Hepatitis C is a liver disease caused by infection with the Hepatitis C virus (HCV). It is usually spread when blood or other body fluids of an infected person enters the body of someone who is not infected. A variety of factors determine the life expectancy of someone with Hep C.
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Acute Hep C
Acute hepatitis C is a short-term infection. Some people who have acute hepatitis C eventually develop chronic illness, while others are able to completely clear the virus from their body in a few months.
Chronic Hep C
Chronic hep C is a long-term illness that can lead to life-threatening complications, including liver failure and liver cancer. According to the Center for Disease Control, up to 85% of people with Hep C develop chronic infection. Hep C is the most common reason for liver transplants in the U.S.
Hepatitis C may take as long as 20 years after infection to cause illness. Untreated Hep C can eventually cause serious liver damage, but in most cases it takes 10-20 years from the time of contracting the virus to become seriously ill. Chronic hepatitis C is treated with medication that slows or stops the virus from damaging the liver.
Factors Affecting Life Expectancy
Some of the factors affecting life expectancy include age, general health and your response to treatment. Prognosis also depends on how long you have had the virus, other medical conditions you have and how much liver damage has been done.
Hepatitis C is treatable if it is diagnosed before significant complications develop. Prognosis is favourable for those likely to respond well to treatment, but may be unfavourable when HCV is difficult to control.
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