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Viral hepatitis

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Viral Hepatitis

Hepatitis is inflammation of the liver, which can be caused from  viruses, medications, alcohol, problems with the immune system, or not enough blood supply to the liver.

Viral hepatitis  refers to inflammation of the liver due one of the viruses that specifically attack the liver. The  viruses that can cause hepatitis are  labeled with the letters A, B, C, D and E. Viral hepatitis A, B and C are prevalent in United States.

Transmission:

Viral hepatitis A and E enter the body by way of the gastrointestinal tract. It can be transmitted through contaminated  food or  fluids contaminated with the virus, usually from the stool of an infected person or by sexual (usually anal-oral) contact. The hepatitis B and C viruses are generally transmitted by contact with infected blood or blood products, or by sexual contact. In the United States, intravenous drug use is the most frequent mode of transmission of hepatitis C.  Hepatitis B can also be passed from a mother to her fetus, usually at the time of delivery. Hepatitis D (sometimes referred to as Delta hepatitis) only afflicts individuals who have the hepatitis B infection. The mode of transmission of hepatitis D is similar to that of hepatitis B.

Symptoms

  • Low-grade fever
  •  Headaches,
  • Muscle ache
  •  Tiredness
  •  Loss of appetite
  • Nausea and vomiting,
  • Diarrhea
  •  Dark-colored urine or light-colored stools.
  • Jaundice (yellow discoloration of the skin and the whites of the eyes).
  • Vague upper abdominal pain.
  • Few may develop liver failure that would require liver transplantation or lead to death.

Diagnosis: Hepatitis can be diagnosed with Blood tests.

Treatment: Acute viral hepatitis except Hepatitis C may resolve by itself and does not require treatment. 80 percent of patients with Hepatitis C may develop Chronic Hepatitis C infection. Some patient with Hepatitis also may develop chronic Hepatitis. The medications used for treatment for Chronic Hepatitis B can only keep the viruses under control , but cannot eliminate the viruses completely. Currently we have medications that can completely cure Hepatitis C, but the treatment is expensive. But it is  recommended that patients are treated as early as possible before the disease progress into chronic liver disease and cirrhosis.

Prevention – Viral hepatitis can be prevented by using precautions.  Since hepatitis A and E viruses are transmitted through contaminated foods and liquids, you should not eat or drink in areas with unsanitary conditions. International travelers should only use bottled water, and not use ice in beverages, and avoid food sold from street vendors. If you are traveling  to areas with high rates of hepatitis A, you  should receive the hepatitis A vaccine in two (2) doses, six to 18 months apart.

Hepatitis B vaccinations are available and is recommended  for people at risk of infection. This includes people who use intravenous and other drugs, men who have sex with men, individuals with high-risk sexual behavior, individuals with multiple sexual partners and health care workers.

Do you need treatment for Viral hepatitis? Call Gastroenterology Institute of Orlando, FL at 407-201-3686 to learn more about treatment!


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