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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.

Early Stages

The disease is called acute when you first get it. The symptoms are similar to those of the flu. They may include:

Chronic Hepatitis

If you don’t get diagnosed and treated, you could have the disease for years and not know it. Doctors call this the chronic form, because it lasts a long time. Some people who've had it for a while get liver cancer.

Signs that your liver isn’t working like it should include:

  • Dark yellow urine
  • Yellowish eyes and skin

Cirrhosis

You could get scarring of the liver, called cirrhosis, after you’ve had hepatitis C for 20 or 30 years. If you have it you might:

  • Retain water
  • Bleed and bruise easily
  • Notice skin and eyes turning yellow with jaundice

When to See the Doctor

If you have symptoms of hepatitis C or think you may have been exposed to the virus, make an appointment to be tested.

The CDC suggests anyone born between 1945 and 1965 get checked.

WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by Melinda Ratini, DO, MS on March 20, 2015

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