Hepatitis C is an infection of the liver. It's caused by the hepatitis C virus. About 3.2 million people in the U.S. have the disease, but because the virus causes so few symptoms, most of them don't know they have it.
There are many types of hepatitis C virus. The most common in the U.S. is type 1. No type is more serious than any other, but they respond differently to treatment.
Many people with hepatitis go undiagnosed, because the disease is mistaken for the flu or because there are no symptoms at all. The most common symptoms of hepatitis are:
Loss of appetite
Muscle or joint aches
Nausea and vomiting
Less common symptoms include:
Jaundice (yellowing of the skin and whites of the eyes)
Altered mental state, ...
You can get a blood test to see if you have the hepatitis C virus.
Are There Any Long-Term Effects of Hepatitis C?
Yes. In people who have hepatitis C, 75% to 85% may develop a long-term infection. Hepatitis C is one of the top reasons that people need a liver transplant.
What's the Treatment for Hepatitis C?
Hepatitis C treatments have changed a lot in recent years. The latest is a once-daily pill called Harvoni that cures the disease in most people in 8-12 weeks. It combines two drugs: Sovaldi (sofosbuvir) and ledipasvir. In clinical trials, the most common side effects were fatigue and headache.