Hepatitis C is an illness that causes the liver to inflammate and damages it in time. It is caused by viruses that are transmitted from blood to blood contact with an infected person, and it affects millions of people all over the world. Some of the hepatitis C infections are not dangerous, but many of them can turn into chronic hepatitis which can be deadly.
When people get infected with the hepatitis C virus they enter the acute hepatitis phase. Acute hepatitis lasts for 6 months and while in this phase the virus is “hibernating” and it’s not causing any trouble. In most cases it does not show any signs or symptoms but a small number of people have experienced jaundice, abdominal pain, a state of fatigue and weakness and a decrease in the appetite.
In 20% of the cases the body eliminates the hepatitis C virus in these first 6 months, and the patient is cured. But in most cases the virus is still present after 6 months, becomes active, and acute hepatitis C turns into chronic hepatitis C.
Chronic hepatitis C is tricky because it has almost no symptoms and for this reason it can’t be discovered until it’s too late. Even the jaundice that appears during the acute phase is usually gone. In many cases it’s discovered accidentally while routine tests are performed on the patient.
However symptoms do occur when serious damage is done to the liver and it does not function properly. The most common signs that appear at most people are fever and other flu-like symptoms, headache, decrease in appetite, fatigue, abdominal, joint and bone pain.
Other known symptoms that have been encountered in many hepatitis C infections are: blurred vision, dizziness, depression, mood swings and anxiety , dry skin, indigestion, sweating and sometimes weight loss.
The symptoms vary widely from one patient to another so don’t jump to any conclusion until you have been examined by a doctor.
Remember that hepatitis C irreversibly damages your liver even if you don’t experience any symptoms. If it is left untreated your life may end up depending on a liver transplant, and there are too many that need liver transplants and too few donors, so it’s best to consult a doctor if you suspect that you are infected or if you shared needles or had sex with someone that may be infected.