What is Hepatitis C?

Glossary of Terms

Alanine Aminotransferase (ALT)
Alkaline Phosphatase (ALP)
Antibody
Ascites
Aspartate Transaminase (AST)
Autoimmune
Autoimmune Hepatitis
Bile
Bile ducts
Biliary atresia
Cholesterol
Cirrhosis
Clinical trial
Computerized tomography (CT) scan
Diabetes
Edema
Enzymes
Fatty liver disease
Fibrosis
Gastroenterologist
Genetic
Genotype
Hemochromatosis
Hepatic Encephalopathy (HE)

Hepatitis
Hepatitis A
Hepatitis B
Hepatitis C
Hepatocellular carcinoma
Hepatologist
Interferon
Jaundice
Liver
Liver biopsy
Liver cancer
Liver cysts
Liver failure
Liver function tests
Liver transplant
Living-related liver transplantation
Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) scan
Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD)
Nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH)
Primary biliary cirrhosis (PBC)
Primary sclerosing cholangitis (PSC)
Protease inhibitors
Protein
Ribavirin
Steroids
Sustained virologic response (SVR)
Triglycerides
Triple therapy
Tumor
Ultrasound
Vaccine
Viral load
Wilson disease

Glossary of Terms


Alanine Aminotransferase (ALT)
Alanine aminotransferase (ALT) is an enzyme found in the liver. The ALT test measures the level of ALT in the blood. Consistently high levels of ALT can be a sign of injury of the primary liver cells (hepatocytes).
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Alkaline Phosphatase (ALP)
Alkaline Phosphatase (ALP) is an enzyme found in in large amounts in the liver, bile ducts, and other parts of the body. The ALP test measures the level of ALP in your blood. High levels of ALP can be a sign of liver or bile duct injury.
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Antibody
An antibody is a protein in the blood that is made by the body to fight germs such as viruses or bacteria. Antibodies can be a result of receiving a vaccine or coming into contact with a germ. They serve to protect the body against infections.
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Ascites
Ascites is the build up of fluid in the abdomen that can occur with liver failure, cirrhosis and liver cancer.
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Aspartate Transaminase (AST)
Aspartate Transaminase (AST) is an enzyme found in large amounts in the liver and other parts of the body. The AST test measures the level of AST in the blood. High levels of AST can be a sign of injury of the primary liver cells (hepatocytes).
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Autoimmune
Autoimmune is an immune response by the body against its own tissue, cells, or molecules. In people with autoimmune disease, their immune system may attack the same cells that it is supposed to protect.
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Autoimmune hepatitis
Autoimmune hepatitis is a chronic (long-term) liver disease in which the immune system attacks the liver.
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Bile
Bile is a liquid made in the liver that helps break down fats and other nutrients. It also helps the body eliminate waste that is generated after processing of many compounds in the liver into the intestine.
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Bile ducts
Bile ducts are tubes that drain the bile from the liver into the intestine.
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Biliary atresia
Biliary atresia is a rare disease of the bile ducts that affects infants. In babies with biliary atresia, the bile ducts are blocked at or soon after birth.
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Cholesterol
Cholesterol is a type of fat found in blood.
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Cirrhosis
Cirrhosis is extensive scarring of the liver — hard scar tissue replaces soft healthy tissue. Severe scarring of the liver can prevent the liver from functioning well. It is important to know that cirrhosis is the end result of many kinds of injury to the liver, such as alcohol, hepatitis C, autoimmune liver disease, and others. Therefore, any chronic liver disease that is severe and progressive can result in cirrhosis.
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Clinical trial
A clinical trial is a medical research study conducted to find answers to health questions. Clinical trials often are conducted to evaluate new medications, combination of medications, or new ways to use current treatments. Also, clinical trials are conducted to evaluate new tests, equipment, and procedures for diagnosing and detecting health conditions and to find vaccines to prevent illnesses.
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Computerized Tomography (CT) scan
A CT scan is an imaging test that uses radiation to get detailed pictures of the body.
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Diabetes
Diabetes is a condition that occurs when the body cannot use glucose (a type of sugar) normally, and results in high levels of glucose in the blood.
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Edema
Edema is the build up of fluid in the body, generally referring to the legs, which can occur due to liver failure, cirrhosis, and liver cancer.
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Enzymes
Enzymes are protein cells that help important chemical reactions to occur in the body. Examples of liver enzymes include the AST and ALT.
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Fatty liver disease
See nonalcoholic fatty liver disease.
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Fibrosis
Fibrosis is scarring of the liver. Fibrosis may be mild, or progress over time to end-stage scarring, which is called cirrhosis.
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Gastroenterologist
A gastroenterologist is a doctor who specializes in the study of digestive organs including the liver.
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Genetic
Genetic refers to something that is related, caused by or affected by genes.
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Genotype
A genotype is the genetic makeup of a cell, an organism, or an individual. In the study of liver diseases, the hepatitis C genotype identifies which strain of hepatitis C virus an individual is infected with.
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Hemochromatosis
Hemochromatosis is a genetic condition in which the body stores too much iron. The iron can build up in the liver and in other organs as well.
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Hepatic Encephalopathy (HE)
Hepatic encephalopathy (HE) is a brain disorder that is caused by liver damage. It can be an acute (short-term) or chronic (long-term) condition.  HE occurs when the liver is damaged and cannot remove toxic chemicals, such as ammonia, from the blood. These chemicals then enter the brain and cause it to not function well.
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Hepatitis
Hepatitis means “inflammation of the liver”.
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Hepatitis A
