Hepatitis C, sometimes known as HCV, is an infectious disease that affects the liver. The signs and symptoms can be easily mistaken for a liver infection, which is what makes it so dangerous. There are two forms of the hepatitis C virus that a person can contract: acute, and chronic. The difference between the two is that acute lasts for only six months or less, while chronic is ongoing.
In any case, it is a good idea to be able to recognize the signs and symptoms of hepatitis C, such as the following:
1. Unexplained fatigue
Hepatitis C can cause an unnatural amount of fatigue for patients. This unexplained fatigue can sometimes be mistaken for feeling overworked, stressed, or not getting enough sleep. However, the problem is much more severe and typically causes disruptions in a person’s life as it persists.
2. Joint and muscle pain
This one is another symptom that is often ignored or written off as being from something else, such as sitting at a desk too long or the result of physical activities like jogging or weight lifting. Once again, this symptom is characterized by the fact that it simply won’t go away in time like normal joint and muscle pain tends to.
Getting a fever when you’re not actually sick with something like a cold or the flu can be a pretty obvious sign that something was seriously wrong. This is one of the most identifiable signs of hepatitis C and anyone experiencing an unexplained fever should see a doctor immediately.
Jaundice is when your skin and eyes begin to turn yellow, and is a sign of liver failure. Since hepatitis C affects the liver, this can be a major sign of the virus. That said, if a person’s liver had deteriorated to the point that they’ve developed jaundice, they need to go to the hospital as quickly as possible regardless of what may be causing it.
5. Stomach pain and nausea
This is one of the more subtle symptoms of hepatitis C, and is often times ignored. For the most part, if a person has stomach pain and nausea, there is no reason to jump to the conclusion that they have hepatitis C. However, if these symptoms occur along with the other symptoms on this list, then it may be cause for concern.
6. Itchy skin
While this symptom doesn’t necessarily mean that a person has hepatitis C, but if it happens along with the other signs and symptoms on this list, then it is something that a doctor should inspect. In the meantime, itchy skin can be treated with a variety of over the counter drugs and ointments.
7. Dark urine
By the time a person is experiencing dark urine as a result of hepatitis C, they have probably already been diagnosed with the virus since this usually only occurs once the virus has progressed. Regardless, dark urine is a bad sign and should be checked out by a doctor as soon as possible.
8. Early detection
Like with most diseases, the sooner you get diagnosed with hepatitis C and begin treatment, the better. Letting it progress unchecked can cause major damage to the liver and ultimately death. Stay smart and practice safe sex, don’t share needles, and make sure that sterilized needles are used if you get a tattoo or piercing. The best way to deal with hepatitis C is to prevent it in the first place.