Hepatitis C was discovered in 1989 and is a growing threat to the health of the nation. This is especially the case because, as the CDC notes, hepatitis C is a challenging disease to recognize and diagnose when it is in the early stages of development. It can even take a while for most hepatitis C patients to experience anything but mild symptoms, so they often don’t realize they have it and may not get tested right away. However, testing is key to preventing, diagnosing, and successfully treating patients with hepatitis C.
Early Warning Signs of Hepatitis C
Do you think it is possible that you or a loved one might be experiencing the signs or symptoms of hepatitis C? Anyone can contract acute or chronic hepatitis C, if they come into contact with the blood or body fluids of someone who has it. Common ways to contract the disease are through shared needles, tattoo or piercing equipment, or shared hygiene supplies such as razors or even toothbrushes. You may also contract it from unprotected sexual contact, nonsterile medical equipment, and accidental injury with an infected object.² The symptoms of acute hepatitis can last up to six months and may ultimately lead to chronic hepatitis C, which can severely damage the liver. However, getting tested is key because if the virus is diagnosed in its early stages, there is a high probability of full recovery. The CDC published a report stating that 80 percent of acute cases aren’t diagnosed because the patients don’t at first experience any symptoms.³ The following signs may be symptoms of hepatitis C:
- Dark-colored urine
- Loss of appetite
- Abdominal pain
- Joint pain
- Clay-colored feces
You should get tested for hepatitis C immediately if you have any of the following high-risk factors:
- Received a blood transfusion, organ transplant, or blood products before 1992 or in a country that does not screen for hepatitis C
- Got a tattoo with unsterilized needles
- Used recreational drugs
- Shared personal items such as razors or toothbrushes
- Became infected with HIV/AIDS
- Are a child of an infected mother
- Used intravenous drugs
- Were incarcerated
How Is Hepatitis C Diagnosed?
Symptoms of hepatitis C can take between six months and ten years to manifest, but the disease can be easily diagnosed using a simple blood test. If you test positive for hepatitis C, your doctor may want to perform a liver biopsy to determine the severity of your condition. According to the CDC, the disease becomes visible in the blood test four to ten weeks after the infection.⁴
How Is Hepatitis C Treated?
Data published by the CDC indicates that 15 to 20 percent of patients with acute hepatitis C make a full recovery.⁵ Chronic hepatitis C is more difficult to get rid of but thankfully it can be fully cured. There are two common ways people treat hepatitis C:
Antiviral Medication works by destroying the hepatitis C virus. This form of treatment can completely cure patients of the illness in three months.
Home Remedies are very effective at relieving symptoms of hepatitis C, but they don’t treat the cause. No home remedy has been proven to remove the hepatitis C virus. Despite the lack of success in getting rid of the virus, the following home remedies remain popular:
- Castor Oil helps reduce liver inflammation and supports the growth of new liver cells.
- N-Acetyl Cysteine (NAC) is a powerful antioxidant that helps the body recover when on antiviral medication.
- Milk Thistle helps strengthen liver cells.
Treating Hepatitis C Responsibly
If you suspect you have hepatitis C, get tested and treated at once. This disease is highly contagious and can quickly spread. One way to check that you are healthy and safe is to ask your doctor to test you for hepatitis C every time you get a physical exam, even if you don’t have any symptoms.
 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.”Transmission and Symptoms.” Hepatitis C Questions and Answers for Health Professionals. https://www.cdc.gov/hepatitis/hcv/hcvfaq.htm#Ref13
 “Hepatitis C Transmission: How Hep C Is Spread & Contracted.” WebMD. https://www.webmd.com/hepatitis/hepatitis-c-protecting-others#1
 What Are the Symptoms and Warning Signs of Hepatitis C?” Healthline. https://www.healthline.com/health/hepatitis-c/symptoms
 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.”Testing and Diagnosis.” Hepatitis C Questions and Answers for Health Professionals. https://www.cdc.gov/hepatitis/hcv/cfaq.htm#E4
 “Complementary Treatments for Hepatitis C.” WebMD. https://www.webmd.com/hepatitis/hep-c-complementary-treatments#1