The hepatitis C virus attacks the liver causing it to swell. The damage this inflammation of the liver causes may not have any symptoms for a time. For a lot of people, realizing they have Hep C comes too late for them to be cured. You can ask for some tests from your doctor if you are worried you have been exposed to the virus at any time.
The doctor will test the liver function to see how many albumin proteins are in your blood. They will then test your bilirubin levels and finally, they will conduct a liver biopsy. This involves removing a small piece of the liver to check for signs of damage.
Hepatitis C does not tend to exhibit any symptoms apart from a pain in the right side of the abdomen. This pain comes from the liver. The other symptom of hep C is jaundice or the yellowing of the skin and whites of the eyes. This is a sign of liver failure. If your urine is the color of tea or cola and your stool is pale or gray in color it can be another symptom. You may also be vomiting a lot. This can lead to other issues including dehydration, weakness, and headache. Diarrhea is the final symptom which can lead to appetite loss and finally to weight loss.
Antiviral medications are one of two different treatment options for people with chronic hepatitis C. These can help to clear the virus from your body over a few weeks or a few months. There have been developments in how beneficial hep C treatments are since 2015 and they are proving to have a very high cure rate. See our article on these treatments here.
The second option, if your hep C has done major damage, is a liver transplant. Your own liver is removed and replaced with a healthy donor liver. If you have gone through a transplant your doctor will still put you on antiviral medication to kill the virus in your body before it can cause damage to the new liver.
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