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Ask the Experts
Get The Best Hepatitis C Treatment in India
Hepatitis C is that viral hepatitis which, unlike other viral hepatitis, leads to inflammation of the liver and does damage to the liver cells. The hepatitis C virus usually produces a mild illness. There are genetically different strains of the hepatitis C virus which lead on to influence the way the virus multiplies itself in the body, during the course of the disease and the response of the disease to treatment. Right now there no vaccine that is able against hepatitis C.
Top Hepatitis C in India at LTI
This virus transmits because of close contact with the blood of a person who has been infected. Blood transfusions are the ones that are responsible for hepatitis C infection. This happens because of the overuse of drugs. It can spread through sexual intercourse as well. This is much smaller when compared to hepatitis B or AIDS. In many cases of hepatitis C, it is not possible to trace the source of the infection either.
Of a few people who have been infected with the hepatitis C virus suffer from short term hepatitis C. The Symptoms of acute hepatitis C are having pain in the joints, loss of appetite, and feeling of tired, fever, stomach pain and jaundice. Short term hepatitis C is generally, mild illness from which most of the patients recover within four to eight weeks. Some people who have been infected with the hepatitis C virus rid their bodies eventually of it completely. But, there are 75% of the virus that still remains in the body. Just because some people who have been infected with the hepatitis C virus would not develop the short-term illness, it might be like that they may not be aware that they are long-term carriers. But, still, do they pass the virus on to other people. There are around 50,000 long-term carriers of the hepatitis C virus in India but the actual number might be higher because of 50 to 60% of infected people were unaware they have the disease.
People who have been suffering from hepatitis C for a long time are at risk of long-term liver diseases, which result in causing progressive damage to the liver. Symptoms of long-term liver diseases may include mild fatigue, feeling unwell, and alcohol intolerance. Serious complications of long-term liver disease, like fibrosis and scarring of the liver, would not become visible from 20 to 50 years after infection with the virus. People who are having cirrhosis might go on to develop liver failure or for worse liver cancer. People who have long-term liver disease are as well at risk of developing symptoms like pains in the joint, weakness in the muscles and skin irritations. The kidneys and brain will also be affected. This disease progress faster in case of male long term carriers, those who are over the age of 40, and those who drink alcohol.
Treatment of Hepatitis C
Hepatitis C has to be treated with anti-viral medications and the only objective is to have no hepatitis C virus detected inside the body after 12-weeks of treatment. The type of anti-viral medication used will depend on:
- Hepatitis C Genotype
- The degree Of Liver Damage
- Previous Treatment For Hepatitis C
Until recently, treatment for long-term hepatitis C usually involved taking two main medicines:
- Pegylated interferon-a medication given by injection that encourages the immune system to attack the virus.
- Ribavirin – an antiviral medication that stops the virus from replicating.
But, newer hepatitis C medications that make treatment more effective are now available in New Zealand. These newer medications are known as direct-acting antivirals (DAAs) and are taken orally as tablets. Some of these DAAs are given with pegylated interferon and ribavirin but in most cases, they can be taken on their own or in combination with other new medicines. With the availability of the newer medications, the chances of a cure are much higher. Combinations of medications now have a cure rate of more than 90%. Side effects of treatment that involves pegylated interferon (flu-like symptoms – headache, fatigue etc) are quite common. The new tablet DAAs, But, have fewer side effects and are generally better tolerated by most people.
It is also recommended that long-term hepatitis C carriers are immunized against hepatitis A and hepatitis B as infection with these viruses can accelerate long-term liver disease. Surgery is sometimes necessary to treat complications of liver disease, and some patients with the advanced liver disease may be candidates for liver transplantation.
Frequently Asked Questions
Hepatitis means inflammation of the liver. When the liver is inflamed or damaged, its function can be affected. Heavy alcohol use, toxins, some medications, and certain medical conditions can all cause hepatitis. However, hepatitis is often caused by a virus. In the United States, the most common hepatitis viruses are hepatitis A virus, hepatitis B virus, and hepatitis C virus.
Hepatitis C is a liver infection caused by the hepatitis C virus. Hepatitis C can range from a mild illness lasting a few weeks to a serious, long-term illness. Hepatitis C is often described as “acute,” meaning a new infection, or “chronic,” meaning long-term infection.
Acute hepatitis C occurs within the first 6 months after someone is exposed to the hepatitis C virus. Hepatitis C can be a short-term illness, but for most people, acute infection leads to chronic infection.
Chronic hepatitis C can be a lifelong infection if left untreated. Chronic hepatitis C can cause serious health problems, including liver damage, cirrhosis (scarring of the liver), liver cancer, and even death.
Most people with chronic hepatitis C don’t have any symptoms or have only general symptoms like chronic fatigue and depression. Many people eventually develop chronic liver disease, which can range from mild to severe and include cirrhosis (scarring of the liver) and liver cancer. Chronic liver disease in people with hepatitis C usually happens slowly, without any signs or symptoms, over several decades. Chronic hepatitis C virus infection is often not recognized until people are screened for blood donation or from an abnormal blood test found during a routine doctor’s visit.
Your doctor will help interpret the results from your HCV antibody test and help guide you through the next steps. The test can be “non-reactive,” or “negative,” meaning that you are not currently infected with the hepatitis C virus. The test can also be “reactive,” or “positive,” which means you have been infected with the hepatitis C virus at some point in time. It is important to know that once you have been infected, you will always have antibodies in your blood. This is true if you have cleared the virus, have been cured, or still have the virus in your blood. A reactive, or positive, antibody test does not necessarily mean that you currently have hepatitis C, so a follow-up test is needed.