How Long Can a Person Live after Being Diagnosed with Hepatitis C?

Ask a Doctor

I went in for a blood test for another health issue and the doctor diagnosed me with hep C. My head is spinning as I had no idea I was infected and I know next to nothing about the disease as I have no symptoms. My main question: How long can a person live after being diagnosed with hepatitis C?

Doctor’s Response

Hepatitis C is a viral disease that harms the liver. In about 25% of patients, the virus will go away on its own without treatment, but the majority of hepatitis C cases become chronic infections.

People with hepatitis C can live many years after diagnosis, but the range varies. A 2014 study showed that patients infected with hepatitis C virus died on average 15 years sooner than people who did not have the illness.

With hepatitis C, the liver becomes seriously damaged due to inflammation. This can lead to a complication called cirrhosis, which is severe scarring of the liver. It can also lead to liver failure and liver cancer. About 10-20 percent of patients with hepatitis C will develop cirrhosis within 20-30 years, 3-6 percent will go into liver failure, and 1-5 percent will develop liver cancer.

Health Solutions From Our Sponsors

Carter, Michael. Two US studies show that hepatitis C has a major impact on life expectancy. 27 May 2014. 12 November 2018 .

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Hepatitis C Questions and Answers for the Public. 2 November 2018. 12 November 2018 .