How Hepatitis C Affects Your Liver

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Hepatitis C is a contagious liver disease caused by the hepatitis C virus, or HCV. In some cases, the virus causes a long lasting infection.

When that happens, inflammation from the infection slowly damages or liver over time. Healthy liver cells die, and are replaced with scarring called cirrhosis. As the scar tissue grows, your liver has less healthy tissue. This makes it hard for your liver to clean your blood, help with digestion, and store energy your body needs.

Damage to the liver can cause heavy bleeding, swelling, and breathing problems. Cirrhosis also makes it more likely that you will get infections. And it can raise your odds of getting liver cancer.

If left untreated, the scar tissue grows until your liver can't work the way it should. At this stage, liver failure can happen. For more information about treatments that can help, talk to your doctor.