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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.

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Protecting Others From Hepatitis C

If you've just been diagnosed with hepatitis C, you may worry about passing on the virus to a loved one. If you've had the disease for a long time without knowing it, you may dwell on every little incident in the past where you might have accidentally exposed a family member to the disease. "Worrying about passing on the disease is pretty common," says Alan Franciscus, executive director of the Hepatitis C Support Project in San Francisco. "I see a lot of people who are HCV-positive who are more...

Read the Protecting Others From Hepatitis C 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:

When Cirrhosis Gets Worse

WebMD Medical Reference

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

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