About 4.4 million Americans currently have chronic hepatitis B and C, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). There are even more people with hepatitis who don’t even realize they have it. Getting tested and treated for hepatitis is crucial in order to avoid preventable liver cancer and liver disease.

If you think you are showing any signs of hepatitis, call our office today.

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FAQs on Hepatitis:

What Is Hepatitis?

Hepatitis is an inflammation of the liver commonly caused by a viral infection.

The most common types of hepatitis are:

Hepatitis A - A highly contagious liver infection caused by the hepatitis A virus (HAV). It is commonly transmitted by consuming food or water contaminated by feces from a person infected with hepatitis A.

Hepatitis B - A serious liver infection caused by the hepatitis B virus (HBV). It is transmissible through sexual contact,  injection drug use, with an infected person. HBV is easily preventable by a vaccine.

Hepatitis C - One of the most common bloodborne viral infections in the U.S. The hepatitis C virus (HCV) attacks the liver and leads to inflammation and is caused by direct contact with infected body fluids, such as injection drug use and sexual contact. 

Hepatitis D - A serious liver disease caused by infection with the hepatitis D virus (HDV). Also called delta hepatitis, HDV is a serious liver disease spread through direct contact with infected blood. It is a rare form of hepatitis that occurs only in conjunction with a hepatitis B infection. HDV is highly uncommon in the United States.

Hepatitis E - A liver disease caused by the hepatitis E virus (HVE), which is waterborne. HVE is typically spread from ingesting fecal matter that contaminates the water supply. This virus is found mainly in areas with poor sanitation and is uncommon in the United States.

Alcoholic hepatitis - Liver inflammation caused by drinking too much alcohol.

Autoimmune hepatitis - Inflammation in the liver that occurs when the body makes antibodies against its own liver tissue.

What Are The Symptoms of Hepatitis?

It is possible to have hepatitis and not show any symptoms. Possible signs of hepatitis may include:

  • Dark urine
  • Light-colored stools
  • Jaundice (yellowing of the skin and whites of the eyes)
  • Itchy feeling
  • Mental changes
  • Coma
  • Bleeding inside your body

How Is Hepatitis Diagnosed?

  • Determining risk factors
  • Reviewing your symptoms
  • Physical exam
  • Liver function tests
  • Blood tests
  • Imaging tests (CT scan, ultrasound)
  • Liver biopsy

What Are The Treatment Options For Hepatitis?

Depending on the type of hepatitis, treatment options may include:

  • Antiviral medications
  • Corticosteroids
  • Immune-suppresant drugs

What Are The Complications Of Hepatitis?

Chronic hepatitis B or C can often lead to more serious health problems, such as:

  • Chronic liver disease
  • Liver cirrhosis
  • Liver cancer

How Can I Prevent Hepatitis?

Vaccinations are available to prevent the development of hepatitis A and B.

If you are visiting a developing country, it is best to avoid:

  • Local water
  • Ice
  • Raw or undercooked shellfish and oysters
  • Raw fruit and vegetables

Hepatitis B, C, and D contracted through contaminated blood can be prevented by not sharing:

  • Drug needles
  • Razors
  • Toothbrushes
  • Do not touch spilled blood