Up to 85% of people who are infected with the
hepatitis C virus will develop long-term (chronic)
infection.1 About 25% of people who have chronic
hepatitis C will go on to develop
cirrhosis—severe liver damage and scarring—after a
period of about 20 years or more.2
Certain factors may affect how quickly problems such as cirrhosis or
liver cancer develop.
How much liver damage you had when you were
diagnosed and how long you have had the infection. The amount of liver damage
you have compared with how long you have had hepatitis C can help determine how
likely it is that you will develop cirrhosis.
Your age when you
were infected. People who are older than 40 when they become infected may
develop cirrhosis more quickly.
How much alcohol you drink. People
who drink too much alcohol (heavy drinking) can develop cirrhosis
much more quickly than people with who do not drink or who drink very little
Your gender. Men may develop cirrhosis more quickly than
Whether you are
obese and/or have
diabetes. These conditions can contribute to the
development of cirrhosis.
Whether you have
HIV or another
immune system disorder. These conditions can speed up
the development of cirrhosis.
In this article
This information is produced and provided by the National
Institute (NCI). The information in this topic may have changed since it was written. For the most current information, contact the National
Institute via the Internet web site at http://
.gov or call 1-800-4-CANCER.
WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise
November 14, 2014
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor.
Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this