Medical questions & health advice by board certified doctors
"Is dry skin a symptom of Hepatitis C?"
How does hepatitis C affect your skin? I've been worried I was exposed to hepatitis C ever since I learned that an old partner of mine tested positive. I can't find anyone who will test for it, but I've noticed the skin of my hands, elbows and face getting especially dry. Is this a symptom?
Hepatitis C is a serious condition. In general, if you believe you are at risk for hepatitis C you should see your primary care doctor and have this checked. Testing for heaptitis C is a simple blood test. The advantage of early detection of hepatitis C is that it can be treated--however if diagnosis and treatment is delayed then the virus can cause permanent liver damage or liver cancer. People with untreated hepatitis C can require liver transplants so this is a serious disease. I strongly encourage you to see your doctor. Most people with hepatitis C are asymptomatic. There is no specific symptom that people get until there begins to be liver damage. Signs of liver damage would be an expanding belly, yellowing of the eyes or gaining of fluid in the legs. Hepatitis C is not associated with dry skin. However, dry skin can appear like other skin disorders that are associated with hepatitis C. Vitiligo, or discoloration of the skin is also associated with hepatitis C. It is also associated with lichen planus--which sometimes looks like dry skin as it is scaly, violet appearing rashes. In general, vasculitides are associated with hepatitis C--these can present a raised red rash on the skin that may look like chicken pox. It is most likely that the dry skin you have is simply dry skin and unrelated to hepatitis C, as the skin conditions listed are rare. However, it is possible that the skin changes are related to hepatitis C. I encourage you to see your doctor and raise these concerns.
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