There are currently around 3.5 million people in the US living with the HCV, but most of them actually have no idea that they’re infected and that their livers could be compromised. The reason for this is because, in about 70-80% of the reported acute cases, patients experience no symptoms at all or they experience vague symptoms that can easily lead to a misdiagnosis. This has led physicians and researchers to refer to HCV as the silent epidemic.
Thankfully, there is some light at the end of the tunnel for HCV sufferers; in 2011 a drug was released which wipes out the virus in just 8-12 weeks. However, just because scientists have found a way to treat the HCV, it doesn’t mean that it’s not a major threat to some members of the population.
As already mentioned, symptoms aren’t always present in infected patients, but there are some symptoms that can be easily linked to other illnesses, which will often lead to misdiagnoses. Below are some of the hallmark symptoms:
• Fatigue or weakness
• Lack of hunger
• Muscle or joint pain
• Weight loss
How Does the Hepatitis C Virus Spread?
Like most viruses, Hepatitis C can be transferred through the blood in a number of ways, some of which might not always be obvious. Below are the populations that are most at risk of contracting the HCV:
• Injection drug users, both active and inactive
• Patients who received clotting factor concentrates made before 1987
• Recipients of blood transfusions or organ transplants before 1992
• Chronic hemodialysis patients
• HIV patients
• Offspring of HCV-positive mothers
• Healthcare workers who have been pricked by needles
If you fall into one of the above categories and you’re experiencing any of the symptoms mentioned above, then you need to have a serious talk with your doctor about the HCV. Thankfully, testing is simple and non-invasive, and the results come back quickly.