Symptoms of Hepatitis C
It is not possible for you to diagnose hepatitis C by yourself. Often there are no symptoms of hep C, or the symptoms are not obvious, but sometimes they do appear. Take a look at the list below. If you have any of these symptoms, or if you’re at risk for hep C, speak with your doctor. Based on your risk factors and any symptoms you may have, your doctor may want you to get tested for hep C.
The earlier hep C is diagnosed, the better. Hep C causes inflammation of the liver. This is important because an unhealthy liver can make you very sick.
The liver is located on the right-hand side of the abdomen. It is the largest internal organ and carries out many functions to help keep the body healthy. Major functions include processing nutrients from food and removing toxins from the blood. When your liver is damaged, it can be serious. When a person contracts hep C, the virus attacks the liver. Symptoms may first appear within 2 weeks to 5 months.
Sometimes these symptoms can be very mild or not appear at all. So it can be easy to think any symptoms are due to something less harmful than hep C, like a common cold. Also, some people may not go to a doctor because they lack health insurance or don’t think they can get time off from work. This can make it hard to get a hep C diagnosis and deal with a potentially harmful disease.
Often, symptoms of hep C don’t show. This can cause the virus to go undiagnosed. Hep C is considered a silent disease because people who have it may not have symptoms. Many people can live for years without knowing they have hep C. Symptoms of chronic hep C may take up to 30 years to develop.
CHRONIC HEP C SYMPTOMS MAY TAKE
30 YEARS TO DEVELOP.
Even though there may be no symptoms of hep C, a blood test can show if someone has the virus. As long as hep C is in the blood, it may damage the liver. If certain symptoms do appear, it is often a sign that serious liver damage already may have been done.
Hep C can attack and kill liver cells over time, making scar tissue through a process called fibrosis. It may happen slowly, but in time scar tissue may build up and the liver may harden. When this happens, blood may not flow through the organ like it is supposed to. This disease is called cirrhosis, and it may result in the liver not doing its job to keep the body healthy. Cirrhosis can also lead to liver cancer.
Some visible signs of cirrhosis that your doctor may look for include:
- Red palms
- Small, spider-like veins on your face or body
- Fluid in your abdomen (gut area)
If you think you may be experiencing the symptoms of hep C, speak with your doctor about how you’re feeling and ask if you should get a hep C test. Your doctor can help you find the hep C support you need. And even if you do not have hep C, it’s important to find out what is causing the symptoms you’re experiencing.
If you don’t have any symptoms, but know that you have risk factors for hep C exposure, talk to your doctor. Testing for hep C will help determine if you have the virus. Testing for hep C is available at a doctor’s office near you.