Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Hepatitis C is a real threat for our lives

Hepatitis C is considered to be quite a tricky disease, due to the fact that the virus acts in silence and can infect a person for many years until doctors find out. The Center for Disease Control (CDC), has declared Hepatitis C to be a "silent epidemic" and it seems that 20 to 30 % people affected of chronic Hepatitis C are exposed to future life threatening symptoms.

Hepatitis C was first observed in US in 1960, after blood transfusions and drug injections began to be widely applied. Nobody knew exactly how many people got affected by the disease, until 1990 when HCV blood tests have developed. Studies have proved that in 20 years a person affected of chronicle C Hepatitis will develop cirrhosis, and many of them will turn into liver cancer. Patients with HCV are considered to be in need for a liver transplant.

More than 4 million Americans (1.3% of the U.S. population) and 170 million individuals in the world (3% worldwide) are infected with hepatitis C virus. The prevalence (number of cases in a population at a specific time) of hepatitis C virus infections varies in different parts of the world. It seems that in Eastern Europe the prevalence is higher than in Western Europe. It is estimated that 13 cases/100,000 persons of new symptomatic infections of HCV are annually discovered. In US there are annually 26,000 new HCV infections discovered.

In the future, HCV will become a major problem for the health system because many people who have only mild symptoms will progress to an end-stage liver and then to liver cancer, so there will be a 528% increase in the need for transplantation over the next 10 or 20 years.

The treatment options include conventional interferon (now outdated), combined conventional interferon and ribavirin, pegylated interferon, and combined pegylated interferon and ribavirin. Successful treatment can be achieved in up to 80% of patients infected with genotype 2 or 3, and less effective in those with genotype 1.

There is no natural cure for HCV, the natural products can only protect and support the liver. Another medical product is the Maximum Milk Thistle which has scientific validation and is considered to be helpful. Until now, no vaccine has proved to be effective, and scientists are still looking for a solution. Compounds that specifically interfere with the reproduction of the hepatitis C virus are now being studied as well.

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If you want to find out more resources about hepatitis c transmission or even about hepatitis c symptoms you should visit this website http://www.hepatitis-guide.com

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