8 Early Symptoms: Could You Have Hepatitis C?
March 1, 2016
Acute and Chronic Hepatitis C
Acute Hepatitis C develops several weeks after the Hepatitis C virus enters the bloodstream; it becomes chronic when the virus persists for longer than six months. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, approximately 75 to 85 percent of people who become infected with this virus develop a chronic infection. Treating acute Hepatitis C drastically reduces the risk of its progression to the chronic form, which can have potentially devastating consequences.
Chronic Hepatitis C can lead to serious scarring of the liver (cirrhosis), liver cancer and/or liver failure. The longer a person is infected with Hepatitis C, the more damage it can do to the liver. Unfortunately, the symptoms are either vague or non-existent, typically allowing the virus to flourish for years without detection. According to Camilla Graham, MD, infectious disease specialist at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and an assistant professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School in Boston, “It is called the ‘silent epidemic’ because people can be infected for 30 or more years and have no idea they have it.” Early detection and treatment (preferably when still acute) is the best way to prevent the more serious form of Hepatitis C infection.
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