There are two phases of
hepatitis C. The first form is called acutehepatitis C. It means that you recently became
infected with the virus. The second form is called chronichepatitis C. It which means that you have had an
infection for more than 6 months.
Right after you are infected with
hepatitis C, you enter the acute
stage. Some people fight off the virus
and never have any liver problems. But up to 85% of people who are
infected will go on to have chronic hepatitis
Most people have no symptoms
right after they have been infected with hepatitis C. Your symptoms may be
the flu. Since any symptoms are likely to go away in a
few weeks, you may not know you have hepatitis C for a long time.
If you have an obvious symptom of hepatitis C, such as
jaundice, or if you know you have been exposed to the
blood of someone who has hepatitis C, you should be
tested for hepatitis C virus infection.
Long-term hepatitis C
often causes tiny scars in your liver. If you have a lot
of these scars, it becomes hard for your liver to work well. About 25% of
people who develop chronic hepatitis C eventually have more serious liver
problems such as
cirrhosis or liver cancer, usually over a period of 20
or more years.3
Certain things may help
predict your risk for severe liver damage, such as how much alcohol you drink and the age when you were infected.
If the infection becomes
so severe that your liver can no longer function (end-stage liver failure),
liver transplant may be the only way to extend your