How Do You Get Hepatitis A
Hepatitis A can be spread by sexual contact with an infected person or close personal contact . However, it is most often spread by what scientists call the fecal-oral route. This happens when one person eats or drinks something that has small amounts of fecal matter from another person who has hepatitis A. This can happen by touching something that has the virus on it and then putting your hands in your mouth. It can happen when food is grown, picked, processed or served. Water can also be contaminated.
Mothers do not pass on hepatitis A in breast milk. You cannot be infected with HAV by sitting near to or hugging someone with hepatitis A. It does not spread through coughs or sneezes.
Tests To Diagnose Hepatitis B
If you have a high risk of coming into contact with HBV, your doctor may want to test you for HBV. A blood test can diagnose HBV. It can detect whether you have or have had HBV, you are immune to HBV or whether you can pass HBV to others.
Since hepatitis B often is not accompanied by symptoms, people who appear healthy may be tested for HBV. In addition to the high-risk individuals, these individuals should also be tested:
- Hemodialysis patients
- Patients with abnormal liver laboratory results
- Patients who require immunosuppressive or cytotoxic therapy
Factors That Makes Your Liver Prone To Illnesses
It is widely believed that the only thing that damages a liver is heavy alcohol consumption. But that’s not the only cause of liver damage. The liver is the largest internal organ of the body and is involved in more than 500 different functions including digestion, metabolism, nutrients storage, and removal of toxins. So, there can be several things and health conditions that can unknowingly cause liver damage. Here are a few things that can damage the liver.
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History And Physical Exam
To diagnose hepatitis, first your doctor will take your history to determine any risk factors you may have for infectious or noninfectious hepatitis.
During a physical examination, your doctor may press down gently on your abdomen to see if theres pain or tenderness. Your doctor may also feel to see if your liver is enlarged. If your skin or eyes are yellow, your doctor will note this during the exam.
What Causes Hepatitis A
Hepatitis A is caused by the hepatitis A virus . The virus is spread when one person ingests tiny unseen pieces of fecal matter from an infected person. It takes about two to seven weeks after exposure to the virus for symptoms to start.
Water and ice can be contaminated with HAV. Raw shellfish from contaminated water can cause hepatitis A, as can other foods that are not cooked, such as fruits and vegetables.
How Is Hepatitis B Diagnosed
There are three main ways to diagnose HBV infection. They include:
- Blood tests: Tests of the blood serum shows how your bodys immune system is responding to the virus. A blood test can also tell you if you are immune to HBV.
- Abdominal ultrasound: An ultrasound uses sound waves to show the size and shape of your liver and how well the blood flows through it.
- Liver biopsy: A small sample of your liver tissue is removed though a tiny incision and sent to a lab for analysis.
The blood test that is used to diagnose hepatitis B is not a test that you get routinely during a medical visit. Often, people whove become infected first learn they have hepatitis B when they go to donate blood. Blood donations are routinely scanned for the infection.
The virus can be detected within 30 to 60 days of infection. About 70% of adults with hepatitis B develop symptoms, which tend to appear an average of 90 days after initial exposure to the virus.
Hepatitis C Meds And Your Stomach
Treating Hepatitis C to relieve your stomach pain, nausea, and bathroom problems can be a bit of a double-edged sword. Many of medications that treat hepatitis C may also contribute to intestinal woes. For example, certain antivirals such as interferon can cause nausea, , and . Other drugs, too, including ribavirin, Incivek , or Victrelis , list intestinal symptoms as possible side effects on their labels. These symptoms should resolve once your course of treatment is completed. Ask your doctor if your hepatitis C medication could be responsible for your intestinal symptoms. He or she can help you troubleshoot by suggesting coping strategies. These may include:
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What Should You Know About Hepatitis B Before You Travel
Hepatitis B is quite common in China and other Asian countries, where as many as 1 in 12 people have the virus, though many dont know it. Before traveling to those places, you should make sure youve been vaccinated against the virus.
In addition to getting the vaccine, you can take these additional precautions to reduce your risk of contracting the virus:
- Refrain from taking illegal drugs.
- Always use latex or polyurethane condoms during sex.
- Make sure new, sterile needles are used during all piercings, tattoos and acupuncture sessions.
- Avoid direct contact with blood and bodily fluids.
- Know the HBV status of all your sexual partners.
- Ask your doctor about possible vaccination before you travel to a place where hepatitis B is common.
A note from Cleveland Clinic
Hepatitis B is a liver disease that can cause serious damage to your health. One reason that is dangerous is that it can easily go undetected for years while damaging your liver. Talk with your healthcare provider about being tested for hepatitis B if you have any reason to believe that you were not vaccinated or if you have engaged in risky behavior. If you do test positive, follow the directions from your healthcare provider so that you can live a longer, healthier and happier life.
Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 07/09/2020.
