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An addiction to heroin can have numerous severe consequences, as it changes the physical structure and physiology of the brain and creates hormone and neuronal imbalances. In addition to the many negative impacts that the drug itself can have on one’s mind and body, heroin use can also increase one’s risk of developing extremely dangerous diseases such as hepatitis C. To learn more about the relationship between hep C and heroin use, continue reading.
To understand the relationship between hep C and heroin use, it is first important to comprehend what hepatitis C is and how it spreads. Hepatitis C is currently the most common blood-borne infection in the United States. It is caused by a virus that spreads through contact with contaminated blood. The virus attacks and destroys cells in the liver and typically causes a substantial amount of chronic inflammation to occur.
While most people who contract hepatitis C don’t experience any symptoms, others may develop symptoms such as jaundice, loss of appetite, nausea, abdominal pain, and diarrhea. Because hepatitis C is an insidious disease without many obvious symptoms, it can cause a substantial amount of damage over many years without the infected person even being aware that they have it. If left untreated, hepatitis C can cause liver cancer, cirrhosis of the liver, and death. It is currently the leading cause of liver cancer in the United States and is the most deadly infectious disease in the country, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention.
As previously stated, hepatitis C is transmitted when someone comes into contact with the blood of an infected person. For example, a person could contract hepatitis C at birth, as a result of unregulated piercings or tattoos, or by sharing razors or nail clippers that have come into contact with infected blood. However, one of the most common ways that hepatitis C is transmitted is through the sharing of drug-injection equipment.
Currently, the majority of people who become infected with hepatitis C do so by sharing unsanitized equipment that has been used to prepare and inject drugs such as needles or syringes. Because heroin is often injected into the bloodstream through a vein, those who become addicted to the substance greatly increase their risk of contracting hepatitis C. As such, if you or someone you know has ever injected heroin or other drugs into their bloodstream, it is important to get tested for hepatitis C so you can receive treatment before significant liver damage occurs.
Because the greatest risk factor for hepatitis C in the U.S. is illegal drug injection, drug addiction treatment is one of the most impactful methods of reducing the disease’s transmission. At the Sundance Methadone Treatment Center, we are dedicated to helping our patients live their lives free of addiction. To learn about the treatment options and services available at one of the finest heroin rehab centers in Chicago, contact us today.