Sunday, March 25, 2007

Hepatitis C’s "Other" Symptoms

he painful effects of a skinned knee are instantaneous. It may turn red, bleed, sting or throb. Soon after, the injury most likely bruises or forms a scab. Unlike skinning a knee, when someone contracts the Hepatitis C virus (HCV) the effects are not immediate, nor are they always visible. Until the development of cirrhosis, many people with the virus do not demonstrate signs or symptoms of the infectious disease. Amazingly, it is possible for HCV to infect a patient for decades before being discovered.

While people may not display common signs or symptoms, such as fatigue, abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, dark urine, or muscle aches, they may have lesser-known conditions linked with Hepatitis C. You and your loved ones can benefit by knowing about these other conditions, potentially leading to earlier detection and treatment of HCV.

The liver isn’t the only organ affected by Hepatitis C. Rather, it is a systemic problem, and the virus can cause diseases to manifest (known as extrahepatic manifestations), in the kidneys, eyes, joints and immune systems of individuals. For example, cryoglobulinemia can develop as a result of liver disease. The condition causes inflammation of the vessels in tissues throughout the body, and is characterized by weakness, joint pain or swelling, and a raised, purple skin rash. Cryoglobulinemia is due to the presence of abnormal antibodies that come from HCV stimulation of white blood cells.

Diabetes mellitus is another common condition associated with liver disease. The accompaniment of Hepatitis C with diabetes is connected with advanced liver fibrosis or cirrhosis. Other related conditions include lichen planus, thyroid disease, arthritis, and neuropathy.

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By Nicole Cutler This article was prepared for Visit us to learn more about liver health

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