and symptoms are yellowish discolouration of the skin (jaundice), hematomas, fluid in the abdomen, swelling legs,  enlargement of the spleen, and portal hypertension with serious impact into the brain.

People with cirrhosis will eventually develop liver cancer. This happens due to the mutations of the hepatic cells in malignant cells.  Some symptoms of this are pain on the right side of the abdomen, the presence of lumps or mass,  pain in the back and pain on the right shoulder.

If the chronic liver disease is not treated, the consequence will be complete liver failure. Liver transplant is the only recognised treatment for this disease.

Digestive system

One of the liver’s functions is bile production, bile is a substance needed during the digestive process. Hepatitis C can reduce the liver’s ability to produce bile with consequent difficult digestion. Some symptoms of this are a pain in the upper abdomen and internal fluid in the abdomen. Other digestive symptoms involve nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite, becoming pale and weight loss.

Central nervous system

Damage to the central nervous system is caused due to the inability of the liver to filtrate blood, this can cause concentration of a harmful substance that can affect the brain. Some of the symptoms are difficulty with motor skills, sleep disturbances, dry eyes, and mouth, confusion, forgetfulness and poor concentration.  Severe cases may cause coma.

Circulatory system

The liver also produces proteins needed to regulate the coagulation profile. A poorly functioning liver can lead to blood flow problems and an increase in pressure in the portal system as well as the inability to properly absorb, transport, and store iron with a consequent development of anemia.

Skin, hair, and nails

Hepatitis C is associated with a variety of skin problems. Some common conditions are easy bruising, loss of skin pigment, rashes, and itching.  The poor liver function can also lead to poor nutrition. This leads to the inadequate growth of hair and nails.

Endocrine and immune systems

Sometimes HCV can cause the immune system to mistakenly attack or damage part of the endocrine system such as thyroid tissue. This can bring on hyperthyroidism.