It is estimated that there are 71 million people infected with the hepatitis C virus worldwide. Many of these patients are unaware of their disease.
With recent studies, significant progress and success have been achieved in the treatment approaches of hepatitis C disease. With current treatment options, 99% treatment success can be achieved in 8 or 12 weeks of treatment in hepatitis C disease.
Hepatitis C is one of the main causes of chronic liver disease. It can cause progressive damage to the liver, up to cirrhosis (i.e. liver failure) and liver cancer.
Our current goal in hepatitis C disease is to cure the disease, that is, to get rid of the hepatitis C virus completely. If liver damage has occurred, it is possible to regress with the treatment of hepatitis C infection. With treatment, the development of cirrhosis in patients can be prevented. Again, with current treatments, the risk of liver failure and liver cancer development is reduced. Although we are successful in the treatment of hepatitis C disease, regular follow-up for liver cancer is required in individuals with advanced liver damage.
Although hepatitis C disease mainly causes liver damage, it should not be forgotten that it can also cause disease in other organs. Damages caused by the hepatitis C virus in organs other than the liver can be reversed with hepatitis C treatment.
Diagnosis of hepatitis C infection is mainly based on tests called anti-HCV and HCV-RNA. Population screening is recommended for detection of hepatitis C virus in societies with moderately frequent disease, such as our country. It is appropriate to perform hepatitis C examination in health institutions and to plan the treatment of hepatitis C infection, if any. Other hepatitis factors should be investigated in individuals with hepatitis C disease, and if there are other causes of liver disease, their treatment should be planned.
Every patient with hepatitis C infection who wants to receive treatment, whether they have received treatment or not, should be treated. Treatment should be administered without delay in individuals with advanced liver damage due to hepatitis C infection. Since the new generation drugs used in the treatment may interact with the drugs used for other diseases of the patient, the patient-specific drug selection should be made with care. It is important to evaluate the kidney functions of the patient before hepatitis C treatment is started.