According to conventional or traditional medicine, hepatitis C is an infection caused by a virus that affects the liver and leads to inflammation.
Phases of infection
Acute hepatitis C is the disease of the first six months.
The disease can vary from a mild disorder that lasts only a few weeks to a serious and permanent condition that leads to cirrhosis or a liver tumor.
According to the natural hygiene theory of Shelton e Lezaeta, the diseases are not caused by microbes; rather, it is poor nutrition, rot of the food in the intestine and problems in eliminating the toxins that provoke intestinal poisoning.
About one in four people overcome the infection and rid themselves of the virus (test turning negative) without using medication. Adolescents and women are more likely to recover.
In the remaining three out of four people, the virus remains in the body for many years and chronic hepatitis C occurs.
Due to other risk factors, such as alcohol consumption, between 10 and 40% of people with untreated chronic hepatitis C develop cirrhosis, usually up to 20 years after hepatitis C is diagnosed. About one in five people with cirrhosis will have liver failure, while one in 20 will develop liver cancer.
There is no vaccination against hepatitis C, unlike hepatitis B.
The main types of hepatitis C (also called “subtypes”) are simply known as:
- Genotype 1
- Genotype 2
- Genotype 3
- Genotype 4
- Genotype 5
- Genotype 6
Of the various genotypes of hepatitis C, genotype 1 is the most common, with between 70 and 90% of Americans with hepatitis C having this genotype.
How is hepatitis C transmitted? Who has a higher risk of infection?
- Who receives medication by injections
- Anyone who had a blood transfusion or organ transplant before 1990
- In the past, there was also danger at the dentist, now it no longer occurs due to sterilization after each patient
- Who was in prison
Moderate risk factors for hepatitis C
- Tattoo or a piercing
- Changing sexual partners
- Sexually transmitted infection, including HIV, hepatitis B, or lymphogranuloma venereum
- Violent sexual intercourse or use of sex toys that can injure body tissues
- Sexual intercourse during menstruation
- Injury caused by an injection needle or syringe
- Skin injury caused by the hairdresser when shaving
- There is a small risk of ingesting the virus by sharing toothbrush, razor and other objects that may be contaminated with infected blood.
- Newborns with a mother infected with hepatitis C
- Sexual partner infected with hepatitis C
- During pregnancy, transmission from mother to child is rare, in less than 5% of cases. It is necessary to wait at least 18 months before the blood test is carried out on the child.
The virus can survive outside the body for up to four days
Hepatitis C is not transmitted from person to person in the following cases:
- Coughing, sneezing
- Squeezing or touching an infected person’s hand
- Sharing food, drinks or cutlery
- Use of toilet facilities
- Through saliva, for example during a deep kiss or a hug
- Drink from the same glass
- Breastfeeding, except if the nipples are cracked and bleeding
- Oral sex, if there is no blood
Symptoms of hepatitis C by stage of disease
The acute phase lasts the first six months. In the early stages, most people have no (asymptomatic) or only mild symptoms.
Symptoms appear after an incubation period, which is 1 to 5 months from contact with the virus, and include:
- Feeling sick
- Vomiting and nausea
- Some people develop jaundice (yellowing) due to increased bilirubin produced in the liver
Rarely, there are serious symptoms.
The chronic phase of hepatitis C occurs when the infection persists for more than six months.
The course of chronic infection varies greatly from person to person and is unpredictable.
Symptoms and consequences of chronic infection:
Some people have no or only mild symptoms, but the hepatitis C virus can also be transmitted to others.
Some people develop symptoms due to the persistent inflammation of the liver.
The most common symptoms of chronic hepatitis C are:
- Feeling sick
- Loss of appetite
- Alcohol intolerance
- Right-sided flank pain
- Jaundice (yellow skin and eyes)
- Extreme fatigue
- Decreased concentration and memory loss
- Muscle and joint pain
In fact, there is no correlation between the severity of symptoms and the degree of liver damage.
This means that some people may have liver inflammation without any symptoms.
About one-third of people who have chronic hepatitis C develop cirrhosis of the liver over the period of 20-30 years.
Cirrhosis is like liver fibrosis, which can cause serious problems and hepatic insufficiency if it is severe. Some people with chronic hepatitis C have no symptoms for many years until they develop cirrhosis of the liver.
Some people with cirrhosis of the liver may also develop liver cancer.
Diagnosis, which examinations help?
Usually, you only need to do two blood tests or analyses to determine if someone has hepatitis C.
The first test doctors perform is the so-called anti-HCV test to see if the body has already developed antibodies against the virus.
A positive result means that the blood has come into contact with the hepatitis C virus and has made antibodies to fight the virus.
Anyone who has a positive antibody test does not necessarily have to have chronic hepatitis C infection, but may be a healthy carrier.
If the antibody test for hepatitis C is positive, the doctor will perform a second test to see if the hepatitis C virus is still present in the body. In addition, the first test may have been false-positive.
Sometimes the test is borderline (grey zone), that is, the values are just above the norm. This can occur if the patient has produced antibodies to respond to other types of infection.
The most important examination is the test for viral load (or molecular test for the virus particles HCV RNA).
If this test is positive, chronic hepatitis C is present.
A liver biopsy to determine if the patient is infected is not required.
How should the result of the antibody test for hepatitis C be interpreted?
- A reactive or negative antibody test means that the patient is not currently infected with a hepatitis C virus.
- A positive or reactive antibody test means that a person has been infected with the hepatitis C virus in the past.
Most people who ingest the virus remain infected and develop chronic hepatitis C. If a person has been infected, he has antibodies to hepatitis C in his blood throughout his life.
The levels of transaminases in the blood (the enzymes GOT and GTP) are not sufficient to detect whether the liver is inflamed and whether the patient has hepatitis C.