Liver Facts and Hepatitis C

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3d rendered anatomy illustration of a human body shape with highlighted liver

One of the first steps in becoming proactive for your liver health is understanding the functions of the liver and what Hepatitis C is.

 

What is the function of the liver?

The liver is a vital organ, meaning you need it in order to sustain life. It’s the second largest organ in your body. It is located under the rib cage on the right side of your abdomen. It weighs about three pounds and is shaped like a football that is flat on one side.

 

The liver performs many functions in your body. It’s primary function is to process everything you eat, drink, breathe and absorb through your skin. It serves your body like an engine, filter, refinery plant, and storage house. It converts nutrients from your food for vital functions for muscles, energy, hormones, clotting factors and immune factors.

 

It stores vitamins, minerals (including iron) and sugars, regulates fat stores, and controls the production and excretion of cholesterol. It also produces bile which helps you digest food and absorb nutrients.

 

It detoxifies poisonous substances and metabolizes alcohol. It aids your immune system by helping you resist infection and removes bacteria from your blood. It’s your body’s power house.

 

What is Hepatitis C?

 

The term Hepatitis means inflammatory or infection of the liver which can be caused by chemicals, drugs or viruses. Hepatitis C is often referred to as Hep C or HCV (hepatitis c virus).

 

There are six Hepatitis viruses labeled A through E and G. Viruses A and E can be contracted from feces due to poor hygiene, or contaminated water or food. Hepatitis B and D are transmitted by bodily fluids including blood exposure into the bloodstream.

 

Hepatitis C is transmitted when blood infected with Hep C comes in contact to the bloodstream of an un-infected person.  Hepatitis G virus also termed GBV-C was recently discovered and resembles HCV, but more closely, the flaviviruses; the virus and its effects are under investigation, and its role in causing disease in humans is unclear.

 

The World Health Organization reports there are 11 genotypes of Hep C with distinct subtypes identified throughout the world. Certain genotypes are prevalent in certain countries and some specific to certain countries.

 

Within the Hepatitis C virus there are 7 different genotypes (virus strains) of Hep C. Genotype refers to the genetic structure or particular virus strain. Within genotype there are subtypes. It is important to know which genotype the patient has in order to determine the right treatment regimen best effective for each patient.

 

Worldwide, the most common is genotype 1 which accounts for 46% of cases. In the United States 75% of Hep C patients have genotype 1. Genotypes 2, 3, and 4 are less common in the US and other genotypes are rare. Genotype 7 was discovered in 2013 with only one known case.

 

Heavy alcohol use, toxins, and certain medical conditions can also cause hepatitis. Hepatitis C is caused by a virus that attacks the liver causing damage and function impairment.

 

When first infected, a person can develop what is known as an “acute” infection, which can range in severity from very mild with few or no symptoms to a serious condition or chronic condition. Acute means a short term illness that lasts within a short amount of time, normally 6 months or less. Chronic means a condition which lasts over 6 month or longer, an ongoing condition.

 

According to the Center of Disease Control and Prevention, 15%-25% of people “clear” the Hep C virus without treatment. Approximately 75 to 85% of people who become infected with the Hepatitis C virus develop “chronic” or long term infection.

 

Chronic Hepatitis C can lead to serious liver damage including liver function impairment, liver scarring from fibrosis to severe permanent scarring (cirrhosis), liver cancer or liver failure. The Hepatitis C virus is one of the highest causes of chronic liver disease and liver transplants in the United States. It is estimated that over 4 million Americans have chronic Hepatitis C (HCV).

 

Worldwide, approximately 175 million people have Hep C. Most people do not know they are infected. It is known as the “silent killer” due to symptoms not appearing for some time and often mask other conditions.

 

Hep C is treatable and beatable. With practicing good healthy habits and treatment for Hep C, you can help your liver function better. Cure rates with medical treatment are now 90% to 99%. Common treatment length for Hep C is 8 to 12 weeks.

 

Have you been tested for Hep C? What is your genotype? Have you done treatment for Hep C?

Share your comments below.

 

To view this post or other resources, see our home page at, Life Beyond Hep C.

 

Related articles:

Read more about Hepatitis C and treatment at Life Beyond Hep C; Medical Information.

 

 

 

 

 

Overview Medication Listing for Hepatitis C Treatment.

