Hepatitis C is a viral infection that spreads through blood and can cause inflammation in the liver, and occasionally serious liver diseases as per the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).1 The CDC estimates that 2.4 million people living in the U.S. are infected with Hepatitis C according to the CDC says, though the actual number could be more.
In contrast to other viral diseases, hepatitis C is not asymptomatic in about 50% of those who have been diagnosed not being aware that they carry the virus.1
Based on the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK) hepatitis C is among the top prevalent blood-borne disease throughout the U.S., and its incidence rate has been increasing continuously since 2006.2 If you consider the widespread nature of the hepatitis C with the severity of the disease it is even important to be aware of any possible symptoms and signs of infection.
If you’re at risk of getting the hepatitis C virus (HCV) or suspect you’re already infected The following are typical signs and symptoms you need to look out for.
Signs and Symptoms
The signs of hepatitis C depend on the stage the patient is in:
An acute disease. This stage includes the initial two to twelve weeks following the time someone was infected by HCV. The time when symptoms may be observed, though the CDC states that some individuals do not show any signs or are unaware of their symptoms might be due to HCV C.1
chronic infection. This stage includes any Hepatitis C infection that lasts more than 12 weeks.1 Many people who suffer from chronic Hepatitis C infection don’t exhibit any symptoms, as per the CDC except if they’ve developed liver disease.3
Fever and Fatigue
Your body is creating an immune system response to combat the hepatitis C virus and it can be a burden. According to the CDC states that those who experience symptoms in the first two to three months following having been affected by the disease might experience a fever, or experience tired.3
Skin yellowing or the eyes’ whites is also known as jaundice.A healthy liver is able to break down bilirubin in a way that it is eliminated via stool, according to the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai.5 Any illness or health issue, as well as medications that affect the function of the liver (like HCV), will stop this from occurring. Jaundice is a sign that excessive bilirubin accumulates in your blood.
People suffering from jaundice also typically experience extreme itchy skin, but experts aren’t sure of the reason as per a recent study published in the journal eLife.6
Hepatitis C can trigger a variety of GI problems, such as nausea, loss of appetite nausea, and even vomiting. According to CDC. It can also cause stomach discomfort and swelling.1
When fluid accumulates within the abdomen, it is known as ascites, says MedlinePlus. This type of problem is more frequent for those suffering from chronic liver disease. C infections.7
Changes to Urine and Stool
Your stool and urine can change when you suffer from HCV. Both your stool and urine may change if you have. Urine can appear dark, while your stool might become lighter or appear like an ethereal clay.
The changes occur for the same reason as jaundice causes: an over amount of bilirubin found in your bloodstream, as per researchers at the University of Rochester Medical Center.8
It is reported that the American College of Rheumatology states that joint pain, as well as rheumatic or arthritis, is a typical sign of hepatitis C due to the body’s efforts to combat and eliminate the virus and increase your immune response.9
Infections with acute hepatitis C cause inflammation in the liver however, the damage is only triggered when the infection continues or is untreated for the course of a long period according to the Hepatitis C Trust. Typically the scarring of the liver is seen between 10 to 20 years after the infection and it is believed that the scarring leads to cirrhosis in the liver.10
Cirrhosis is when your liver becomes forever damaged and scarred it is not functioning. It can cause liver failure.11
Cancer of the liver is also more common in people who have hepatitis C. In fact, it’s by far the most frequent cause of liver cancer as to the University of Texas MD Anderson Center.12
When to See a Health Care Provider
If you’re experiencing signs of Hepatitis C and especially when you’re at risk of contracting the disease It is important to visit an expert in health to be diagnosed and treated promptly.
The diagnosis of hepatitis C typically requires a physical examination and blood tests. It could also involve imaging tests, such as ultrasound, or even a liver biopsy, according to NYU Langone Health.13
If you’ve received a medical diagnosis for hepatitis C the U.S. DVA says it is important to consult with an expert in case you exhibit some of the symptoms listed below.
- Breathing shortness or chest pain
- Vision shifts
- Extreme fatigue
- Edema and swelling on the legs
- Indications of illness, such as diarrhea or fever, that lasts longer than two days
Hepatitis C infection can lead to liver inflammation and, eventually liver damage if it is not treated. The symptoms include unusually high symptoms like fatigue or fever, swelling of the eyes, or skin pale stool. Dark urine or joint pain could indicate the presence of HCV.
But those who have recently been infected may not show any symptoms or experience just mildly sick. In the same way, chronic infections may last for years with no warning signs and symptoms, until the signs manifest. This is why health professionals suggest testing anyone who is at a high risk of contracting the hepatitis C infection.
The earlier the infection is discovered the earlier it is detected, and the more effective. According to CDC, the treatment is able to cure the condition. It may even stop further liver damage and cancer of the liver in those who have suffered.