Hepatitis C is a potentially deadly disease affecting 130-150 million people worldwide. An estimated 3.2 million people in the US have the disease, but since the symptoms may be dormant for many years, most do not know. There is no vaccine to prevent Hepatitis C. Injection drug abuse is the main risk factor associated with the disease and that is exactly why a drug rehab in Springfield was put in place for the Springfield residents. Here’s what Springfield residents need to know.
What is Hepatitis C?
The word hepatitis means inflammation of the liver. There are three main categories for Hepatitis: A, B and C. Hepatitis C transmission occurs through blood transfer, so sharing needles, blood transfusion, kidney dialysis, or being born to a mother who has Hepatitis C are some of the main ways transfer occurs. Hepatitis C can remain dormant for many years and so a carrier may have no symptoms. When symptoms do occur they include such things as:
- Jaundice (yellowing of the skin, whites of eyes or urine)
- Stomach pain
- Loss of appetite
- Flu-like symptoms
Once Hepatitis C becomes active, the immune system must go into a daily fight with the virus, causing cirrhosis (scarring) of the liver, which can eventually lead to death.
One Time is Enough
Hepatitis C transmission does not require repeated exposure. One syringe shared with an individual who has Hepatitis C is sufficient to transmit the disease through the bloodstream to the liver of the recipient. In fact, 60% of all new cases of Hepatitis C result from injected drug use. This disease could’ve been prevented if the individual wasn’t a drug addict, therefore having a drug rehab Springfield present in their area for help with their drug addiction, can allow the number of Hepatitis C cases to reduce.
The liver has the job of filtering out toxins in the body. An acute illness may occur, but more likely the accumulated scarring of the liver prevents the body from filtering out toxins. Since many addictive substances, such as alcohol and opiates, are also filtered through the liver, addicts may be at an increased risk of reaction to Hepatitis C infection.
Treatment for Hepatitis C
Fortunately, treatment for Hepatitis C continues to improve. In many cases, with extended use of antiviral medication, Hepatitis C can be cured. Long-term damage of the liver may have still occurred. If you or someone you know has shared a needle, it is important to get tested for Hepatitis C, particularly if you start to develop flu-like symptoms. Treatment for Hepatitis C is most effective in cases where the virus was caught early. Adopting a liver-healthy diet may also assist faster, more effect Hepatitis C treatment. Once the Hepatitis has been treated, if you are someone who got it due to sharing a needle from drug injections, you need to immediately refer yourself to a substance addiction Springfield for drug addiction treatment.