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Many hepatitis C patients unaware of liver damage.

ISLAMABAD -- The number of hepatitis C patients suffering from advanced liver damage may be grossly underestimated and under diagnosed, according to a new study.

Hepatitis C is a viral infection that causes inflammation and infection of the liver.

The findings, result of a study of nearly 10,000 patients suffering from hepatitis C, can have a significant effect on patient care and healthcare policy regarding the chronic disease, Medical Xpress reported.

Knowledge of the prevalence of liver damage will help decision making regarding screening for the effects of hepatitis C, when to start anti-viral therapy and the need for follow-up counselling, explained Stuart Gordon, lead researcher and director of Hepatology at Henry Ford Hospital.

The results suggest cirrhosis may be under diagnosed in a large segment of the population. Our results suggest a fourfold higher prevalence of cirrhosis than is indicated by biopsy alone, Gordon added.

The researchers discovered highly likely signs of liver damage by calculating the patients' liver enzymes, platelet counts and age in a previously validated test called a FIB-4 score.

People with hepatitis C need to find out the severity of their underlying liver disease, because they may not realise that they have cirrhosis, the authors noted.

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Publication:Balochistan Times (Baluchistan Province, Pakistan)
Date:Aug 22, 2015
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