Hepatitis C communicable disease spreads through contact with the blood of an individual with hepatitis C virus. Also referred to as the silent virus since most affected people don’t show symptoms. Usually, hepatitis C can take up to six months before showing symptoms after infection, with 70 to 80% of persons with acute hepatitis C not showing any symptom at all.
Symptoms of Hepatitis C
Here are some symptoms of hepatitis C:
Unusual Abdominal Pain
Hepatitis C attacks the liver, an internal organ found in the upper right of an individual’s abdomen. Though abdominal pain can be caused by other conditions such as problems of the pancreas or gallstones, chronic liver issues such as liver disease or cancer can cause unusual abdominal pain. If you experience any abdominal pain, don’t ignore it. Ensure to consult your doctor for further assessment.
Weight Loss Maybe a Hepatitis B Symptom
If you’re experiencing weight loss without trying, hepatitis C could be the reason. Hepatitis C causes a chronic infection leading to liver scarring known as cirrhosis. Once you have cirrhosis, it gets difficult to maintain the required nutrition due to loss of appetite, digestion problems, frequent vomiting, and the secretion of hormones. As a result, you may experience weight loss since your body breaks down important tissue.
Loss of Appetite
If you experience a loss of appetite, don’t panic since it might not be due to something serious. However, you should seek your doctor’s advice since something serious such as hepatitis C might be the reason behind your loss of appetite. When hepatitis C progresses, the liver dysfunctions, causing fluid buildup in the abdomen known as ascites. As a result, you tend to feel full, and your belly may appear swollen. This symptom could indicate that hepatitis C has advanced, leading to a serious type of liver disease.
If you get full quickly and experience a bloated stomach, call your doctor to book an appointment.
Jaundice is a Common Symptom of Hepatitis C
Jaundice is a yellow tint on the skin or eyes. This is a health issue indicating a sort of liver disease. If you experience jaundice accompanied by fatigue, muscle aches, and fever, it might be symptoms of an acute case of hepatitis C.
The liver absorbs, transports, and stores iron. If the liver is damaged, these processes are interrupted, and you become iron deficient.
Common symptoms of anemia in persons with damaged liver include:
- Brittle nails
- Tongue swelling
- Tingling legs
Itchy and Blotchy Skin
Though 20% of individuals with hepatitis C report itchy skin, it’s important to know that pruritus is also common in persons developing later-stage cirrhosis or liver disease.
If your feet, hands, or whole body is extremely itchy, consult your doctor immediately.
A common symptom of hepatitis C is your body retaining fluids. Swelling or edema occurs when fluids build up in the legs, feet, and ankles tissues. If you have hepatitis C, you might experience puffy, dimpled, and shiny legs.
In persons with edema, a doctor may prescribe a water pill or diuretic to get rid of unwanted fluids from your system.
Easy Bruising and Bleeding
Hepatitis C infection causes easy bruising or bleeding without much provocation. However, it might take a long time to experience such symptoms. Therefore, it’s important to seek medical help as soon as possible once you experience this symptom.
What Causes Hepatitis C
Hepatitis C is an infection of the liver caused by the hepatitis C Virus and is spread when an individual comes in contact with the blood of a person with the virus. Most people are infected due to sharing needles or syringes. In some cases, hepatitis C is a short-term illness, but half of the people with hepatitis C experience it as a long-term, chronic infection.
Chronic hepatitis C may lead to serious and life-threatening conditions like liver cancer and cirrhosis. Individuals with chronic hepatitis C may not show any symptoms or fall sick. As symptoms begin to show, they indicate advanced liver disease. While there’s no vaccine for hepatitis C, there are ways to prevent themselves from acquiring this disease. They include:
- Avoid sharing needles: Persons who share needles, such as people who inject drugs, are at high risk of contracting hepatitis. To stay clear of the hepatitis C-causing virus, avoid sharing needles and other sharp objects that may be exposed to disease-causing bacteria.
- Don’t share personal tools: Personal items such as razor blades and toothbrushes are likely to get into contact with the owner’s blood through cuts and bleeding gums. If these items are shared between an infected person and a non-infected person, the virus will be spread. To avoid such issues, ensure to avoid sharing personal items.
- Avoid blood to blood exposure: Health workers are urged to avoid contact with blood. Ensure you have protective gloves on while handling objects exposed to blood to avoid the spread of the hepatitis C virus.
Most people are exposed to hepatitis C causing bacteria to develop acute hepatitis C without knowing. This is because most people never show symptoms, and if they do, the symptoms aren’t associated with hepatitis. This leads to these individuals developing hepatitis C later on. Without proper treatment, these individuals will likely develop serious liver problems such as liver cancer and cirrhosis.
If you think you might be exposed to hepatitis C or are at high risk of contracting the virus, you might need to be alert for the above symptoms.