Recognizing the Symptoms of Hepatitis C
WHEN TO CONTACT A DOCTOR
Unfortunately, it’s possible to have hepatitis C without knowing it. But there are symptoms that can reveal its presence. The federal Centers for Disease Control (CDC) lists these:
Loss of appetite
Clay-colored bowel movements
Jaundice (yellow color in the skin or eyes)
These symptoms, for acute hepatitis C, usually appear within six to seven weeks after exposure. People with chronic (long-term) hepatitis C may also show signs of liver problems before they are diagnosed.
If you have these symptoms, contact your healthcare practitioner immediately so you can get tested.
FIND A DOCTOR
Physicians who treat hepatitis C include hepatologists, who specialize in liver diseases; gastroenterologists, who treat intestinal illnesses; and infectious-disease specialists. Your primary care doctor can refer you to the appropriate specialist.
American Liver Foundation
This nonprofit group is dedicated to the prevention, treatment and cure of liver diseases. Their website has crucial information for patients as well as a directory of hepatitis clinical trials.
An organization that focuses on education, advocacy, and support.
Hepatitis C Association
This group aims to provide emotional support for patients. It has a toll-free support line.
National AIDS Treatment Advocacy Project (NATAP)
“Coinfection” with hepatitis C is a growing problem for people with HIV. NATAP has developed a comprehensive overview of hepatitis. It also covers key medical conferences and provides an expert-answers forum.
United Network for Organ Sharing
A nonprofit organization that maintains the Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network (OPTN) in the United States. The group coordinates transplant recipients and donor families to develop organ transplantation policy.