A maximum number of people, approximately 70 to 80 percent, who are suffering from acute hepatitis C infection, do not perceive symptoms of hepatitis C. Due to this reason, it is very tough to know about the illness at an early stage. Usually, the warning signs of this disease occur within 14days to 180 days after being infected by the hepatitis C virus (HCV). The hepatitis C symptoms are usually quite mild and are flu-like.
Hepatitis may happen due to infection, toxins, medication as well as auto-immune processes. But the underlying and common cause is the hepatitis virus, particularly hepatitis A, B and C. Among these three hepatitis viruses, the most serious is the hepatitis C virus. Read on to know about the hepatitis C patients usually have –
- Sore muscles
- Joint pain
- Itchy skin
- Stomach ache
- Poor appetite
- Dark urine
- Discoloration of skin and white portion of the eyes
Experts state that most of the people who suffer from acute hepatitis C may suffer from chronic hepatitis C too. It happens only if the virus stays inside the infected person’s body for a duration of more than six months and still do not show any symptoms. Acute hepatitis C is left in an undiagnosed condition as it is not sure whether you will observe the symptoms or not. When various signs and signals of hepatitis are apparent, the list may also include jaundice, fever as well as severe muscle ache.
If you are infected for a long-term with HCV, then that infection is termed as chronic hepatitis C. The chronic stage of this disease is actually a silent infection for many years. It continues to exist till the HCV completely damages your liver, resulting in the warning signs of a liver disease. Few of those symptoms and signs are-
- Frequent bleeding
- Swelling of legs
- Weight loss
- Bruising easily
- Spider angioma
- Drowsiness and confusion
- Slurred speech
- Abnormalities in bowel movement
Now that you are aware of the common symptoms, hepatitis C, bring it should not sound strange to you anymore. However, you must also know about the associated risk factors of this disease.
Your risk of getting infected with HCV will increase if you experience any of the below-mentioned points.
- If you have HIV
- If you ever experienced unprotected sex with multiple numbers of partners
- If you still possess or had any disease that is transmitted sexually
- If you had any body piercings or tattoos using non-sterilized tools and that too in a dirty environment
- If you ever inhaled or injected illicit drugs
- If you went through an organ transplant or blood transfusion before the year 1992
- If you are born to a mother who possessed this infection
- If you ever received long-term hemodialysis treatments
- If you were ever in prison (although this factor may sound weird to you)
It is not mandatory that if you ever experienced any of the factors mentioned above, then you will suffer from hepatitis C. It merely means that there is a faint chance that you might get infected by HCV and start showing symptoms, hepatitis C affected patients usually display.
Various complications also arise if hepatitis C infection continues for many long years. Have a look at some of the significant complications.
If a person is suffering due to this infection for a prolonged period of 20to 30years, then it may result in scarring of the liver, which is better known as cirrhosis. The liver then starts facing difficulty in functioning properly.
- Liver cancer
Another complication which may occur due to undiagnosed hepatitis C infection for many years is liver cancer. A few number of infected people may also suffer from liver cancer.
- Liver failure
Your liver may cease to function due to advanced scarring of the liver.
Proper diagnosis may help you to get easily cured of this fatal infection. It is true that unless and until you get to see any of the mentioned symptoms, it is not at all possible for you to understand whether HCV is infecting you or not. Hence it is always advisable to consult a physician whenever you are sick. If the doctor suspects symptoms, hepatitis C patients possess, he would recommend a blood test. For further confirmation, you might have to undergo liver biopsy and if diagnosed with hepatitis C, follow the doctor’s advice correctly to get back to normalcy soon.