Hepatitis C (HCV): Symptoms & Signs

  • Medical Author:
    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD

    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD, is a U.S. board-certified Anatomic Pathologist with subspecialty training in the fields of Experimental and Molecular Pathology. Dr. Stöppler's educational background includes a BA with Highest Distinction from the University of Virginia and an MD from the University of North Carolina. She completed residency training in Anatomic Pathology at Georgetown University followed by subspecialty fellowship training in molecular diagnostics and experimental pathology.

Most people do not have symptoms when they acquire the hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection, and about one-fourth of those infected will have symptoms like

Other symptoms can include

Those who develop a chronic condition have persistent inflammation of the liver that leads to liver damage that may include scarring (cirrhosis), causing symptoms like

  • jaundice (yellowing of the skin or the whites of the eyes),
  • weakness,
  • weight loss,
  • problems with blood clotting,
  • spider-like blood vessels seen on the skin, and
  • breast enlargement in men.

Other possible symptoms of chronic HCV disease are

  • a rash on the palms,
  • fluid in the abdominal cavity (ascites),
  • bleeding problems,
  • confusion, and
  • even coma due to the buildup of toxic substances that impair brain function.

Causes of hepatitis C

Hepatitis C is caused by an infection with the hepatitis C virus (HCV).

REFERENCES:

Dhawan, Vinod K. "Hepatitis C." Medscape.com. Mar. 28, 2016. <http://emedicine.medscape.com/article/177792-overview>.

Kasper, D.L., et al., eds. Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine, 19th Ed. United States: McGraw-Hill Education, 2015.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 5/16/2017

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