Hepatitis C Virus Lives In
(NC)-Your liver works 24 hours a day, performing over 500
vital functions for your body. Most of the blood that
returns to your heart passes through the liver. Your body
can't function without it.
The hepatitis C virus lives in your liver. It inflames liver
cells, which, over time, affects the way your liver
functions. The effect of the hepatitis C virus varies from
person to person. There is no way to predict how your body
will react to it. There are, however, some things that are
You can live with hepatitis C for many years without
experiencing any major symptoms, or you might simply feel
tired. Symptoms can come and go over time. Their presence or
absence does not tell you the degree to which liver damage
may or may not be occurring.
Chronic, long-term inflammation of the liver can cause liver
cell damage and result in fibrosis (liver scarring), or even
cirrhosis. This damage can occur in as little as five years,
or as long as 30 years.
About 20% of chronic hepatitis patients develop cirrhosis
within 10 to 20 years.
Use of recreational drugs or alcohol can speed up
inflammation and the development of fibrosis or cirrhosis.
There is an increased risk of liver cancer in people with
The good news is that current drug treatments can be very
effective for people with hepatitis C. Combined with proper
nutrition, plenty of rest, and avoidance of recreational
drugs and alcohol, these treatments help many who have the
virus lead relatively healthy lives.
If you think you may be at risk of getting hepatitis C, see
your doctor. The virus can be detected by a simple blood
test. For more information on how to keep your liver happy
and healthy, visit Health Canada's Web site at