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WHO CARES: Chronic Illness in America
WHO CARES: Chronic Illness in America

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Hepatitus C

Description: The hepatitis C virus (HCV) is a type of hepatitis that is mostly transmitted intravenously, through a blood transfusion, sharing needles while using illegal drugs, or an accidental "needle-stick" in a health care setting. Hepatitis C often leads to chronic liver disease.

Symptoms: Hepatitis C can progress to chronic hepatitis usually with no early acute symptoms. Symptoms of progressive, chronic, viral hepatitis may be subtle. Some patients develop pain in small joints in the body. The symptoms of chronic autoimmune hepatitis range from minimal to severe, including fatigue, jaundice, fever, and weight loss. The liver and spleen are often enlarged. In addition, patients with this condition may experience skin disorders, and the abdomen or legs may be swollen due to the accumulation of fluid.

Number of Americans diagnosed: 4.5 million

Long-term problems/treatments: In some patients, chronic hepatitis B or C can lead to long-term disability or liver failure before they experience any symptoms at all. Liver cells are destroyed between the portal tract and the central veins in the liver, and progressive cell damage can build a layer of scar tissue over the liver, resulting in cirrhosis. In such cases, the entire liver is threatened with malfunction and failure.
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Chronic Hepatitis C: Current Disease Management

Centers For Disease Control


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