Hepatitis C (cont.)
Mary D. Nettleman, MD, MS, MACP
Mary D. Nettleman, MD, MS, MACP is the Chair of the Department of Medicine at Michigan State University. She is a graduate of Vanderbilt Medical School, and completed her residency in Internal Medicine and a fellowship in Infectious Diseases at Indiana University.
In this Article
- Hepatitis C infection (HCV, hep C) facts
- What is hepatitis C infection?
- What is the nature (biology) of the hepatitis C virus?
- How does liver damage occur in hepatitis C infection?
- How is hepatitis C virus spread, is it contagious, and how can transmission be prevented?
- What are the symptoms of hepatitis C infection?
- What conditions outside the liver are associated with hepatitis C infection?
- What is the usual progression of chronic hepatitis C infection?
- Who is at high risk and should be tested for hepatitis C infection?
- What are the diagnostic tests for hepatitis C virus and how are they used to diagnose hepatitis C infection?
- What is the role of a liver biopsy in the management of chronic hepatitis C?
- What is the treatment for hepatitis C infection?
- Who should receive antiviral therapy for hepatitis C virus infection?
- What are the different patterns of response to antiviral treatment?
- What are the goals of therapy for hepatitis C infection?
- What are the therapy options for previously untreated patients with chronic hepatitis C infection?
- How are relapses and nonresponders treated?
- Should individuals with acute hepatitis C infection be treated?
- What are the side effects of treatment for hepatitis C infection?
- What about liver transplantation for hepatitis C infection?
- What is the current research and what is in the future for hepatitis C?
- Hepatitis C FAQs
- Find a local Gastroenterologist in your town
What conditions outside the liver are associated with hepatitis C infection?
Most of the signs and symptoms of HCV infection relate to the liver. Less commonly, HCV infection causes conditions outside of the liver.
- HCV infection can cause the body to produce unusual antibodies called 'cryoglobulins'. These cryoglobulins cause inflammation of the arteries (vasculitis) which may damage the skin, joints, and kidneys. Patients with cryoglobulinemia (cryoglobulins in the blood) may have joint pain, arthritis, a raised purple rash on the legs, generalized pain or swelling. In addition, these patients may develop Raynaud's phenomenon in which the fingers and toes turn color (white, then purple, then red) and become painful at cold temperatures.
- Two skin conditions, lichen planus and porphyria cutanea tarda, have been associated with chronic infection with HCV.
- For reasons that are unclear, diabetes is three times more common among patients with chronic HCV infection than in the general population.
- Low platelet counts may occur as a result of the destruction of platelets by antibodies.
- HCV also is associated with B-cell lymphoma, a cancer of the lymph system.
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