Hepatitis C is a viral infection that impacts the liver. This infection may take years to damage the liver, at which point symptoms develop.
There’s no vaccine against this viral infection, and the only way to find out if you have it is to get tested. You can catch hepatitis C through engaging in unprotected sex, sharing personal items such as razors, or receiving tattoos from unsanitized needles.
From our experts at Digestive Disease Consultants of Orange County, here are the five main signs of hepatitis C.
Jaundice, or yellowing of the skin, occurs when the liver can no longer keep up with filtering bilirubin out of the blood.
Bilirubin is a yellow pigment that appears when red blood cells die. When this pigment isn’t removed, it can leak into the surrounding tissues, lending its yellow color to them.
When suffering from hepatitis C, bilirubin is not excreted via the stool but via urine. This makes urine appear darker. Stools may also be grey and pale.
Fluid-build up in the abdomen is a sign of liver scarring and advanced liver disease. The liquid may make you feel full or make it more difficult for you to breathe.
Medical specialists help eliminate this fluid via diuretics or by inserting a hollow needle to extract the fluid.
The liver is responsible for producing blood platelets, the blood components that enable us to stop bleeding after an injury. Bruising and bleeding easily may be a sign that the liver’s activity is slowing down, which prevents it from producing enough platelets.
Have you experienced persistent itching on your palms or the soles of your feet? It could be that bile salts and toxins are accumulating in your tissues instead of being excreted by your liver.
In the past, hepatitis C treatment required weekly visits to the doctor’s office, weekly injections, and medications that came with severe side effects.
Fortunately, this is no longer the case. Today, hepatitis C is curable with oral medications that come with few side effects and don’t require significant time investments.
Half of those infected with hepatitis C don’t know they have it until they get tested, as symptoms may take years to appear.
If you’re experiencing upsetting symptoms, or you simply want to find out if you’re well, contact us to schedule an appointment.