Hepatitis C is a silent disease. The virus, which attacks the liver, often comes with no symptoms. In fact, many do not realize that they are infected until the liver begins to show damage due to inflammation. This damage can take decades to show up and may only be caught during a routine medical test.
This is believed to be the most serious of the hepatitis viruses and is often contracted through the sharing of infected needles among illegal drug users. Everyone should be aware of hepatitis c signs and symptoms so you can be tested if any appear.
During the early stages of infection, hepatitis c signs and symptoms are usually not present. If symptoms do appear, they will most likely show up as mild fever, loss of appetite, fatigue, abdominal pain, nausea and vomiting, or muscle and joint aches. Other signs of a hepatitis C infection include dark urine, generalized itching, an altered mental state, light colored stools, and jaundice. If any of these symptoms appear, it is best to see a doctor to rule this infection out.
Although the hepatitis c signs and symptoms often resemble those of the flu, you should be seen by a medical professional if they persist. Furthermore, if a family member or friend is diagnosed with hepatitis C, you should be tested as you may have become infected also. When the disease is not caught early, serious complications can occur.
As the disease progresses, you may develop cirrhosis of the liver. With this complication, the liver becomes severely damaged and scarred. This usually takes twenty years or more. If you do develop cirrhosis of the liver, you may notice:
- Swelling in the abdominal area, feet, and legs
- Varicella bleeding or bleeding of the veins in the digestive tract as they become enlarged
- The palms of the hands become red as small blood vessels in this area expand
- Muscle shrinking
- Confusion, lack of concentration, and memory problems caused by encephalopathy
- Blood vessels under the skin take on the appearance of small spiders which are red. These are usually found on the face, shoulders, and chest.
Hepatitis C is not a disease that should be taken lightly. If you notice any hepatitis C signs and symptoms, make an appointment with a medical professional. If it is suspected that you have contracted this virus a hepatitis C virus test which will determine which treatment is recommended. Don't become alarmed before you have a diagnosis though. It may just be a simple case of the flu.
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