A Canadian study in 2008 estimated the health costs of HCV. The study found that liver related costs were low in proportion to the total. The highest cost was found to be related to mental health issues associated with HCV. The article states:"liver-related costs (which have been the focus of most studies to date) are the tip of the iceberg." This is clear evidence that, regardless of whether or not end stage liver disease has been diagnosed, HCV sufferers are not likely to reach their full earning and pension potential.
The Digestive Diseases, Clinical Reviews Journal shows that extrahepatic manifestations have been known to exist for many years. The article states "A remarkable array of extrahepatic manifestations of hepatitis C has now been described".
The Journal of Viral Hepatitis, January 1997 states: "Infection with the hepatitis C virus affects not only the liver but also non-hepatic tissues and may combine with many unrelated diseases and morbid conditions." It lists mixed cryoglobulinaemia, thyroid abnormalities, lichen planus, diabetes mellitus, thrombocytopenia and the antiphospholipid syndromeas "well-established extrahepatic manifestations".
Clinical Gastroenterology Journal, April 2000 shows research finding that "Non-hepatological manifestations are frequent with more than 70% of HCV patients experiencing fatigue or at least one extrahepatic clinical manifestation involving primarily the joints, skin and muscles."
Don't be Alarmed!
Having HCV doesn't mean you will suffer from all of the illnesses connected with it. There seems to be no pattern to the way the virus affects people. So far, we haven't come across anyone who doesn't suffer from chronic fatigue and brain fog. In addition they suffer, to varying degrees from some, but certainly not all, of the other EHMs listed.
There seems to be no rhyme nor reason as to who will be affected by a particular EHM and so far, we haven't found any research on the subject. We'll let you know if we do.
It is not our intention to scare people, but we think it's a good idea to save HCV sufferers from the anguish of thinking they might be a hypochondriac because of all their health problems, when liver disease is the only thing they've been told about and the only thing a hepatologist focuses on. In fact, 'only' 20% have cirrhosis.