To understand what is Hepatitis C we have to understand what hepatitis actually is.
Hepatitis is a very broad term describing the liver inflammation. This can be cause be several different mechanisms. Hepatitis is caused by a viral infection of the liver. Depending of the type of the virus, we know of Hepatitis A, B, C, D and E, with Hepatitis C being the most problematic.
Hepatitis C is an infectious disease caused by Hepatitis C Virus (HCV). HCV is a small virus consisting of viral RNA found in the core of the virus, as seen from the picture, and an envelope that protects the virus.
When HCV enters human bloodstream it floats into the liver where it starts to replicate by using human liver cells to create new viruses. This causes liver inflammation that is in turn followed by liver cirrhosis. In short, what Hepatitis C is doing to the liver is scarring them and slowly disabling the function the liver performs. This action can in the end lead to liver cancer that can only be treated by surgically replacing the liver via liver transplant.
On the upside, there are viable treatments for Hepatitis C, based on interferon medication. However, the medications are becoming more and more evolved which lead to the invention of Sofosbuvir – the first all-oral Hep C therapy.
What is hepatitis C is hence best described as a virus infection that causes liver damage and eventually liver failure.
The disease is commonly asymptomatic – that means that there are no apparent symptoms such as pain or fever. However, if patient is closely observed there are some symptoms that can suggest Hepatitis C infection.
With more than 170 million estimated patient around the world, the new Sofosbuvir treatment of Hep C is very important. If Hep C is rapidly treated, the following problems with liver surgery can be effectively avoided.