Hepatitis C is quite an unusual disease, because it's possible to have without even knowing you do. It can take years before any obvious symptoms appear. And yet in other people, symptoms became obvious within six to eight months. For people with acute Hepatitis C, dark urine, nausea and overwhelming tiredness are the first symptoms to usually appear. Around twenty five percent of people who suffer from acute Hepatitis C will recover once they've received treatment. The other seventy five percent, however, will end up with a permanent condition known as chronic Hepatitis C.
One of the most difficult aspects of chronic Hepatitis C is that no type people seem to experience the same progress of the condition. Many people have this type of infection without suffering any ill effects at all. It can remain inactive in their system for years, often as many as ten years, before any symptoms begin to surface. No obvious signs of liver damage will occur when the disease is dormant. It's possible the sufferer will only discover he or she has Hepatitis C when blood work is done for some absolutely different reason.
Others, however, have unmistakable symptoms. They often feel tired all the time, find the idea of food unappetizing and suffer from dirrhea. Often their urine is far too dark and yet their stools are very light. The patient often has a low-grade fever on an ongoing basis. Other possible symptoms include:
Someone suffering from these sorts of symptoms may have liver enzymes that are twenty times higher than the normal levels.
Long term, one of the most debilitating results of chronic hepatitis C is liver damage, usually in the form of cirrhosis of the liver. This disease scars the liver irreparably, and normal liver function is affected. However this complication takes time to develop, often as long as ten or twenty years from when the Hepatitis C was contracted. Around five percent of these patients do develop liver cancer, but this may take anywhere from twenty to forty years. It's quite common for people with cirrhosis of the liver to develop liver cancer, with the time frame usually being around seventeen years.
Hepatitis C is responsible for most of the liver transplants manufactured each year. Around one thousand live transplants a year are connected for this reason in the United States. It also causes around ten thousand deaths every year. Research has been undertaken for many years, but at this time there is still no cure for Hepatitis C, or an effective vaccine. One of the big problems with Hepatitis C is that the infection regularly mutates, so it's impossible for any one vaccine to keep up with it. Prevention is about the only way to avoid contracting the Hepatitis C virus.