What Treatments Are Available For Chronic Hepatitis B If Medications Dont Work
If you have advanced hepatitis B, you might also become a candidate for a liver transplant. This path does not always result in a cure because the virus continues in your bloodstream after a transplant. To prevent being infected again after your transplant, you may be prescribed hepatitis B immunoglobulin with an antiviral agent.
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Symptoms Of Acute Viral Hepatitis
Acute viral hepatitis can cause anything from a minor flu-like illness to fatal liver failure Liver Failure Liver failure is severe deterioration in liver function. Liver failure is caused by a disorder or substance that damages the liver. Most people have jaundice , feel tired… read more . Sometimes there are no symptoms. The severity of symptoms and speed of recovery vary considerably, depending on the particular virus and on the person’s response to the infection. Hepatitis A and C often cause very mild symptoms or none at all and may be unnoticed. Hepatitis B and E are more likely to produce severe symptoms. Infection with both hepatitis B and D may make the symptoms of hepatitis B even more severe.
Symptoms of acute viral hepatitis usually begin suddenly. They include
A poor appetite
People with acute viral hepatitis usually recover in 4 to 8 weeks, even without treatment. However, some people infected with hepatitis B or C develop chronic infections.
Vaccines And Immune Globulin
Vaccines to prevent hepatitis A and hepatitis B are available in the United States. A vaccine for hepatitis E is currently available only in China. No vaccines against hepatitis C or D virus are available. However, vaccination against hepatitis B virus also reduces the risk of infection with hepatitis D virus. Hepatitis vaccines are given by injection into muscle.
Routine vaccination with the hepatitis A vaccine Hepatitis A Vaccine The hepatitis A vaccine helps protect against hepatitis A. Typically, hepatitis A is less serious than hepatitis B. Hepatitis A often causes no symptoms, although it can cause fever, nausea… read more and hepatitis B vaccine Hepatitis B Vaccine The hepatitis B vaccine helps protect against hepatitis B and its complications . Generally, hepatitis B is more serious than hepatitis A and… read more is recommended in the United States for all children and for adults at high risk of getting hepatitis Hepatitis is common throughout the world. Hepatitis can be Acute read more ).
As with most vaccines, protection requires allowing a number of weeks for the vaccine to reach its full effect as the immune system gradually creates antibodies against the particular virus.
Babies born to mothers with hepatitis B are given hepatitis B immune globulin and hepatitis B vaccine.
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How Common Is Hepatitis B
Hepatitis B is fairly common in Africa and the western Pacific region. Throughout the world, there are about 292 million people who are infected with chronic hepatitis B. In the U.S., the figure exceeds 2 million people.
The number of infections had been falling in the U.S., but fewer vaccinations among adults combined with the onset of the opioid crisis and injected drug usage has resulted in the numbers rising again. Infected women can pass the infection on to their babies. Children who are infected before age 5 are more likely to have chronic infection than those infected later in life.
Understanding The Different Types Of Hepatitis
If you suspect you may have an infection of the liver, seek care right away. in Annapolis, Maryland, or click schedule now to make an appointment using the online tool today.
Hepatitis causes inflammation of the liver and is often caused by a virus that attacks the organ. Hepatitis is not one illness, but a set of several different types labeled as A, B, C, D, E, and possibly G.
Hepatitis types A, B, and C are the most common. Read on to understand each type, the symptoms, and treatment.
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How Is Autoimmune Hepatitis Treated
Treatment works best when autoimmune hepatitis is found early. The goal of treatment is to control the disease and to reduce or get rid of any symptoms .
To do this, medicines are used to help slow down or suppress your overactive immune system. They also stop your body from attacking your liver.
Once you have started treatment, it can take 6 months to a few years for the disease to go into remission. Some people can stop taking medicine, but often the disease comes back. You may need treatment now and then for the rest of your life. Some people need to remain on treatment if they have relapsed many times or if their disease is severe.
In some cases autoimmune hepatitis may go away without taking any medicines. But for most people, autoimmune hepatitis is a chronic disease.
It can lead to scarring of the liver . The liver can become so badly damaged that it no longer works. This is called liver failure.
If you have liver failure, a liver transplant may be needed.
Be sure to ask your healthcare provider about recommended vaccines. These include vaccines for viruses that can cause liver disease.
When To See A Healthcare Provider
If you develop any of the symptoms of chronic hepatitis, liver damage, or liver cancer, see your healthcare provider. It takes only a blood test to detect the presence of a hepatitis virus in your body .
A blood test also can determine which hepatitis virus you’re infected with, which will determine what your treatment should be .
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Love Your Liver: Look For These 8 Signs Of Organ Damage
The liver is the largest internal organ, and a surprisingly powerful one at that.
However, certain liver conditions can leave permanent damage, in which case early diagnosis and swift treatment can mean the difference between an uncomfortable illness and a life-threatening emergency.
