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How Does Hepatitis C Affect Your Liver?

In most cases, you won't have symptoms of hepatitis C until your liver becomes really damaged. That can take a long time -- years or even decades.

If you have the disease for many years and don't get treatment, you may get cirrhosis. This is a condition that inflames and scars the liver.

Recommended Related to Hepatitis

Understanding Hepatitis C -- Symptoms

Hepatitis C is a sneaky virus. You may not have any symptoms at all. Most people don’t. Your doctor could check you liver and see only a little damage. You might not get diagnosed until he spots a problem with your liver enzymes after a routine blood test.

Read the Understanding Hepatitis C -- Symptoms article > >

Symptoms of Cirrhosis

In cirrhosis, scar tissue replaces healthy liver tissue. If this continues unchecked, scarring blocks blood flow through the organ. That makes it hard for it to do its many jobs:

  • Remove harmful toxins from your blood
  • Fight infection
  • Digest food and process nutrients, hormones, and drugs
  • Make proteins to control blood clotting
  • Store energy

When this happens, you may have symptoms such as:

  • Fatigue or weakness
  • Sore muscles
  • Fever
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Loss of appetite or weight loss
  • Dark-yellow urine
  • Light-colored stools
  • Joint pain

When Cirrhosis Gets Worse

WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by Arefa Cassoobhoy, MD, MPH on November 11, 2014

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