When L., an elderly repatriate from Ukraine, came to the first meeting with the family doctor, she, looking at his data, noticed that he had did not take a blood test, and wrote out a referral for him.
– Doctor, I feel pretty good. & ndash; L. informed cheerfully – The stomach aches a little, but it's not scary. Well, it's not a covid, in fact!
However, according to the results of the first analysis, the doctor was questioned by the indicators of liver function, and she asked him to do a more in-depth blood test. She again did not like him, and she sent the patient for an ultrasound examination of the liver. The snapshot showed three large lesions of the liver, and the subsequent biopsy confirmed the worst fears – and ndash; cancer. Hepatitis C detected in the blood was the cause of the disease.
The shocked relatives went over the facts of L.'s biography. It turned out that many years ago, while in Ukraine, he underwent a small operation – a stomach resection. She required a blood transfusion. Apparently, then the hepatitis C virus was introduced. For more than 10 years, it did not manifest itself in anything. The secret became apparent only when the doctors practically did not have the opportunity to help. “A typical case is hepatitis C behaves this way,” said the doctor, & ndash; it's not for nothing that they call him the “ silent killer ''
Our questions are answered by one of the leading specialists of the Ichilov hospital in the field of gastroenterology and hepatology, Dr. Elena Katsman.
– Against the background of the pandemic, all other ailments already seem not so significant. Hepatitis seems to have completely disappeared into the shadows
– Unfortunately no. Today, according to various sources, there are about 70 thousand carriers of hepatitis C in Israel. Each of them, like a ticking bomb, can explode at any moment, that is, turn into a serious illness. There are several risk groups in our country.
We, doctors, include among them the repatriates who have arrived in the last three decades from the countries of the former Soviet Union. Why? Because in these countries, medical care has not reached a high, western level, and while undergoing various kinds of procedures there, a person could be infected with the hepatitis C virus. This could happen even during an ordinary injection, when disposable syringes were not yet in use, or during during the operation, during the usual procedure of manicure or pedicure in the beauty salon, as well as piercing.
This is especially true for those who were born in the former Soviet Union, that is, before the nineties, when disposable instruments began to spread.
– Let's start with the fact that our readers know jaundice or Botkin's disease. How does hepatitis C differ from her?
– The fact is that hepatitis A is symptomatic, as a rule, with obvious signs of the disease, and therefore it is quite easy to identify them. Hepatitis C is usually asymptomatic and already manifests itself in the form of severe complications. In fact, it can be compared with an oncological disease, which, as we know, is often detected at the last stages. The hepatitis C virus can live in the human body for a long time – for years, and sometimes for decades, while not showing itself in any way & ndash; until the disease turns into a progressive state and gives complications in the form of an enlarged liver, cirrhosis of the liver and even cancer.
– But if a person ever caught the hepatitis virus and did not know about him, will he develop a chronic disease?
– Statistics show that this disease becomes chronic in 50-70 percent. Over the next years, the process of chronic inflammation leads to the replacement of the liver with scar tissue, and later cirrhosis of the liver develops, which is extremely difficult to treat and which raises the question of liver transplantation. By the way, alcohol abuse and a number of drugs can provoke it.
– How to get tested?
– Very simple. An analysis for hepatitis C is done simultaneously with a general blood test, as directed by a doctor.
– And if this virus is found in the blood & ndash; what measures does the doctor take to treat the patient? Not so long ago, I know that such treatment was accompanied by serious side effects, as a result of which some patients were forced to refuse it.
– You are right, a few years ago such treatment was carried out in the form of interferon injections, and it was quite difficult. We now have the latest pill formulations that need to be taken once a day for 3 to 8 weeks. At the same time, practically no side effects are observed, and the person continues to feel good, lead an ordinary life, including work. In some patients, after two to three weeks of treatment, a blood test does not show the presence of the virus, although for a complete, irreversible cure, the course should still last about two to 3 months. This drug is also good because it acts on all types of hepatitis C; by the end of the course of treatment, the recent patient is completely healthy. This is a real revolution – it is easy to cure hepatitis C and, if the disease is detected in time, it is completely cured in 97% of cases.
– But what about the idea that hepatitis C is mainly affected by representatives of the weak strata of the population, especially those who dabbled in drugs in their youth …
– Yes, I have such an opinion. But it is absolutely wrong. Among our patients & ndash; and professors, and lawyers, and teachers, and doctors … Often, these are people who have arrived, as I said, from the CIS countries. Those who were born in Israel have a minimal risk of contracting the hepatitis virus. Here, a long time ago, the transition to disposable needles and disposable medical materials was carried out, which made it possible to practically eliminate the risk of contracting infections that are transmitted through the blood. But to those who arrived “ from there '' and succeeded in their “ past '' life to experience any medical examinations or treatment of various diseases, it is never too late to get tested. Without distinction in social status. Unfortunately, over thirty years of aliyah, hepatitis has not been completely eradicated.
Almost every twentieth, and in some cases – & ndash; every fifth Russian-speaking repatriate is a carrier of this deadly virus. Early diagnosis and effective treatment are now available & ndash; As practice shows, new drugs lead to complete recovery in 95-97 percent of cases.
Think that the “ silent killer '' does not lie in wait for you? Check it out and be sure!
The rubric is published with the assistance of Abbvie without its participation in the preparation of materials