What is Hepatitis C?
What Can Happen – Complications
Unless successfully treated with medications, chronic Hepatitis C infection can cause other serious health problems, such as:
Cirrhosis means scarring of the liver. Anything that damages your liver over many years can cause it to form scar tissue. As hard scar tissue replaces soft, healthy normal tissue the liver can no longer work well or work at all. It can take a long time – about 20 to 30 years – for liver damage to lead to cirrhosis.
In the early years, people with cirrhosis often have no symptoms. But over time, they can experience the following:
- weight loss
- abdominal pain
- severe itching
- jaundice (yellow discoloration of the skin and eyes)
Eventually, people can have complications such as fluid in the abdomen and difficulty thinking clearly. Liver damage caused by cirrhosis cannot be reversed, but it is possible to stop further damage with proper management.
Like all organs in your body, your liver can get cancer. When this happens, some of the cells in your liver reproduce faster than they should, leading to tumors and other problems. Having Hepatitis C can increase your chances of getting liver cancer.
When someone has advanced liver disease and their liver is severely damaged it may no longer be able to function. At this point, a liver transplant may be considered.