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Hepatitis C

Hepatitis C

What is Hepatitis C?

Hepatitis C is caused by the Hepatitis virus (HCV) is an infection of the liver that can cause liver failure in some people. Hepatitis C has no initial symptoms and if it left untreated, it can become chronic and lead to more serious medical complications such as cirrhosis and liver disease, both of which can be fatal.

Cause and Treatment of Hepatitis C

The single most common means of spreading hepatitis C is through shared infected needles among illicit drug users. And for this reason Hepatitis C is the most common disease contracted among IV drug users. Because of the already poor health of most IV drug users and the lack of symptoms when Hepatitis C first enters the body, the infection often goes untreated and up to 85% of those who are acutely infected with Hepatitis C will become chronically infected.  Chronically infected individuals often are unable to acquire complete absence of the HCV virus, which leads to a lifetime of symptoms and treatments to prevent more serious complications from Hepatitis C. Recent studies have shown that 75%-85% of people infected with Hepatitis C will become chronically infected, 60%-70% will develop liver disease, 5-%10% will develop cirrhosis and 1%-5% will die from complications of liver disease like cirrhosis and liver cancer. Hepatitis C is a very serious and dangerous infection and requires prudence with treatments and health maintenance.

Hepatitis C and Addiction

For anyone who contracts Hepatitis C, there are many inherent dangers with complications for the development of liver disease and cirrhosis, both of which can be severely advanced by the consumption of alcohol.  For anyone who has chronic  Hepatitis C and continues to drink alcoholic beverages,  the risks are very high for the development of fatal diseases like cirrhosis and liver disease.  This information is especially critical for addicts and alcoholics, who are already at a higher risk for contracting Hepatitis C and continuing with risky behaviors as a result of their addictions.

Addiction and Hepatitis C tend to go hand in hand because of the high rate of contraction through contaminated needles being shared among IV drug users. For the most part, addicts do not have frequent or regular medical checkups to screen for Hepatitis C and other diseases and ailments. So when Hepatitis C may be caught early by screenings for a more prudent individual, for addicts who may not keep up with their medical checkups, Hepatitis C can go untreated and unnoticed for long periods of time, making the risks for serious complications far greater, diminishing the chances for survival.

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