Chronic hepatitis C is a long-lasting liver infection caused by the hepatitis C virus. During the first 6 months of the infection, it's called acute hepatitis. For most people with acute hepatitis C -- up to 80% -- their illness moves on to a chronic, lasting hepatitis C infection.
condition in which the skin and the whites of the eyes look yellow.
A hepatitis C infection can cause damage to your liver (cirrhosis). If you develop cirrhosis, you may
Redness on the palms of your hands caused by
expanded small blood vessels.
Clusters of blood vessels just below
the skin that look like tiny red spiders and usually appear on your chest,
shoulders, and face.
Swelling of your belly, legs, and
Shrinking of the muscles.
Bleeding from enlarged veins in your digestive tract, which is
called variceal bleeding.
Damage to your brain
and nervous system, which is called encephalopathy. This damage can cause
symptoms such as confusion and memory and concentration problems.
Many other health problems are linked with long-term
cirrhosis. For more information, see the topic
Cirrhosis. There also are many
other conditions with similar symptoms, such as other liver infections and liver damage caused by drinking too much alcohol.
Contagious and incubation periods
period—the time it takes for symptoms to appear after the hepatitis C virus
has entered your body—is from 2 weeks to 6 months. But not all people have symptoms when they are first infected.
You can spread the virus to someone else at any time after you are infected, even if you don't have symptoms.
WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise
August 15, 2013
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