Hepatitis C is a liver infection that can lead to serious liver damage. It is caused by Hepatitis C virus .The virus spreads through an infected person’s blood or body fluids. Chronic HCV is usually curable with oral medications taken everyday for 2-6 months
It affects people in different ways and has several stages –
• Incubation Period –
This is the time between first exposure to the start of the disease. It can last anywhere from 14-80 days ,but the average is 45.
• Acute Hepatitis C –
This is a short term illness that lasts for the first 6 months after the virus enters your body. After that ,some people who have it will get rid of or clear the virus on their own.
• Chronic Hepatitis C –
For most people who get Hepatitis C – upto 85% – the illness moves into a long lasting stage ( longer than 6 months) ,this is called a chronic Hepatitis C infection and can lead to serious conditions like liver cancer or cirrhosis.
Acute Hepatitis C usually goes undiagnosed because it rarely causes symptoms. Acute symptoms appear one to three months after exposure to the virus and lasts 2 weeks to 3 months .Acute Hepatitis C doesn’t always become chronic. Some people clear HCV from their bodies after the acute phase ,an outcome known as spontaneous viral clearance.
Long term infection with Hepatitis C virus is known as chronic Hepatitis C. Chronic Hepatitis C is usually a silent infection for many years , untill the virus damages the liver enough to cause the sign and symptoms of liver disease.
Those sign & symptoms include –
• Bleeding easily
• Bruising easily
• Poor appetite
• Jaundice (yellow discoloration of skin & eyes)
• Dark colored urine
• Itchy skin
• Fluid build in your abdomen (ascites)
• Swelling in your legs
• Weight loss
• Confusion , drowsiness and slurred speech (Hepatic encephalopathy)
• Spider like blood vessels on your skin (Spider angiomas)
is caused by Hepatitis C virus. It is transmitted through blood to blood contact with someone infected with HCV. It can spread through-
• Organ transplant
• Blood transfusion
• Sharing items such as razors or toothbrushes
• Sharing needles
• From mother with Hepatitis C to her baby
• Sexual contact if blood is exchanged
Is it contagious?
It is contagious. However ,as it is only spread through blood to blood contact ,it is not likely to get this infection through casual contact.
Diagnosis will start by checking your blood for –
• Anti HCV antibodies –
Positive test means you have its antibodies and you have been infected.It usually show up about 12 weeks after infection.
• HCV – RNA –
It measures the number of viral RNA particles in your blood. This test usually show up 1-2 weeks after you are infected.
• Liver function test –
They measure proteins and enzymes levels ,which arise 7-8 weeks after you are infected.
If you have acute Hepatitis C,there is no recommended treatment.
For chronic Hepatitis C, following are some mainly used medicines for treatment –
• Liver cirrhosis
• Liver cancer
• Liver failure
Ayurvedic Perspective –
Liver is the seat of ranjak pitta along with spleen. Disorders of ranjak pitta include Hepatitis, anaemia, chronic fatigue and mononucleosis. Excessive bile production or a blockage in the flow of bile usually indicates high pitta ,which in turn affects the Agni or enzyme activities responsible for absorption , digestion and metabolism.
Although viral type Hepatitis such as Hepatitis C is not mentioned in the Ayurveda classics similar symptoms are described under Kamla . Ayurveda describes 2 basic types of Kamla –
• Shakhashrita Kamla is caused by the minimal aggravation of pitta & kapha and is easily curable.
• Kumbhakamla results from very high pitta is difficult to cure.
Basically , i is caused by vimargamana ,which is abnormal flow of constituents in other srotas resulting in abnormal accumulation of that constituent in the srota in which it is abnormal accumulation of that constituent in the srota in which it is abnormally flowing ,also it causes it’s deficiency in its own srotas .In case of Kamla there is vimargamana of raktamla pitta into the raktavaha srota ,which should be going to the annavaha srota and excreted through the purishvaha srota. Due to some abnormality of liver it flows into the rakta and then to whole body.
Line of treatment –
• Panchkarma Therapies –
* Pinda sweda
* Yapana basti
• Effective Herbs –
• Rasayan Therapy –
Mixture of Pippli , Ashwagandha ,Draksha,Sariva ,Jiraka in the form of powder rejuvenate the liver.
• Medications –
Swarnvasant Malti ras
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