During this time, a person may not show any symptoms. This is known as being ‘asymptomatic’. So, for some people, by the time hepatitis C is detected they already have advanced liver disease.
How quickly liver damage develops depends on a number of factors, such as:1-3
The longer that hepatitis C goes untreated, the greater the risk of significant liver damage becomes.
Liver damage can occur as:1
A ‘fatty liver’, which can occur with obesity or alcohol-associated liver disease, can speed up the liver damage caused by
hepatitis C. Co-infection with other hepatitis viruses (hepatitis A or B) can also increase the extent of liver damage.1
Eventually, some people with hepatitis C need a liver transplant.1
In people that have not cleared the virus before receiving a liver transplant, it is common for the hepatitis C virus to return.1
Every year up to 5% of people with cirrhosis go on to develop a type of liver cancer called hepatocellular carcinoma.4 Eliminating the hepatitis C virus from the body reduces or even reverses liver damage, which in turn can reduce the risk of liver cancer.5