Hepatitis C is a deadly disease, and one should be well aware of it and well prepared in case the situation arises. It is better to look out for any early signs of the onset of an infection rather than succumbing to it. Have a look at the risk factors concerning the disease and try to stay as distant as possible from the said factors.
Symptoms To Look Out For
It has been seen hat the incubation period for the Hepatitis C virus is generally between 2 weeks to 6 months. The cause of concern is that after the initial infection, nearly 80% of people do not display any symptoms. However, there are a few non-specific symptoms that are presented but are difficult to attribute to the problem. These symptoms include:
skin and a dark colored urine)
Since Hepatitis C is a deadly disease with very undistinguishable symptoms, the administration has approved a Hepatitis C antibody test kit that can be bought without a prescription and one can use at home. Taking the test is simple. One just has to collect his blood sample and send it to the lab, which returns the results in about 4 to 10 business days. From the data that has been presented to the FDA, it is suggested that the take-home tests data are as accurate as that of the ones taken at the hospital. Thus it is a recommended test for anyone having any doubts of suffering from this disease.
Diagnosis Of Hepatitis C
There are two types of diagnostic tests for determining the presence of the Hepatitis C virus. One type checks the blood for the antibodies, i.e., the proteins that are made by the immune system in response to the virus. Whereas the other test checks for another substance called RNA created by the virus itself. Most of the people who have a negative antibody test do not have a Hepatitis C infection and do not need any further testing. However, if an acute infection is suspected or if the tested person is found to have a potentially compromised immune system such as suffering from a disease like AIDS, he has to undergo the RNA test as well. People with an active chronic infection will test positive for both the antibody test as well as the RNA test. With the people in whose case, there has been a positive antibody test and a negative RNA test, they either had a false positive antibody test or in contrary had the infection at one time but were able to ward it off.
Determining The Genotype And Assessing The Damage
Once a complete diagnosis of Hepatitis C is made, it’s quite important to recognize which variant of the virus the person has. Since the Hepatitis C virus has a high error rate, it allows it to produce multiple genotypes, and each genotype has a particular and different treatment associated with it. In the United States of America, genotype 1 is the most common, but genotype 2 and 3 and also 4 (less frequently) occur.
Another critical aspect of the diagnosis is to assess the damage done to the liver by the virus at the time of diagnosis. This diagnosis helps doctors to know the extent and spread of the infection and take further steps accordingly. The assessment is done using a few blood tests and an ultrasound-based imaging test.