Before hepatitis c treatment begin in a clinical setting, there are three things that are usually done first. These are, in other words, things that are normally done by doctors dealing with hepatitis C patients, before putting such patients up for the various treatments available for the condition. These are unavoidable, considering they are aimed at confirming that the diagnosis of hepatitis C that was made is accurate. There is a risk that you will endanger the lives of patients when you make them take medications for hepatitis C when they are suffering from another ailment, one that does not merit the use of such potent drugs. On the other hand, hepatitis C is a potentially fatal condition, and failing to put a patient who actually has the condition on the right treatment plan can eventually lead to his or her loss. Such tricky circumstances would entail some things to be done by the doctors in order to reduce the risks of misdiagnosis and compromising the ensuing treatment that may very well save the very life of the patient.
First, doctors would normally take down the patient’s history before the commencement of any clinical treatment for the hepatitis C condition. This is where the patient simply explains what he or she is feeling to the doctor, with the doctor recording what he or she hears from the patient. If, from this conversation, the doctor develops reasonable suspicion that the patient may be suffering from hepatitis C, further tests are ordered (as we will see later). Hepatitis C symptoms are not what you’d call distinct or unique to the condition. That is why doctors often have trouble at this stage because the symptoms could be identified with various other conditions. The doctor would have to make some remote connections in order to properly identify the condition. Doctors would then normally suggest that their patients, once they’ve exhibited a certain permutation of symptoms that may or may not raise signals for hepatitis C, undergo further lab tests.
Doctors also often make sure serology precedes any treatment for hepatitis C patients. This is blood testing and it takes place in several stages. The first stage is not aimed to detect whether there is a hepatitis C virus right off the bat. Instead, these tests are more focused on looking for the natural antibodies that are produced by the body to fight off hepatitis C. If a huge enough number of these antibodies is identified, then a presumption is made that the patient actually has hepatitis C. The second stage of serological testing focuses on the actual hepatitis C virus: the objective at this stage being to calculate the hepatitis C viral load.
Biopsy is the third thing that is usually performed before the start of any clinical treatment for hepatitis C. This is necessitated by the fact that hepatitis C can damage the liver. Before commencing treatment, it therefore often becomes necessary to figure out whether the disease has already damaged the liver, and this is done through a biopsy. If it emerges that the disease has indeed messed up with the liver, a further effort is made to figure out the extent of the damage. A liver biopsy would be even more vital if the patient is showing signs of having liver cirrhosis, the risks involved in liver biopsy notwithstanding.