This value is the amount of virus in a certain quatitiy of blood. otherwise known as your "viral load". I believe the viral load you posted would be considered low. Other members will probably correct me if I'm wrong.
With Hep C viral load does not corrilate with severity of disease. Meaning you can have a high viral load and still have mild disease. On the other hand one may have a low viral load and have sever disease.
This number is most important during the treatment process to determine how well if at all if the treatment is working.
In order to determine how serious your Hep c is you would need a liver biopsy or at the very least one of the alternatives to biopsy (Fibrosure,Fibroscan). The latter not being as accuate as a biopsy but is less expensive and less invasive.
A liver funtion panel blood test would give a few more data points as well.
All of these data points taken together can give you a fairly good snapshot of your current condition.
Yes the liver panel test would include a ALT and AST and GGT test. And yes the viral load may fluctate. I'm not sure about how much it will fluctuate. I do know that the fluctuation varies from person to person.
I have had 2 RNA tests within a month of each other and there was only a tiny fluctuation. Way less then an entire log.
Why are you so conserned about an increase in VL? It's possible to have a decrease as well. But unless your in treatment it really does not mean much.
Like "Fathom" says, viral load does not correlate with the amount of liver damage. For that you need a liver biopsy or minimally a thorough evaluation by a liver specialist (hepatologist) who will look at other markers such as platelet count, size of spleen, ultrasound, palpatation, ultrasound, etc. I say "hepatologist" because most gastroenterologists of GPs simply do not have enough knowledge in this field.
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