 

 

 

 

 

10 Proactive Steps for your Hep C Battle Plan.

 

 

 

 

Will you help us? Like our Facebook page at: www.facebook.com/LifeBeyondHepatitisC , share on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Linkedin, or email to a friend, pass it on.  Thanks!

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10 Responses to Liver Facts and Hepatitis C

  1. Richard s. August 10, 2016 at 10:15 am #

    Connie, excellent informative post. We pray that within the next few years this disease will be in the past and no one will have to suffer with liver cancer or liver transplant. The Lord smiles upon you my friend. In Christ, Richard.

    • Connie M August 10, 2016 at 11:31 am #

      Hi Richard,
      Thanks for sharing this morning. One the first steps in our Hep C journey needs to be researching the facts about the liver and Hep C. So glad you liked the article. I hope and pray it serves as a great resource for everyone here.

      I also pray that one day Hep C will just be a disease of the past and no one will ever have to suffer from this again. I know one day is coming!

      Thank you for your very kind words.
      Blessings my friend,
      Connie

  2. Mary A. August 10, 2016 at 12:14 pm #

    Connie,
    Great information everyone should know about our liver, not just those with liver disease. This incredible organ (besides the heart) is such a workhorse of the body. I know I didn’t give my liver a second thought until I was diagnosed with HCV. I agree, it won’t be long before we have a vaccine for Hep C, like we do for Hep A and Hep B. Now that I’m Hep C free, I try not to be cavalier about my liver. Eating well, drinking lots of H20 (staying away from alcohol) and exercising regularly are my livers best friends. I remind myself that my body is a “temple of the Holy Spirit.”
    In His debt,
    Mary

    • Connie M August 10, 2016 at 12:29 pm #

      Hi Mary,
      So glad you liked the article. It is amazing how God designed our bodies. The liver is a fascinating organ.
      You are so right, eating well, drinking lots of pure water, staying away from alcohol and exercise is the best way to treat our liver. It puts a whole new perspective to how we treat our bodies and what God has entrusted to us. Our bodies are the temple of His Holy Spirit. (1 Corinthians 6:19-20 NIV).

      Thanks for sharing today.
      Blessings my friend,
      Connie

  3. Christine August 10, 2016 at 12:59 pm #

    Hi Connie.
    On first being diagnosed there was so much that l wanted to know about the diagnosis.
    This article is so informative and emphasises that we do have the ability to do what we can to look after our liver. This is empowering.
    This is so important while we wait for treatment and go through treatment and hopefully live on free from the virus.
    I have become much more aware of my liver health and general well being through this diagnosis.
    Your website information has been invaluable.
    Thank you .
    Above all l have come to realise that my life is truly in His hands alone.
    I value the breath he gives me each day.
    Some days it is really hard but with Him all things are possible.
    And l just want to live for Him x

    • Connie M August 10, 2016 at 1:37 pm #

      Hi Christine,
      I’m so glad you found the article helpful. Being newly diagnosed with Hep C there is so much to take in. Good information is a powerful proactive step in taking care of our liver. I hope and pray this serves to be a good resource.
      I appreciate your kind words about the website.
      I wholeheartedly agree above all, my life is truly in His hands alone. He is the one that holds the number of my days, not Hep C.

      Thanks for sharing today.
      Blessings my friend,
      Connie

  4. Ralph Corvera August 17, 2016 at 5:26 pm #

    Hepatitis B is spread through contact with infected blood, through sex with an infected person, and from mother to child during childbirth, whether the delivery is vaginal or via cesarean section.

    • Connie M August 17, 2016 at 6:15 pm #

      Hi Ralph,
      You are correct, Hepatitis B is also spread in this same way as Hepatitis C.
      Many times we may think of just one form of Hepatitis when in fact there are others.
      Thanks for sharing.

      Blessings,
      Connie

  5. Richard s. December 13, 2017 at 9:23 am #

    Connie, you are such a blessing. The Lord works greatly through you my friend. Thank you for reposting this information. I wish all the hep c warriors good health. In Christ, Richard.

    • Connie M December 13, 2017 at 10:48 am #

      Hi Richard,
      Thank you for commenting. I’m so glad you found the article helpful. The first step toward resolving Hep C, is understanding Hep C and the liver. Our hope and prayer is for everyone to get tested and treated.

      Have a wonderful Day my friend,
      Connie

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