Hepatitis C (cont.)
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Hepatitis C Symptoms
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Acute infection: When a person becomes infected with hepatitis C, there are often no initial symptoms.
Chronic Infection: Most of the time, the body's immune system cannot 'cure' itself of the virus. Among people who acquire HCV, approximately 75% to 85% will fail to clear it from their bodies and will become chronically infected. Most chronically infected people do not have symptoms or have only vague symptoms such as fatigue. However, even asymptomatic patients may have active or progressive liver damage.
Chronic hepatitis C can lead to scarring or 'cirrhosis' of the liver, a condition also associated with alcoholism. Cirrhosis is a condition in which the healthy liver tissue is replaced by fibrous tissue, followed by scar-like hardening. As this happens, the liver gradually begins to fail, or looses its ability to carry out its normal functions. Of the chronically infected people, 15% to 30% will eventually develop cirrhosis, often 20 to 30 years after the initial infection. Eventually, symptoms develop. Symptoms of cirrhosis include the following:
Bhupinder Anand, MD
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