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:

  • Fever

  • Fatigue

  • Joint pain
  • Dark urine

  • Light stools

  • Abdominal pains
  • Loss of appetite

  • Nausea and vomiting

  • Jaundice (yellowing of the skin and eyes)

It can take years for symptoms to develop even though hepatitis C is progressing to a chronic stage. Symptoms of advanced liver disease include:

  • Jaundice

  • Ascites (swelling in the abdomen)
  • Blood in stool

  • Light stools

  • Blood in vomit

People with chronic hepatitis C may also experience these symptoms:

  • Sleep disturbances

  • Depression

  • Weight loss
  • Dry or itchy skin

  • Brain “fog”

You should see your doctor and get tested if you think you may be infected or have any concerns about your health.

For more detailed information about

hepatitis C visit CATIE : An In-Depth Guide

 

FOR FURTHER DETAILS, VISIT HEPC8690.CA

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