What are the long term effects of Hepatitis C? |
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What are the long term effects of Hepatitis C?

What are the long term effects of Hepatitis C?

by: Dr. H.L. Nawlakha

Sr. Consultant – Internal Medicine
Paras Bliss, New Delhi

Hepatitis C is a viral disease passed through contact with the blood of an infected person, that primarily causes inflammation of the liver, but its effects can be felt throughout the body.

Hepatitis C can lead to severe damage of the liver causing liver cancer and even liver failure. Treatment with medication is very effective, if it is diagnosed in the early acute phases. But in India 90% of the cases are detected in the acute phases where acute infection often leads to long-term illness.

What happens in Hepatitis C Infection?

  • Hepatitis C not only affects the liver drastically but also leaves long term effects on the other systems of the body.
  • Hepatitis C can severely affect one’s digestive system causing hindrance in the liver’s ability to produce bile.
  • It also causes inflammation of the gallbladder making it painful to digest fatty foods, nausea, vomiting ,loss of appetite, pale or clay-colored stool and dark urine.
  • It also affects the central nervous system, causing hepatic encephalopathy, as the infected liver fails to filter toxins from the blood.
  • This can lead to cause a variety of symptoms such as, weakening of small motor skills, sleep disturbances and severe cases may also lead to coma.

Effects of Hepatitis C

Hepatitis affects the liver:

A poorly functioning liver can create troubles in the blood flow in the body thus, increasing pressure in the vein that leads to the liver (portal vein) causing portal hypertension. This causes the blood to find an alternative vein to flow and results in anemia. Hepatitis C is also responsible for causing insulin resistance or diabetes type 2.

Improper functioning of the liver leads to bilirubin build up in the body and causes yellowing of the skin and the whites of your eyes (jaundice).

Hepatitis C can also cause the immune system to mistakenly damage the thyroid tissue, which can cause hyperthyroidism or hypothyroidism.

Diagnosis of Hepatitis C:

Hepatitis C can be diagnosed through blood tests revealing the presence of hepatitis C antibodies in the bloodstream. There is no vaccine available for hepatitis C yet, but researches are carried over worldwide to find a cure.

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