Liver disease can be caused by variety of different illnesses and conditions, including:
- Hepatitis A, B and C.
- Adverse reactions to certain prescription and herbal medications.
- Acetaminophen overdose.
- Hemochromatosis .
- Ingestion of poisonous wild mushrooms.
Like many progressive diseases, you may not notice any signs or symptoms of liver disease in the early stages. But, as liver function begins to decline, you may begin to notice some physical changes in certain areas of your body.
A swollen abdomen can point to a condition called ascites, in which liver malfunction leads to an imbalance of proteins and other compounds, and fluid builds up in the tissues.
The main symptom, potbelly, often signals cirrhosis.
Sometimes swelling occurs in the hands, feet and ankles, as gravity draws excess fluid down to these extremities.
A damaged liver produces fewer of the proteins necessary for blood clotting, which means you may bleed and bruise more easily.
Fatigue and Weakness
Loss of Appetite
Cognitive issues can develop when toxins accumulate in the blood and move to the brain.
What Should You Know About Pregnancy And Hepatitis B
A pregnant woman who has hepatitis B can pass the infection to her baby at delivery. This is true for both vaginal and cesarean deliveries.
You should ask your healthcare provider to test you for hepatitis B when you find out you are pregnant. However, while it is important for you and your healthcare provider to know if you do have hepatitis B, the condition should not affect the way that your pregnancy progresses.
If you do test positive, your provider may suggest that you contact another healthcare provider, a liver doctor, who is skilled in managing people with hepatitis B infections. You may have a high viral load and may need treatment during the last 3 months of your pregnancy. A viral load is the term for how much of the infection you have inside of you.
You can prevent your infant from getting hepatitis B infection by making sure that your baby gets the hepatitis B vaccine in the hours after they are born along with the hepatitis B immunoglobulin. These two shots are given in two different locations on the baby. They are the first shots needed.
Depending on the type of vaccine used, two or three more doses must be given, usually when the baby is 1 month old and then 6 months old, with the last by the time the baby is 1 year old. It is critical that all newborns get the hepatitis B vaccination, but even more important if you have hepatitis B yourself.
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Liver Abscess Or Cyst
A bacterial, fungal, or parasitic infection in your liver can form an abscess, or a pocket of pus. The top right side of your abdomen may be tender. Your doctor may be able to feel that your liver is enlarged. Usually, youâll also have fever and chills.
Cysts are also pockets of fluid, but they arenât usually infected. If they are large, they may make you uncomfortable, mostly because youâll feel âfullâ in your abdomen. Cysts sometimes can bleed, which can cause sudden, severe pain in your upper right belly and shoulder. Learn about polycystic liver disease symptoms, causes, and treatment.
Alcohol And Other Toxins
Excessive alcohol consumption can cause liver damage and inflammation. This is sometimes referred to as alcoholic hepatitis. The alcohol directly injures the cells of your liver. Over time, it can cause permanent damage and lead to liver failure and cirrhosis, a thickening and scarring of the liver.
Other toxic causes of hepatitis include overuse or overdose of medications and exposure to poisons.
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Can Hepatitis B Be Prevented
The hepatitis B vaccine is one of the best ways to control the disease. It is safe, effective and widely available. More than one billion doses of the vaccine have been administered globally since 1982. The World Health Organization says the vaccine is 98-100% effective in guarding against the virus. Newborns should be vaccinated.
The disease has also been more widely prevented thanks to:
- Widespread global adoption of safe blood-handling practices. WHO says 97% of the blood donated around the world is now screened for HBV and other diseases.
- Safer blood injection practices, using clean needles.
- Safe-sex practices.
You can help prevent hepatitis B infections by:
- Practicing safe sex .
- Never sharing personal care items like toothbrushes or razors.
- Getting tattoos or piercings only at shops that employ safe hygiene practices.
- Not sharing needles to use drugs.
- Asking your healthcare provider for blood tests to determine if you have HBV or if you are immune.
How Is Hepatitis B Spread
You can become infected with hepatitis B through exposure to blood, semen and other bodily fluids of an infected person. You can get the infection by:
- Having unprotected sex.
- Sharing or using dirty needles for drug use, tattoos or piercing.
- Sharing everyday items that may contain body fluids, including razors, toothbrushes, jewelry for piercings and nail clippers.
- Being treated medically by someone who does not use sterile instruments.
- Being bitten by someone with the infection.
- Being born to a pregnant woman with the infection.
Hepatitis B is not spread by:
- Kissing on the cheek or lips.
- Coughing or sneezing.
- Hugging, shaking hands or holding hands.
- Eating food that someone with the infection has prepared.
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When To See Your Doctor
Also make an appointment if a friend or member of your family comes down with the disease. There’s a risk you could get infected, too.
Be on the lookout for symptoms of hepatitis if you travel to a country where the disease is common. Call your doctor if you think you’re showing any signs.