What is hepatitis C?
Hepatitis C is a liver disease caused by the hepatitis C virus. The virus attacks the liver. It can cause inflammation of the liver and lead to liver damage, cirrhosis and cancer. You can live with hepatitis C for decades without feeling sick or experiencing any symptoms even though the virus is injuring your liver. The only way to know if you have hepatitis C is by taking a blood test.
HOW DO YOU GET HEPATITIS C?
You get hepatitis C by coming into contact with blood infected with the hepatitis C virus or through infected bodily fluids, such as semen and vaginal fluid.
If you received a blood transfusion or blood products in Canada between January 1, 1986 and July 1, 1990, you may have received the hepatitis C virus.
WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS OF HEPATITIS C?
Most people who are infected with the hepatitis C virus do not experience any symptoms for many years. For this reason, many people do not even know they are infected.
Only about 1 in 3 people experience some symptoms during acute infection. These symptoms often go away after a short period of time. The most common symptoms are:
It can take years for symptoms to develop even though hepatitis C is progressing to a chronic stage. Symptoms of advanced liver disease include:
People with chronic hepatitis C may also experience these symptoms: