What are the Signs and Symptoms of Hepatitis C?
There are two types of Hepatitis C – acute (brief and severe) and chronic (having long duration). Individuals with acute Hepatitis C usually do not manifest symptoms and the small percentage that do (25 to 35 percent) will experience symptoms similar to the other cases of acute hepatitis, including flu-like symptoms, joint aches or mild skin rash. Individuals that are particularly likely to experience a severe course of Hepatitis C are those individuals that already have Hepatitis B and become infected with acute Hepatitis C.
Other symptoms which may be experienced by individuals with acute Hepatitis C are:
- Loss of appetite
- Abdominal pain
- Dark urine
- Grey colored stool
- Jaundice (yellowing of the skin and whites of the eyes)
As is the case for acute Hepatitis C, most people who have chronic Hepatitis C do not experience symptoms in the early stages or even in the advanced stages of the disease. Therefore, it is not uncommon to find out, by surprise, that one has the virus when donating blood or during a routine blood examination. It is possible to have Hepatitis C for many years and not know it which is the reason why the disease has been referred to as a silent killer.
If symptoms do occur, they will most likely exhibit as:
- Pain and tenderness in the area of the liver
- Joint and muscle pain
- Decreased appetite
- Weight loss
- Jaundice (yellowing of the skin and whites of the eyes)
In those persons who do develop symptoms, the average time period from exposure to symptom onset is 4–12 weeks (range: 2–24 weeks).
Chronic Hepatitis C may cause signs and symptoms which manifest in other organs beside the liver as the result of the immune system’s effort to fight off the Hepatitis C infection. In some cases of Hepatitis C, the kidneys can be damaged because of a condition known as cryoglobulinemia.
Cryoglobulinemia is the presence of abnormal proteins in the blood called cryoglobulins. Cryoglobulins is a term for proteins in the blood that become solid at low temperatures. When cryoblobulins thicken or become gel-like, they block blood vessels throughout the body which may lead to complications ranging from skin rashes to kidney failure.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention “Hepatitis C, FAQs for Health Professionals” http://www.cdc.gov/hepatitis/HCV/HCVfaq.htm#section1 Retrieved October 28, 2011
HCV Advocate “A Guide to Hepatitis C Treatment Side Effect Management” http://www.hcvadvocate.org/hepatitis/factsheets_pdf/Treatment_Side_effect_Guide.pdf Retrieved October 28, 2011
Hepatitis-Central.com “Hepatitis C Progress Hampered by Re-Infection and Superinfection” http://www.hepatitis-central.com/mt/archives/2009/05/hepatitis_c_pro_1.html Retrieved October 28, 2011
HIVand Hepatitis.com “Telaprevir Plus Standard Therapy Can Produce Hepatitis C Cure in Less Time” http://www.hivandhepatitis.com/hepatitis-c/hepatitis-c-topics/hcv-treatment/3235-telaprevir-plus-standard-therapy-can-produce-hepatitis-c-cure-in-less-time Retrieved October 28, 2011
Journal of General Virology “Hepatitis C virus superinfection of liver grafts: a detailed analysis of early exclusion of non-dominant virus strains” http://vir.sgmjournals.org/content/91/5/1183.short Retrieved October 28, 2011
Massage Today “What is Massage?” http://www.massagetoday.com/aboutmt/ Retrieved October 28, 2011
Mayo Clinic “Hepatitis C” http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/hepatitis-c/DS00097 Retrieved October 28, 2011
National Institutes of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases “What I Need to Know About Hepatitis C” http://digestive.niddk.nih.gov/ddiseases/pubs/hepc_ez/ Retrieved October 28, 2011
Official Journal of the International Aids Society “Sexually Transmitted Hepatitis C Virus Superinfection in HIV/Hepatitis C Virus co-infected men Who Have Sex With Men” http://journals.lww.com/aidsonline/fulltext/2008/03120/sexually_transmitted_hepatitis_c_virus.16.aspx Retrieved October 28, 2011
U.S. National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health “Hepatoprotective Properties of Silymarin” http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21560654 Retrieved October 28, 2011
U.S. National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health “Milk Thistle in Liver Diseases: Past, Present, Future” http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed?term=Milk%20thistle%20in%20liver%20diseases%20past%2C%20present%20and%20future Retrieved October 28, 2011
U.S. National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health “Multiple effects of silymarin on the hepatitis C virus lifecycle” http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed?term=multiple%20effects%20of%20silymarin%20on%20the%20hepatitis%20c%20virus%20lifecycle Retrieved October 28, 2011
U.S. National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health “Silybin and the Liver: from basic research to clinical practice” http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed?term=Silybin%20and%20the%20liver%3A%20from%20basic%20research%20to%20clinical%20practice Retrieved October 28, 2011
Vertex Pharmaceuticals "Medication Guide - Incivek™" http://pi.vrtx.com/files/usmedguide_telaprevir.pdf. Retrieved October 23, 2011.
Merck "Medication Guide - Victrelis™" http://www.merck.com/product/usa/pi_circulars/v/victrelis/victrelis_mg.pdf. Retrieved October 18, 2011.
WebMD “Hepatitis Health Center, Hepatitis C” http://www.webmd.com/hepatitis/hepc-guide/default.htm Retrieved October 28, 2011
World Health Organization “Hepatitis C” http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs164/en/ Retrieved October 28, 2011
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