Drug and alcohol addiction can be devastating to people on so many different levels. Addiction can change the way a person thinks, and it can change the way a person behaves. Addiction also affects more than simply the person that is addicted; it has an effect on everyone in their life. The entire family can suffer from one person’s addiction, but the worst effects of addiction are on the human body. Addiction can change the human body and these changes are never for the better. Addiction can introduce disease into the human body and these diseases are often life-threatening.
Currently there are over 300 million people who are infected with Hepatitis C. Hepatitis C is a virus and this virus can be spread through the use of intravenous drugs. It is estimated that over 10,000 people die each and every year from complications associated with Hepatitis C. It is a deadly epidemic that can often be avoided.
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How Does Hepatitis C Affect the Body?
Hepatitis C affects the liver, which has the function to keep the body clean. You could think of it as essentially a natural filter; you cannot live without a liver. Hepatitis C affects everyone differently. Some people will show signs of the disease and quickly become sick. Others may show no signs or symptoms for up to 20 years, but then Hepatitis C starts to attack the liver. Hepatitis C can scar the liver and, even worse, it can cause cirrhosis. Cirrhosis can lead to liver failure, which can lead to ultimately death.
Are There Any Symptoms or Signs?
Some people will not show any signs or symptoms of a Hepatitis C infection. The most common symptoms of a hepatitis C infection are: swelling of the abdomen, cloudy urine, right upper abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, fever, fatigue, itching and loss of appetite.
Can You Protect Yourself from Hepatitis C?
There is no known cure for Hepatitis C at the moment. However, you can protect yourself by avoiding intravenous drugs. This is not the only way that Hepatitis C is spread either; Hepatitis C can also be spread through sexual contact.
Hepatitis C is not the lone dangerous disease that can be contracted from drug use. People who use intravenous drugs can also become infected with HIV. HIV can also be spread through sexual contact, as well. A person that is addicted to intravenous drugs can become infected with HIV and then they can pass the infection on to it any person they have sexual intercourse with; this is just one example of how drug addiction can affect people who don’t actually use drugs.
How Dangerous is HIV?
It is estimated that over 34 million people are currently infected with the HIV virus. Of these 34 million people, 50 percent are women and just over 3 million are children. It is also estimated that around 3 million people are infected each year. The yearly death toll from HIV is estimated to be at 3 million people. It is extremely dangerous and thus extremely deadly.
Do Drugs Cause HIV?
Drugs are not the actual cause HIV. HIV stands for Human immunodeficiency virus. It is not the drugs that cause the spread of the virus, but how they are used. Dirty needles are the number one cause of HIV among drug users.
Can You Protect Yourself from HIV?
The best protection against HIV is to never use intravenous drugs and always have protected sex. If you have to use a needle, do not use a needle that has been used by anyone else. This is just asking for trouble and never let anyone else use a needle on you. You might not know where the needle came from or where it has been.
There are plenty of cities all over the United States that actually offer needle exchange programs. Using a needle exchange program has two benefits. One, you can get a clean needle and two, your dirty needles are properly disposed of. This helps prevent further infection of HIV.
Drug addiction can lead to premature death in several ways. These are only two of the most common ways that drugs kill millions of people every year. One of the best methods of avoiding these problems is to stay sober and not engage in risky behavior.
About the Author: Russell Jensen is a contributing author who works as a nurse in a rehab clinic. He has seen numerous drug-related cases in his time.