What conditions outside the liver are associated with hepatitis C?
Several conditions outside the liver are associated with hepatitis C. These conditions are not common. Cryoglobulinemia is the condition most widely described. The condition occurs due to the abnormal antibodies presence that comes from hepatitis c virus stimulation of lymphocytes.
Inflammation of vessels in tissues throughout the body occurs due to the deposition of antibodies in small blood vessels.
Cryoglobulinemia symptoms include joint pain, weakness, swelling, skin rash, legs and feet swelling due to protein loss in the urine and nerve pain.
With special test, diagnosis of the disease can be done.
Cryoglobulins are identified in the test when the blood sample is exposed to the cold.
Treatment of hepatitis C infection can cure cryoglobulinemia.
B-cell non-hodgkin’s lymphoma, which is a cancer of the lymph tissue, has also been associated with hepatitis C virus. Due to the excessive stimulation by the hepatitis C virus of B-lymphocytes, abnormal reproduction of the lymphocytes can result. Anti-cancer therapies are required for high grade non-hodgkin’s lymphoma.
Lichen planus and porphyria cutanea tarde are also associated with hepatitis C virus. These conditions can be cured with interferon therapy.
How liver damage occur in hepatitis C infection?
The liver damage does not occur directly by the hepatitis virus. The virus level in the blood does not correlate with actual damage seen on liver biopsy.
Liver damage in hepatitis C may occur due to the interplay between virus and immune system of the body, which includes cytotoxic lymphocytes and specific inflammatory messengers.
What is the risk of hepatitis C virus spreading from mother to child?
Out of 100 children, 4 children will get hepatitis C infection from mother who is infected. The infection spreads at the time of birth and there is no treatment to prevent this. Newborns infected with the virus have no symptoms and do well during childhood.
There is no clear evidence that hepatitis C can be spread through breastfeeding. If you are taking drugs for this disease, it may not be safe during breastfeeding.
How can a person protect themselves from getting hepatitis C virus?
Do not share tooth brushes, razors, and other personal care articles. Get vaccinated against hepatitis A and hepatitis B. before getting a tattoo or body piercing, consider the health risks. The virus can spread from sex, but not occur very often. Use latex condoms correctly and every time you participate in sex.
Who should receive antiviral therapy for hepatitis C virus?
Any person with hepatitis C infection is a candidate for antiviral therapy. The therapy is recommended for the people who are at greater risk of developing cirrhosis.
People should not be treated with antiviral therapy if they are using alcohol or illicit drugs, low blood count, major depression, autoimmune disease, thyroid gland disease and serious medical conditions like uncontrolled blood pressure, heart disease and diabetes.