Hepatitis C Symptoms
Most people who contract hepatitis C (hep C) have no symptoms. However, those
that do have symptoms may experience:
- loss of appetite,
- muscle and joint pains.
- abdominal pain,
Quick GuideHepatitis C Pictures Slideshow: Transmission, Symptoms and Treatment
Hepatitis C infection (HCV) facts
- Hepatitis C is one of several viruses that cause hepatitis
(inflammation of the
- About 3.5 million people are estimated to be currently infected with
hepatitis C in the U.S.
- Up to 85% of individuals who are initially (acutely)
infected with hepatitis C will fail to eliminate the virus and will become
- Hepatitis C
is spread through exposure to infected blood. Intravenous
drug abuse with
the use of contaminated, shared needles is the most common mode of transmission.
- The risk of acquiring
hepatitis C through sexual contact or breastfeeding is very low.
people with chronic infection with hepatitis C have no symptoms until they have
extensive scarring of the liver (cirrhosis).
Some individuals, however, may have
fatigue and other
non-specific symptoms before this occurs.
- In the U.S., infection with hepatitis
C is the most common cause of chronic hepatitis and the most common reason for
- Much progress has been made in the treatment of hepatitis
C. The rate of cure has increased (above 90%-95%) with the development of
direct-acting, all-oral antiviral medications.
- Treatment results in reduced
inflammation and scarring of the liver in most patients who are cured of
hepatitis C and also occasionally (but to a much lesser extent) in those who
relapse or are not cured.
What is hepatitis C infection, and how many people are infected?
Hepatitis C infection is an infection of the liver caused by the hepatitis C
virus (also referred to as HCV). It is difficult for the human immune system to
eliminate hepatitis C from the body, and infection with hepatitis C usually
becomes chronic. Over decades, chronic infection with hepatitis C damages the
liver and can cause liver failure. In the U.S., the CDC has estimated that
approximately 29,718 new cases occurred in 2013. When the virus first enters the
body there usually are no symptoms, so this number is an estimate. Up to 85% of
newly-infected people fail to eliminate the virus and become chronically
infected. In the U.S., more than three million people are chronically infected
with hepatitis C. Infection is most commonly detected among people who are 40 to
60 years of age, reflecting the high rates of infection in the 1970s and 1980s.
There are 8,000 to 10,000 deaths each year in the U.S. related to hepatitis C
infection. Hepatitis C infection is the leading cause of liver transplantation
in the U.S. and is a risk factor for liver cancer.
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 4/12/2016