If left untreated,hepatitis C can sometimes cause scarring of the liver (cirrhosis). This can develop up to 20 years or more after you first become infected.
Anumber of things can increase your risk of getting Cirrhosis , including:
Overall,up to one in every three people infected with hepatitis C will develop cirrhosis within 20 to 30 years. Some of these will then go on to develop liver failure or liver cancer .
If you have cirrhosis,the scarred tissue in your liver gradually replaces healthy tissue and prevents the liver from working properly.
There are usually few symptoms in the early stages. But as your liver loses its ability to function properly, you mayexperience:
Other than a liver transplant , there's no cure for cirrhosis. However, lifestyle measures and hepatitis C medicationscan helpstop the condition getting worse.
This is known as liver failure or end stage liver disease.
Each year, around1 in every20 people with hepatitis-associated cirrhosis will develop liver failure.
Symptoms of liver failure include:
It's usually possible to live with liver failurefor several years by taking medication. However, a liver transplant is currently the only way to cure the condition.
It's estimated that around1 in every 20 people with hepatitis-associated cirrhosis will develop liver cancer each year.
Symptoms of liver cancer caninclude:
Unfortunately, it'snotusually possible to cure liver cancer, especially in people with cirrhosis, althoughtreatment can help control your symptoms and slow the spread of the cancer.
Read about hepatitis C, a virus that can infect and damage the liver. Find out about the symptoms, causes and treatments for the condition.
Read about the main symptoms of a hepatitis C infection and find out when you should seek medical advice.
Read about the main ways you can become infected with the hepatitis C virus.
Read about who should get tested for hepatitis C and what the test involves.
Read about the main treatments for hepatitis C, including the different medicines that may be used and what lifestyle changes you can make.
Read about the main complications of hepatitis C, including scarring of the liver (cirrhosis), liver failure and liver cancer.