Senior Care Blog Wayland and Weston

Do You Know the Symptoms of Hepatitis C?

By Denise Roskamp

Hepatitis C can be caused by many things, including exposure to infected blood, an unsterile tattoo needle, and blood transfusions. It is most common in people who were born between 1945 and 1965, but a definitive explanation for this is not yet known.

If your aging loved one has received a blood transfusion, gotten a tattoo in their lifetime, or was born between the years listed above, you might want to take note of the following signs and symptoms of hepatitis C, so that you or their elder care aide will notice them if they crop up.

It is important to note first, though, that hepatitis C normally doesn’t present itself with symptoms early on. If you start to notice the following symptoms, this usually means that the illness has progressed, and your loved one needs medical care as soon as possible.

Symptoms of Hepatitis C

  • Bleeding or bruising easily – If it only takes a very slight bump to create a huge, dark bruise on your loved one, this could be a sign that something is wrong. Excessive bleeding or bleeding without much provocation can also be a symptom that something is going on beneath the surface that shouldn’t be, and you should consult a doctor as soon as possible.
  • Jaundice – One of the better-known signs of hepatitis is a yellowing of the skin or eyes. This is known as jaundice, and usually means that there is something wrong with the liver. Even if this does not turn out to be hepatitis C, you should get emergency care for any loved one experiencing jaundice, as it could be a sign of something very serious either way.
  • Confusion and slurred speech – These can be symptoms of many diseases that affect the elderly, so they should always be taken seriously. If your loved one has trouble speaking or concentrating, this could be a sign that hepatitis C is affecting their organs and brain, and they need help right away.
  • Dark urine – Hepatitis affects the liver, and dark urine is another sign that the liver is not working correctly. If your loved one reports having darker urine than usual, this could be a sign that they need to get checked out by a doctor.
  • Fatigue – Fatigue is another symptom that could apply to many ailments, as it usually denotes a body that is trying to fight off some sort of infection. Fighting infections takes a toll on our immune system, leading us to feel tired as more and more of our energy and nutrients are sent to help in the battle.

At one time, hepatitis C was largely untreatable, but luckily today, things have changed. Most cases of hepatitis C can be cured and/or treated, and your loved one can find relief. It is important to detect hepatitis C as early as you can, though, so as soon as you or your elder care aide notice any of the above symptoms, see a doctor as soon as possible so that their treatment can begin.