Hepatitis C is a liver disease brought on by the hepatitis C virus: the virus can inflict both chronic and acute hepatitis, fluctuating in severity from a mild illness lasting a few weeks to a serious, lifelong illness.
What is Hepatitis C
The hepatitis C virus is a bloodborne virus and the most common modes of infection are through exposure to small quantities of blood. This may happen through injection drug use, unsafe injection practices, unsafe health care, and the transfusion of unscreened blood and blood products.
Internationally, an estimated 71 million people have chronic hepatitis C infection.
A critical number of those who are chronically infected will develop cirrhosis or liver cancer.
Approximately 399 000 people die each year from hepatitis C, normally from cirrhosis and hepatocellular carcinoma.
Antiviral remedies can cure greater than 95% of persons with hepatitis C infection, consequently reducing the possibility of death from liver cancer and cirrhosis, but easy access to diagnosis and treatment is low.
There is presently no vaccine for hepatitis C; however research in this area is continuous.
Acute vs Chronic Hepatitis C
Hepatitis C virus (HCV) causes both chronic and acute infection. Acute HCV infection is ordinarily asymptomatic, and is only very rarely (if ever) associated with life-threatening disease. About 15-- 45% of infected persons automatically clear the virus within 6 months of infection with no treatment.
The remaining 60-- 80% of persons will cultivate chronic HCV infection. Of those with chronic HCV infection, the risk of cirrhosis of the liver is between 15-- 30% within 20 years.
Your liver is your largest internal organ and your body's workhorse. Among its many jobs are converting food into fuel, processing fat from your blood, clearing harmful toxins, and making proteins that help your blood clot. Yet this hard-working, supersized organ is at risk here to an often hard-to-diagnose and dangerous condition called nonalcoholic fatty liver disease, or NAFLD.
Liver disease - Fatty Liver
NAFLD is defined as the existence of fat in more than 5% of liver cells. It is the most frequent liver disease and affects up to 25% of American adults, 60% of whom are men.
The disease increases your risk of heart disease and left untreated, NAFLD also can cause an inflamed liver, a condition called nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH).
As many as 40% of people with NAFLD develop NASH. NASH can bring about scarring of the liver; severe scarring, called cirrhosis, increases your risk of liver cancer.
A growing problem.
Although drinking way too much alcohol can cause fat buildup in the liver, NAFLD affects people who consume little or no alcohol.
Instead, the main culprit is excessive weight-- which causes extra fat to get stored in the liver-- and is linked to dyslipidemia (abnormally high LDL cholesterol levels, low HDL levels, or both), high blood pressure, and diabetes.
Fatty Liver & Obesity
As the number of overweight people has increased, so too has the prevalence of NAFLD. "Much of this can be attributed to a customary diet of more highly processed foods and substantial amounts of carbohydrates, in conjunction with more sedentary lifestyles," says Dr. Kathleen Corey, director of the Fatty Liver Disease Clinic at Harvard-affiliated Massachusetts General Hospital. But, she adds that some folks with fatty livers on sale have none of these risk elements, which suggests that genes can play a critical role.
Establishing healthy eating habits isn't as confusing or as restrictive as many individuals imagine. The vital steps are to eat mostly foods derived from plants-- vegetables, fruits, whole grains and legumes (beans, peas, lentils)-- and limit highly processed foods. Start on your healthy diet by following the links in this article.
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