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What are the symptoms and warning signs of hepatitis C?

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Approximately 80 percent of patients with hepatitis C show no symptoms, and the remaining 20 percent may develop gastrointestinal problems, dark urine, joint pain, fever, or yellowing of the eyes and skin, known as jaundice, states Everyday Health. It takes an average of six or seven weeks after exposure for symptoms to develop. About 75 percent of patients who contract hepatitis C have complications, which can include development of a chronic form of the disease that damages the liver.

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Patients can contract hepatitis C, develop a chronic form of the disease and not realize it for decades until liver damage occurs, according to Everyday Health. Without treatment, chronic hepatitis C can result in liver failure, liver cancer or death. About 5 to 10 percent of patients develop cirrhosis, a scarring of the liver that prevents it from functioning properly. End-stage liver disease due to hepatitis causes symptoms including severe itching, weakening or wasting of the body, abdominal swelling, hemorrhaging of the veins and loss of brain function.

A 2013 medical report states that premenopausal women with chronic hepatitis C are slower to develop cirrhosis or liver cancer than men, says Everyday Health. Use of alcohol also causes damage to the liver to occur more quickly.

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