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Hepatitis C Symptoms

Hepatitis C causes inflammation of the liver and is the most common chronic liver condition in the United States. According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), there were approximately 30,000 new cases of Hepatitis C in the U.S. in 2014. Unlike Hepatitis A and B, there is not a vaccine for Hepatitis C. While it is most commonly transmitted through blood transfusions, it can also be transmitted through the sharing of contaminated materials (such as syringes, needles, razors, or toothbrushes), from mother to child through childbirth, and, less frequently, through unprotected sexual contact. Hepatitis C is often asymptomatic and sometimes clears up without treatment.

Common Symptoms of Hepatitis C

While Hepatitis C does not always present symptoms, if symptoms are present, they occur within 6-7 weeks of exposure. Common symptoms include:

  • Fatigue, fever or other flu-like symptoms
  • Lack of appetite
  • Vomiting and/or nausea
  • Dark urine
  • Clay-colored bowel movements
  • Joint aches
  • Jaundice
  • Abdominal pain

Health Complications

Initial symptoms of Hepatitis C can persist in chronic cases. Furthermore, If left untreated, Hepatitis C can result in liver damage, cirrhosis, and is the leading reason for liver transplants in the United States. Because symptoms are unlikely, even in chronic cases of Hepatitis C, it is important to be tested if you think you may have been exposed to the virus. The CDC recommends that people born between 1945 and 1965, or those who received blood transfusions before 1992 be tested for Hepatitis C.

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Last updated on July 18th, 2016

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