Hepatitis A is a liver disease caused by the hepatitis A virus (HAV). HAV causes the liver to swell and prevents it from working well. HAV is passed from person to person through fecal matter. Most often it is transmitted because of poor hand washing after using the bathroom or changing a diaper, or before preparing and eating food. Unlike hepatitis B and hepatitis C, it does not become chronic (long-term).
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Hepatitis B
Hepatitis B is a liver disease caused by the hepatitis B virus (HBV). HBV causes the liver to swell and prevents it from working well. HBV is passed from person to person through bodily fluids such as blood, semen, or vaginal secretions. Most often it is transmitted through sexual contact or from an infected mother to her infant during birth.
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Hepatitis C
Hepatitis C is a liver disease caused by the hepatitis C virus (HCV). HCV causes the liver to swell and prevents it from working well. HCV is passed from person to person by blood. It is most often transmitted when a person’s blood comes into direct contact with infected blood.
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Hepatocellular Carcinoma
See liver cancer.
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Hepatologist
A hepatologist is a doctor who specializes in the study of the liver.
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Interferon
Interferon is a protein used by the body to fight infection. It is prescribed as an injected medication for people with hepatitis B or hepatitis C in order to boost the ability of the immune system to fight these viruses.
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Jaundice
Jaundice is the yellowing of the skin and the white part of the eyes. It is caused by accumulation of bilirubin in the body when the liver is not working well.
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Liver
The liver is the second largest organ in your body. It processes what you eat and drink into energy and nutrients your body can use. The liver also removes harmful substances from your blood.
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Liver Biopsy
A liver biopsy is a medical procedure used to remove a very small piece of liver tissue that is studied in the lab to determine the liver’s condition.
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Liver Cancer
Liver cancer is the growth and spread of unhealthy cells in the liver.
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Liver cysts
Liver cysts are abnormal sacs filled with fluid in the liver.
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Liver failure
Liver failure is the inability of the liver to function and perform its jobs.
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Liver function tests
Liver function tests help check the liver’s health and detect liver damage. These blood tests measure the levels of certain proteins and enzymes in the blood.
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Liver transplant
A liver transplant is the process of replacing a sick liver with a donated, healthy liver.
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Living-related liver transplantation
A living-related liver transplantation is the transplantation of a portion of a healthy person’s liver to a person with advanced liver damage.
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Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) scan
A MRI scan uses magnetic waves to obtain images of the liver or other organs.
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Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD)
Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is the build up of extra fat in liver cells that is not caused by alcohol.
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Nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH)
Nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) is a severe form of nonalcoholic fatty liver disease that causes the liver to swell and become damaged.
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Primary Biliary Cirrhosis (PBC)
Primary Biliary Cirrhosis (PBC) is a long-term autoimmune liver disease that can slowly destroy bile ducts in the liver.
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Primary Sclerosing Cholangitis (PSC)
Primary Sclerosing Cholangitis (PSC) is a long-term autoimmune liver disease that can slowly damage the bile ducts in the liver.
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Protease Inhibitors
Protease inhibitors are a class of drugs that stop the production of certain proteins in the body. Protease inhibitors are used in combination with other drugs to treat hepatitis C and HIV.
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Protein
Proteins are large molecules that are involved in many functions throughout the body. They make sure the body’s organs function properly.
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Ribavirin
Ribavirin is an oral medication that is prescribed together with interferon for people with hepatitis C, and it increases the chances of successfully fighting the infection.
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Steroids
Steroids are medications prescribed to treat inflammatory diseases caused by over activity of the immune system such as autoimmune liver disease.
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Sustained Virologic Response (SVR)
Sustained Virologic Response (SVR) is a person’s successful response to antiviral medications when a virus is not present in the blood six months after treatment is completed. When this happens after treatment for hepatitis C, it represents a cure from the infection.
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Triglycerides
Triglycerides are a type of fat found in blood.
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Triple Therapy
Triple Therapy is a term used to describe a drug treatment using three different medications. In the setting of hepatitis C treatment, it describes the combination of Interferon, Ribavirin, and a Protease Inhibitor drug into a treatment regimen.
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Tumor
A tumor is an abnormal growth of cells that form a lump.
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Ultrasound
An ultrasound is an imaging technique that uses waves to see inside views of the body.
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Vaccine
A vaccine is a medication that stimulates the production of antibodies to protect against a specific disease.
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Viral load
A viral load is the amount of a virus, such as hepatitis B or hepatitis C virus, in the blood.
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Wilson disease
Wilson disease is a genetic condition in which the body stores too much copper and the copper builds up in the liver.
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