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Hepatitis C: Data and Statistics for Chronic and Acute Types Research Paper

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Updated: Feb 7th, 2022

Prominent aspects of the disease

Hepatitis is a group of infectious diseases involving liver inflammation with viruses. There are five types of them with A, B, and C being the most widespread. Hepatitis C is a viral disease caused by infection with the virus called HCV that makes hepatocyte cells inflamed and damaged. Hence liver cells lose the ability to filter the blood and absorb carbohydrates, fats, and proteins (Foung & Baumert, 2019). Viral hepatitis C can be found both in chronic and acute types. No medical service can provide an effective vaccine against HCV nowadays because of the rapid mutations processes and numerous genotypes swiftly adapting to the immune system. The modes of transmission include contacts with infected blood or contaminated instruments; the virus is often transmitted from a mother with HCV to a child (Ghany et al., 2019). HCV is a common reason for liver cancer, cirrhosis, and liver transplantation.

Current data and statistics related to the disease

Hepatitis C is supposed to be the most common disease caused by a virus and transmitted by blood in the United States. The prevailing genotype among US citizens is genotype G1 (75%) (Ghany et al., 2019). According to the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (Ghany et al., 2019), about 3,700 cases were reported in 2018, with 3 million people infected in the U.S. More than 70 million people from all over the world are suffering from HCV. According to the most recent data, the total number of deaths in the U.S. officially approached 16,000 people in the year 2018 (Ghany et al., 2019). Approximately 500,000 people die from Hepatitis C annually.

Health disparities related to the disease

The incubation period usually lasts from two weeks to six months. The main danger of this form of Hepatitis lies in the difficulty of diagnosis at an early stage for a complete absence of symptoms or insignificant manifestation. Besides, such symptoms are “disguised” as signs of other diseases. Patients may experience fever, decreased appetite, fatigue, vomiting, nausea, abdominal pain, dark urine, and jaundice (Ghany et al., 2019). Some psychological symptoms as depression, anxiety can also be added here.

Prevention strategies including complementary and alternative health therapies

The World Health Organization elaborated a set of instructions on preventing Hepatitis C. The recommendations are as follows: providing safe injections in the provision of medical care, testing donated blood for HBV and HCV, drug addiction treatment (Ghany et al., 2019). The best prevention measure from HCV, according to ASSLD, is the patient with Hepatitis, totally aware of how to stop communicating the disease to others (Ghany et al., 2019). Hepatitis C can be prevented through treatment or behavioral changes, such as public projects on eliminating social stereotyping.

Health therapy involves DAA (direct-acting antivirals) that can cure the majority of detected HCV cases. Alternative therapies help patients afflicted by anxiety and depression to make them feel more hopeful or to eliminate some symptoms. For instance, it is believed that milk thistle and Vitamin D intake can help to supplement liver functioning during medical treatment (Llewellyn et al., 2019). What is more, such activities as yoga, massage, and acupuncture help diminish anxiety and some symptoms.

Contemporary research

During the last 20 years, a considerable breakthrough in treating and studying HCV has been made. The most contemporary research provided the world with direct-acting antiviral medication, which causes fewer side effects than before (Foung & Baumert, 2019). Screening programs and laboratory testing have been worked on to detect the disease at the early stages. Although there is no vaccine, progress has been made, and new possible molecular are being explored (Foung & Baumert, 2019). Besides, for the last period, new studies on neurophysiological and psychosocial aspects of the disease in HCV patients started to appear (Llewelin et al., 2019). However, there is a lot of research to do before humanity can eliminate a disease like this.

Pathophysiologic effects of stress-related Hepatitis

The identification of psychological and psychiatric symptoms is crucial during the treatment. People diagnosed with Hepatitis may be prone to panic, hopelessness, and guilt, thus being exposed to mental illnesses more than physically healthy people. Some researchers relate these symptoms to HCV neurotoxicity (Barreira et al., 2019). It means that the virus can intrude in CNS and contaminate microglial cells, affecting memory and cognitive processes, causing fatigue, and depriving the ability to concentrate. The mentioned characteristic of the virus may make the disease progress faster. Understanding the stress mechanisms in hepatitis patients can help to improve the medical treatment significantly.

Evidence-based stress management interventions that might help with prevention or cure

Learning about the disease more can help to prevent it and cure it successfully. Thus, some psychosocial studies conducted by Turkish researchers revealed that people taking DDA report being depressed and having problems with social functioning (Kesen et al., 2019). The researchers insist on providing psychotherapeutic services to the patients.

There is also the study by Llewellyn and others (2019) detecting that hepatitis A and B vaccination were less successful among the people who were stressed or felt a lack of social support. According to the research, antibody concentration also depends on the patient’s stress during the treatment (Llewellyn et al., 2019). Llewellyn (2019) also adds that people surrounded by healthy people have higher antibody responses while being treated. Therefore, psychological well-being and warm social relationships positively affect the immune system and its possibility to fight the disease.

References

Barreira, D. P., Marinho, R. T., Bicho, M., Fialho, R., & Ouakinin, S. R. S. (2019). . Frontiers in psychology, 9, 2666. Web.

Foung, S. K., & Baumert, T. F. (2019). Current progress and challenges in the development of a hepatitis C virus vaccine. Frontiers Media SA.

Ghany, M. G., Marks, K. M., Morgan, T. R., Wyles, D. L., Aronsohn, A. I., Bhattacharya, D.,… & Heller, T. (2019). Hepatitis C guidance 2019 update: AASLD-IDSA recommendations for testing, managing, and treating hepatitis C virus infection. Hepatology, 71(2), 686-721. Web.

Kesen, O., Tarık Kani, H., Yanartaş, Emre Aykut, U., & Gök, B. (2019). Evaluation of depression, anxiety, and quality of life in hepatitis C patients who treated with direct acting antiviral agents. PubMed Central (PMC), 30(9), 801-806. Web.

Llewellyn, C., Ayers, S., McManus, C., Newman, S., Petrie, K. J., Revenson, T. A., & Weinman, J. (2019). Cambridge handbook of psychology, health and medicine. Cambridge University Press.

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