Patient Information

Hepatitis C

The liver is one of the largest organs in the human body, responsible for hundreds of tasks, including processing and storing nutrients from the food you eat and breaking down toxic substances in your blood. If the hepatitis C virus (HCV) infects your liver, you have hepatitis C. Hepatitis (hep-uh-ty-tus) means "inflammation of the liver," which occurs when your immune system tries to rid your body of the virus, causing it to scar. This is known as cirrhosis (sehr-oh-sis). Over time, cirrhosis can lead to liver failure.

About 3.2 million people in the U.S. are living with hepatitis C, and veterans enrolled in VA health care have higher rates (5.4%) than that of the general population (1.8%). Of every 100 people infected with HCV, 60% to 95% will develop chronic HCV infection (meaning the body cannot rid itself of the virus), 10% to 30% will develop cirrhosis, and every year, 1% to 3% of those with cirrhosis will develop a type of liver cancer called hepatoma (hep-uh-toe-muh).



Next Article:

Viral Hepatitis Awareness

Related Articles