First identified in 1988, Hepatitis C is a liver disease caused by the infectious Hepatitis C virus (HCV). An estimated 4 million Americans and 170 million people worldwide are infected with HCV. The majority of this population are unaware they are infected because the disease does not cause symptoms until it is far advanced.
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The liver is one of the largest and most important organs in your body. It performs various functions that are essential to good health, including breaking down harmful substances, removing waste from your blood, storing nutrients, and building chemicals you need to stay healthy.When you become infected with the Hepatitis C virus, the virus begins an attack on your liver. As the disease progresses, the liver becomes irritated and forms tiny patches of scars, called fibrosis. If unsuccessfully treated, the scarring will worsen, causing cirrhosis, and the liver will become unable to perform its functions. In the most advanced stages, you can progress into liver failure, and even liver cancer.
If you do become infected and diagnosed with HCV, the most effective, FDA-approved therapy is a combination of interferon and ribavirin. Taken together over an average 48-week course, these medications work to clear the virus from your body. It is possible that the virus can be cleared from the blood so that it is no longer detectable and affecting your liver function.Additional information regarding Hepatitis C and treatment options can be obtained from the links found on this webite.