Common Questions Patients Ask About Hepatitis C

By

Shikha Chacko, MD   

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Doctor talking with patient

Hepatitis C is a virus that causes liver damage. It starts as an acute infection most people do not notice. It can then lead to chronic infection, which slowly over time will create liver problems—from mild inflammation to scarring of the liver to cirrhosis (liver failure).  In some instances, chronic hepatitis C can cause hepatocellular carcinoma, a form of liver cancer. 

I dont have symptoms. Could I really have hepatitis C?

This is the main concern my patients have about chronic hepatitis C. Most people do not realize they have it because they have no symptoms. Some people find out because their liver tests on blood work have mild abnormalities. Some people find out in the advanced stages, when symptoms of cirrhosis occur. These symptoms include generalized fatigue and tiredness, jaundice, and/or abnormal accumulation of fluid in your legs (edema) or in your abdomen (ascites).  Like most diseases, the sooner you’re diagnosed with hepatitis C, the better treatment will work for you.

In the last few years, a lot has changed in the way we treat hepatitis C. Do you know all the facts?

Medical Reviewer: William C. Lloyd III, MD, FACS Last Review Date: Oct 23, 2015