what does the hepatitis c virus look like

Spider angiomas

Spider angioma, also known as spider nevus or nevus araneus, are spider-like blood vessels that appear underneath the skin. They appear as a red dot with lines that extend outward.

Spider angioma are associated with increased levels of estrogen. They can be seen on healthy individuals, especially children, as well as people with hepatitis C.

For people with hepatitis C, as the liver becomes damaged, estrogen levels will increase.

Spider angioma mostly appear on:

the face, near the cheekbones
the hands
the forearms
the ears
the upper chest wall

Spider angioma tend to fade away on their own or as the condition improves. And they can be treated with laser therapy if they don’t go away.


Ascites is the excess buildup of fluid in the abdomen that causes the stomach to take on a swollen, balloon-like appearance. Ascites is a symptom that may appear in the advanced stages of liver disease.

When your liver gets scarred, it decreases in function and causes pressure to build up in the veins. This excess pressure is called portal hypertension. It causes fluid to pool around the abdomen.

Most people with ascites will notice a sudden weight gain, and that their stomach sticks out more than usual. Ascites may also cause:

difficulty breathing
fluid buildup in the chest toward the lungs
a fever

Some immediate steps your doctor may recommend are reducing your salt intake and taking diuretics, or water pills, like furosemide or Aldactone. These steps are taken together.

If you have ascites, you should also check your weight every day and contact your doctor if you gain more than 10 pounds, or two pounds per day for three days in a row. If your doctor has determined you have ascites, they may also recommend a liver transplant.


Similar to ascites, edema is the buildup of fluid in the body’s tissues. This happens when the capillaries, or tiny blood vessels, in your body leak fluid, and build up in the surrounding tissue.

Edema gives the affected area a swollen or puffy appearance. People who have chronic hepatitis C usually see edema in the legs, ankles, and feet.

Having stretched or shiny skin, or dimpled or pitted skin, are other symptoms of edema. You can check for dimpling by pressing the skin for several seconds and seeing if a dent remains. While mild edema goes away on its own, your doctor may prescribe furosemide or other water pills to help flush out excess fluid.