Hepatitis C symptoms are in most cases very subtle and the disease itself is characterised as being asymptotic. This means that there are little or no symptoms that could indicate viral infection with Hepatitis C virus.
Because of the lack of symptoms Hep C could be as well referred to as an invisible disease.
On the other hand, there are some subtle Hepatitis C symptoms to be aware about. These include:
- feeling tired all time
- Jaundice (yellowish eyes)
- loss of appetite and weight loss
- stomach problems
- high temperature of 38oC (100.4oF) or higher
When talking about Hepatitis C symptoms it is important to understand the difference between acute and chronic Hep C. The above symptoms are characteristic for acute Hepatitis C which happens mere weeks after infection with the virus. However, most of these are very subtle and not noticed. They are also very general – it is difficult for a doctor to figure out that these symptoms are a sign of Hep C, because a number of others diseased causing similar symptoms as likely as hepatitis. Hepatitis C symptoms are more severe, yet still subtle, in chronic Hepatitis C, and are as follows:
- headaches and depression
- Jaundice (yellowish eyes)
- tiredness and short-term memory problems
- mood swings
- itchy skin
- joint and muscle pain
- abdominal pain
If these Hepatitis C symptoms are identified and the disease is properly diagnosed and treated, the chances of being cured of Hepatitis C are very high with both Interferon and Sofosbuvir treatment.
Let us see an example of how asymptomatic Hepatitis C can be. The following is a quote by a patient:
I tested reactive for Hepatitis C in 2008. I experienced no symptoms since then. When retested in July of 2013, I was told by the doctor that I was positive for the antibodies, but negative for the virus. No one has definitively explained this to me.
This is the case when the immune system of a Hep C patient was strong enough to fight of the infection. As seen from the quote, there were no symptoms, despite the disease being present. The body produced antibodies that eliminated the Hep C virus. This patient was one of the fortunate 40% of Hep C cases where immune system was able to fight of the virus.
Here is a second case of a Hep C patient describing his symptoms:
I am tired all the time. I have stomach pains. Feel shortness of breath often. I have a metallic taste in my mouth all the time. I am afraid family might get it, although I've been told that it has to be blood-to-blood contact. I still feel like I am harbouring a dangerous monster.
Overall, Hepatitis C symptoms are very delicate and hard to figure out. If you have 3 or more of the symptoms, you should go to your doctor and check yourself for Hep C.