damage caused by chronic
hepatitis C usually takes 20 or more years to develop.
If your hepatitis C continues to get worse, it can
cause your liver to stop working, a condition called end-stage liver failure.
In this case, a
liver transplant may be the only way to extend your
life. But if you are drinking alcohol, are sharing needles to inject drugs, or
depression or certain other mental illnesses, liver
transplant may not be an option.
Most people with chronic
hepatitis C will not die from the disease. But 1 to 5 out of 100 people with
severe liver damage from chronic
hepatitis C will die because of the virus.4 Even if a liver transplant is done as a last possible
treatment, there can be complications that lead to death. For more information
about decisions to help prepare for death and dying, see the topic
Care at the End of Life.
What to think about
There is no vaccine for hepatitis C, but there are vaccines for
hepatitis A and
hepatitis B. Your doctor may recommend that you have
these vaccines to help protect you from more liver problems.
Researchers are working
to develop other treatments, including gene therapy and medicines that help
control the immune system.