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Hepatitis C - Causes and Symptoms

By Charles Hopkins Published 04/22/2006 | Health
This silent health epidemic is a ticking time bomb. The Hepatitis C virus is the newest recognized plague to afflict the baby-boomers.

How do you get Hepatitis C?

If you have ever had a blood transfusion before 1992, you may have a virus called Hepatitis C. If you served in the military during the 1970's through the 1980's you should definitely be checked to see if you have contacted the virus. If you have ever shot-up drugs, even once, or have ever had a tattoo or performed body piercing, you should get checked. If you have ever been a health care worker and suffered an accidental needle stick or if you have ever maintained or worked with dialysis or medical equipment, you should get checked. Another hidden way to come in contact with the virus is if you have ever shared someone elses razor, nail file or nail clippers.

And there are still other ways. You could easily have become infected if you have ever been in a fist fight, received or administered a bloody nose or scuffed your knuckles during the battle. Another sure fire method of transmission of the virus is if you have ever shared a straw or a rolled up bill to inhale drugs. You are at risk if you have ever had a sexual encounter where you came in contact with blood or contaminated body fluids.

Any of these actions can lead you to being a prime suspect. As you can see, there are many ways to expose yourself to infected blood that could put you in harms way of contacting the Hepatitis C virus. People have been diagnosed with the virus from a single acupuncture treatment. The epidemic numbers of new cases of the virus put the baby boomers lifestyles into focus.

The Hepatitis C virus is one type of Hepatitis that can scar and injure the liver and cause a significant loss of the livers function. There are also Hepatitis types A, and type B. These have been recognized for a longer time and cause jaundice type symptoms that are much more visible.

It has just been in the last few years that the medical community has readily had the technology to be able to detect the newest form, Hepatitis type C virus. The Hepatitis C virus is a worldwide epidemic and has many genotypes which determine the location on the map where you may have come in contact with the virus. Getting checked by a simple blood test should be the first step of action you take to relieve your suspicion, inform you, and make you aware if you are infected or not.

The virus doesn't show any acute signs or symptoms and can take 20 to 30 years to rear its ugly head and put you on a liver transplant list. The few symptoms that are subtle and usually just attributed to other causes are aches that might be associated with flu or cold like illnesses.

Do you have a feeling of general weakness and maybe feeling a bit more tired than you think you should just performing your daily routine? Do you have a recurring itchy rash that keeps coming back time and time again? Do you have an unexplained loss of appetite, variations in your blood sugars, indigestion, or diarrhea? Do you experience bouts of depression, mental fatigue, or mood swings? Are you waking up tired? Do you wake up during the night and get out of bed not feeling rested after a night's sleep?

As mentioned earlier these are all very subtle symptoms that most would attribute to daily stress or common everyday life trials and tribulations. There is a simple blood test with the new medical advances now in place that detects and gives you a winning chance of beating this serious hidden epidemic. Get checked if you even suspect that you may have been exposed by any means and seek treatment.

Treatment is available and it can help rid you of the virus depending on the severity of the infection and lengthen your life. The donor list for livers is extremely long, but you probably will not need one if you take the necessary steps to prevent further damage. The alternative is death due to liver failure and does not paint a very pretty picture.