Find Information About:

Drugs & Supplements

Get information and reviews on prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and supplements. Search by name or medical condition.

Pill Identifier

Pill Identifier

Having trouble identifying your pills?

Enter the shape, color, or imprint of your prescription or OTC drug. Our pill identification tool will display pictures that you can compare to your pill.

Get Started

My Medicine

Save your medicine, check interactions, sign up for FDA alerts, create family profiles and more.

Get Started

WebMD Health Experts and Community

Talk to health experts and other people like you in WebMD's Communities. It's a safe forum where you can create or participate in support groups and discussions about health topics that interest you.

  • Second Opinion

    Second Opinion

    Read expert perspectives on popular health topics.

  • Community


    Connect with people like you, and get expert guidance on living a healthy life.

Got a health question? Get answers provided by leading organizations, doctors, and experts.

Get Answers

Sign up to receive WebMD's award-winning content delivered to your inbox.

Sign Up

Hepatitis Health Center

Font Size

Natalie Cole's Hepatitis C: FAQ

Questions and Answers About Natalie Cole's Hepatitis C and 'Chemotherapy'

How common is hepatitis C?

The CDC estimates that 3.2 million people in the U.S have chronic hepatitis C infection, a long-term illness that happens when the virus remains in a person's body. Most of those people don't know that they have it because they don't look or feel sick, the CDC's web site states.

An estimated 19,000 people in the U.S. have acute hepatitis C infection, which is a short-term illness that happens within six months of being exposed to the hepatitis C virus.

Does hepatitis C make you sick right away?

Not usually. Natalie Cole told Entertainment Tonight that the hepatitis C virus had been "dormant" in her body for 25 years. And that's not rare.

"Patients can be without symptoms and even with normal liver tests for 25 or 30 years. That's very common, in fact," Bruce R. Bacon, MD, director of the division of gastroenterology and hepatology at St. Louis University School of Medicine, tells WebMD.

Bacon, who isn't treating Cole, prefers the word "inactive" rather than "dormant" to describe the virus when it's not causing obvious symptoms.

What are the symptoms of hepatitis C?

Hepatitis C usually doesn't cause any symptoms. But when symptoms occur, the CDC says they may include:

"The most common symptom is probably no symptoms. But the next most common symptom would be fatigue. People just feel tired and worn out," says Bacon.

How is hepatitis C diagnosed?

Hepatitis C is diagnosed by a blood test.

If you have any risk factors for hepatitis C, get tested, and if you find out you have hepatitis C, see a specialist, Bacon suggests.

Don't let stigma about drug use or other risk factors stand in your way. "We just need to move beyond that and find out what's going on," says Bacon.

Today on WebMD

Hepatitus C virus
Types, symptoms and treatments.
liver illustration
Myths and facts about this essential organ.
woman eating apple
What you need to know.
doctor and patient
What causes it?
Hepatitis C Treatment
Syringes and graph illustration
liver illustration
passport, pills and vaccine
Scientist looking in microscope
Fatty Liver Disease
Digestive Diseases Liver Transplantation
Picture Of The Liver
Image Collection