Hepatitis C Glossary

Acute (uh-KYOOT) disease: a disease that starts suddenly and lasts for a short time.

Albumin (al-BYU-men): a simple protein in the blood; its levels go down when the liver is not working well.

Antibody (AN-tee-bod-ee): a protein made by the body’s immune system in response to harmful substances.

Antibody test: a test that measures the presence and amount of antibodies in the blood.

Ascites (uh-SY-teez): fluid in the belly.

Bilirubin (BIL-uh-rue-bin): a yellow substance formed from the breakdown of blood; its levels go up when the liver is not working well.

Chronic (KRAH-nik) disease: disease of long duration.

Cirrhosis (sir-RO-sis): final stage of liver damage and scarring, often resulting in liver failure, jaundice, and ascites.

Fibrosis (fye-BRO-sis): for hepatitis, the scarring of the liver tissue as a result of damage.

Genotype (JEAN-oh-type): the genetic makeup of an individual or group. The hepatitis C virus has several different genotypes in its family.

Hemophilia (he-moe-FEE-lee-ah): an inherited bleeding disorder.

Hepatitis (HEP-uh-TYE-tis): a liver disease that causes inflammation or swelling of the liver.

Jaundice (JAWN-diss): yellowing of skin and eyes caused by a buildup of bilirubin from damaged red blood cells.

Liver: one of the largest organs in the human body. The liver has many functions, including making bile for digestion, breaking down toxins, and helping make proteins for blood clotting.

Liver biopsy (BYE-op-see): removal of a small piece of liver tissue for testing.

Liver enzymes (EN-zahyms): also referred to as AST and ALT, enzymes found in the liver that are released into the blood when the liver is damaged.

Liver panel: a group of blood tests that check how healthy your liver is and how well it is functioning.

Spleen (spl-EE-n): an organ in the abdomen that is involved in blood production.

Ultrasound (uhl-TRAH-sound): uses sound waves to take pictures from inside the body.

Viral (VYE-rul) load test: a test that determines how much virus is present in your blood. It is also known as an HCV-RNA test.

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