Hepatitis C, commonly referred to as HCV, which stands for hepatitis C virus, is frequently referred to as the silent killer because the individual is frequently unaware of its presence until the disease is in an advanced stage. Often, the disease is discovered through a blood test and the host may have no symptoms of its presence. It can present as either chronic, which is long term, or acute, which is short term and severe.
HCV is an inflammatory virus that adversely affects the liver, sometimes the kidneys, and sometimes other organs of the body. It can remain in its host for a lifetime or it may pass through the body within a relatively short period. It is considered the most serious of the hepatitis viruses.
Individuals with HIV are more susceptible to developing HCV and women are more susceptible than men. Up to 20 percent of people with hepatitis C eventually develop cirrhosis,others can develop liver cancer or liver failure; up to 5 percent die from hepatitis C.
How do you know if you have hepatitis C? Although the disease may never symptomatically manifest, even if it has progressed to the chronic stage, anyone who may be in one of the above risk categories should pay attention to the 10 following signs and symptoms of Hepatitis C.
Presence of a fever indicates that the body has an infection that it is trying to eliminate. Since viruses and bacteria are generally intolerant to higher temperatures, the body's immune system uses a fever to kill the invading pathogens. Usually, those with HCV may experience a low-grade fever. Following the fever, people with hepatitis C may experience sweating and then chills. A fever by itself does not indicate the presence of HCV, but if it occurs in conjunction with other signs and symptoms, you might want to consult your health care professional.