Hepatitis C Health Center

Hepatitis is a term that refers to swelling and inflammation of the liver. It can be caused by an infection from a virus, or from other organic diseases. The hepatitis C virus is one of many viruses that cause hepatitis. About 4 million people in the United States are infected with hepatitis at any one time.

The liver is an important organ of the body. It is located in the upper right part of the abdomen. The liver regulates the body’s nutrition system. After we eat food, it is digested and absorbed, then taken through large blood vessels to the liver. The liver processes absorbed substances such as fat, sugar, protein, and vitamins so the rest of the body can use them.

The liver gets rid of harmful substances called toxins before they have a chance to poison the body. The liver also makes bile; a yellowish liquid that helps absorb the food we eat. Bile is made out of a substance called bilirubin, a yellowish chemical. Viruses are extremely small germs that can multiply only after invading a host. Cold sores and the flu are caused by viruses. Viruses can be seen only with very powerful microscopes. A virus called hepatitis C can invade the human body through contaminated blood. This virus causes a liver infection called Hepatitis C.

Review Date: 
April 19, 2012
Last Updated:
July 1, 2013