Hepatitis C symptoms

A large number of people do not feel ill until hepatitis C affects their liver People start to suffer vague complaints and pain only when the symptoms of liver inflammation become noticeable. The most common complaints/symptoms of liver disorders are:

  • Extreme fatigue;
  • Nausea or vomiting;
  • Decreased appetite;
  • Fever;
  • Dark-coloured urine;
  • Joint or muscle pain;
  • Vague complaints or pain in the liver or stomach;
  • Discoloured faeces;
  • Mental or psychological complaints;
  • Jaundice (a yellowing of the skin and the white of the eyes).

Jaundice usually occurs in a later stage of liver inflammation. In most cases, when jaundice symptoms become visible, liver cirrhosis has already taken place.

Hepatitis C virus carrier

If you are infected with the hepatitis C virus, you have to be careful not to transmit the disease to other people. Hepatitis C is contagious through blood-to-blood contact. You will not become infected by drinking from somebody else's cup or using the same toilet, but you should be careful about tooth brushes and during sex. Click here to read more about infection with hepatitis C.

Differences in the disease process
Some people display symptoms two weeks after becoming infected with the virus; others only start to experience liver pain, stomach ache, exhaustion and other problems after six months. In some cases, people can also have hepatitis C for 30 years before displaying any symptoms.

The process of liver inflammation

In the acute stage of hepatitis C, only a small number of patients (approximately 10 per cent) experience difficulties. In 75 to 85 per cent of cases, the body is unable to clear the virus on its own and an acute infection develops into chronic hepatitis C.

Chronic hepatitis C
Many people experience fatigue and problems with their concentration, but there can be large differences between people in the progress and symptoms of a chronic infection. With chronic hepatitis C, some people only start to experience vague complaints in a later stage of the disease. In an advanced stage, the patient's symptoms can indicate liver damage, such as jaundice and liver pain.

Liver disease
With a small number of patients (5 to 20 per cent), chronic hepatitis C can progress to cirrhosis, liver cancer or liver failure after approximately 10 to 30 years. This means it is also important to check the seriousness of a chronic hepatitis C infection and to make a prognosis of what will happen to the liver once every six/twelve months.

Infected with hepatitis C?

Hepatitis C is contagious through blood-to-blood contact. If you think you are infected with the hepatitis C virus because of your symptoms and/or previous blood-to-blood contact, you can have yourself tested to verify whether this is actually the case. Doing this is extremely important in order to establish the seriousness and consequences of liver inflammation. If you have any questions or would like to receive more information, you should always consult a doctor or nurse at a hepatitis C treatment centre.

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