Hepatitis C

Hepatitis C is a contagious liver disease, most often spread through contact with blood infected with the Hepatitis C virus. The virus can also be passed on through childbirth or unprotected sex.

Many people with Hepatitis C may not even realize they are infected since symptoms can remain hidden for years. Sometimes Hepatitis C is present and symptoms never develop; in this case, a diagnosis is often made when an individual is found to have abnormal blood tests during routine testing. Symptoms may include fatigue, fever, nausea, dark yellow urine, jaundice (yellowing of the skin) and muscle pain. Severity of the disease varies greatly from person to person, from a mild version that lasts just a few weeks to a serious case that can last a lifetime, leading to liver cancer or scarring. The most serious cases can cause liver failure and may require a liver transplant.

It is important to see your doctor if you think you may have Hepatitis C since early diagnosis and treatment can help prevent permanent liver damage. The liver is needed to remove harmful chemicals, digest food and fight infection.