Symptoms

Patterns of hepatitis C disease progression vary considerably from person to person. Some people never experience symptoms, some rapidly develop symptoms of acute hepatitis and others develop symptoms ten to 15 years after initial infection.1

Few people with HCV realise that there is anything wrong with them at or around the time they become infected. Less than 5% suffer acute hepatitis symptoms such as fatigue, nausea, loss of appetite, fever, abdominal tenderness, muscle and joint pains, elevated liver enzymes or jaundice (yellowing of the skin and eyes).

Over half of people who contract HCV will develop some symptoms over the long term. Most commonly, people with HCV present with chronic fatigue prior to any other evidence of liver disease. Other early symptoms may include a flu-like feeling, nausea, weight loss, loss of appetite and a swollen, painful liver or spleen. Hepatitis C patients also commonly report mental symptoms including depression and 'brain fog' (problems remembering or understanding information). The presence and severity of symptoms vary greatly among individuals, and do not necessarily give an accurate indication of the extent of liver damage.

References

  1. Kenny-Walsh E et al. Clinical outcomes after hepatitis C infection from contaminated anti-D immune globulin. New Engl J Med 340: 1228-1233, 1999

Hepatitis information

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