Hepatitis C is a sneaky virus. You may not have any symptoms at all. Most people don’t. Your doctor could check you liver and see only a little damage. You might not get diagnosed until he spots a problem with your liver enzymes after a routine blood test.
The disease is called acute when you first get it. The symptoms are similar to those of the flu. They may include:
- Poor appetite
- Stomach pain and nausea
- Muscle and joint pain
If you don’t get diagnosed and treated, you could have the disease for years and not know it. Doctors call this the chronic form, because it lasts a long time. Some people who've had it for a while get liver cancer.
- Dark yellow urine
- Yellowish eyes and skin
You could get scarring of the liver, called cirrhosis, after you’ve had hepatitis C for 20 or 30 years. If you have it you might:
Bleed and bruise easily
Notice skin and eyes turning yellow with jaundice
When to See the Doctor If you have symptoms of hepatitis C or think you may have been exposed to the virus, make an appointment to be tested. The CDC suggests anyone born between 1945 and 1965 get checked.