Hepatitis C is a liver disease triggered by the hepatitis C virus: the virus can induce both chronic and acute hepatitis, fluctuating in severity from a mild illness lasting a few weeks to a serious, life long illness.
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.
Across the world, an estimated 71 million people have chronic hepatitis C infection.
A major number of those who are chronically affected will acquire cirrhosis or liver cancer.
Approximately 399 000 people die yearly from hepatitis C, mostly from cirrhosis and hepatocellular carcinoma.
Antiviral remedies can cure greater than 95% of persons with hepatitis C infection, thereby reducing the risk of death from liver cancer and cirrhosis, but access to diagnosis and treatment is low.
There is at present no vaccine for hepatitis C; however research in this area is continuing.
Hepatitis C virus (HCV) causes both chronic and acute infection. Acute HCV infection is commonly asymptomatic, and is only very hardly ever (if ever) associated with life-threatening disease. About 15-- 45% of infected persons automatically clear the virus within 6 months of infection without any treatment.
The remaining 60-- 80% of persons will develop 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 primary 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 prone 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 appearance of fat in more than 5% of liver cells. It is the most common liver disease and affects up to 25% of American adults, 60% of whom are men.
The disease raises your risk of heart disease and left untreated, NAFLD also can result in an inflamed liver, a condition called nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH).
As many as 40% of people with NAFLD develop NASH. NASH can lead to scarring of the liver; severe scarring, called cirrhosis, increases your risk of liver cancer.
A growing problem.
Although drinking a lot of alcohol can cause fat build-up in the liver, NAFLD affects people who consume little or no alcohol.
Instead, the main cause is excessive weight-- which causes extra fat to get stored in the liver-- and is associated with 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 refined foods and high amounts of carbohydrates, as well as more sedentary lifestyles," says Dr. Kathleen Corey, director of the Fatty Liver Disease read more Clinic at Harvard-affiliated Massachusetts General Hospital. She adds that some people with fatty livers have none of these risk factors, which suggests that genes can play an important role.
Acquiring healthy eating habits isn't as complex or as limiting as many people imagine. The crucial 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.