Friday, November 25, 2022

How Do You Know You Have Hepatitis

How Does A Person Get Hepatitis

Free screening can help you know whether you have Hep C

A person can get hepatitis A through the following sources:

  • Food or water contaminated with the fecal matter of an infected person
  • Sexual contact

A person can get hepatitis B in many ways, which include:

  • Having sexual contact with an infected person
  • Sharing needles
  • Being in direct contact with an infected persons blood
  • Transferred from mother to the fetus
  • Getting an infected needle prick
  • Being in contact with an infected persons body fluid

A person can get hepatitis C through:

  • Sharing infected needles
  • Being in direct contact with an infected persons blood
  • Getting an infected needle prick
  • Having sexual contact with an infected person

Hepatitis D can be spread through:

  • Transferred from mother to the fetus
  • Being in contact with the infected fluid or blood
  • A person can get hepatitis D only if they are infected previously with hepatitis B.

Hepatitis E mainly infects people who eat or drink food or water contaminated with the virus. Under-cooked foods can also spread hepatitis E. It is more dangerous in pregnant women.

Is There A Cure For Chronic Hepatitis B

Currently, there is no complete cure for hepatitis B. But when managed properly, those living with the virus can expect to live a normal life. Maintaining a healthy diet and avoiding alcoholic beverages and tobacco products are crucial components in managing the disease.

You should also visit a doctor familiar with hepatitis B at least annuallythough twice a year might be best to monitor your liver through blood tests and medical imaging. As with most diseases, detecting it early leads to a better outcome. If youre exposed to the virus, you should get an antibody injection within 12 hours of exposure.

Tests To Diagnose Hepatitis C

How is Hepatitis C diagnosed?

There are two main blood tests typically used to diagnose Hepatitis C. First, youll have a screening test that shows if youve ever had Hepatitis C at some point in your life. If this test is positive, youll have a second test to see if you have Hepatitis C now. These blood tests are described below:

Hepatitis C antibody test

This is the screening test used by doctors to show whether or not you have ever been exposed to Hepatitis C at some time in your life, by detecting antibodies in your blood. Antibodies are substances your body makes to fight off all kinds of infections. If you were ever infected with Hepatitis C, your body would have made antibodies to fight the virus.

If the test result is:

  • Negative, it means you have not been exposed to Hepatitis C and further testing is usually not needed.
  • Positive, you have had Hepatitis C at some point. However, it does not tell you whether you have it now. Youll need to see your doctor for another test the Hepatitis C RNA test to determine if the virus is still active and present in your blood.

Hepatitis C RNA Qualitative Test

This test will determine whether or not you are currently infected with Hepatitis C. It is often called the PCR test because of the process used . It looks for the genetic material of the Hepatitis C virus in your blood.

If the test result is:

Hepatitis C RNA Quantitative Test

Also Check: Hepatitis C Antigens And Antibodies

What Are The Types Of Hepatitis B

There are two types of hepatitis B infection: acute and chronic.

Acute

An acute infection happens at the beginning, when you first get infected with hepatitis B. Many people are able to clear it from their bodies and recover. In fact, this is true of about 4 in 5 adults who are infected.

Chronic

If you are not able to clear the infection within six months or longer, you have chronic hepatitis B. It is chronic hepatitis B that leads to inflammation and the serious, and possibly fatal, illnesses of cirrhosis of the liver and liver cancer. Treatment can slow disease progress, reduce the chance of liver cancer and increase your chances of surviving.

It’s Different Than Hepatitis A And B

What You Need to Know About Hepatitis C

Each form of hepatitis has its own specific virus that spreads and is treated differently. “Hepatitis simply means inflammation of the liver, or that the virus has an affinity for hurting the liver,” Reau says.

  • Hepatitis A is an acute, short-term infection that often does not require treatment.
  • Hepatitis B hides deep in the body and, like hepatitis C, is treated in a variety of ways, from antiviral medications to liver transplants.

“The viruses are different, but all of them should be taken very seriously since they can lead to significant liver disease and even death,” she adds.

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Where Can I Get A Hepatitis B Test

You can get tested for hepatitis B and other STDs at your doctors office, community health clinic, the health department, or your local Planned Parenthood health center.

Getting tested for STDs can sometimes feel scary, but once you get it over with it can really put your mind at ease. And if you DO have an STD, its best to know sooner so you can get the care you need.

STD testing isnt usually part of your regular checkup or gynecologist exam you have to ask for it directly. Be open and honest with your nurse or doctor so they can help figure out what tests are best for you. Dont be embarrassed: doctors are there to help, not judge.

Its extra important to get tested if youre pregnant or trying to get pregnant. Hepatitis B can easily spread to your baby during birth, which can be dangerous. If you have hepatitis B, your doctor can give your baby treatments.

Initial Hepatitis C Symptoms Are Often Mild Or Nonexistent

The illness occurs when people are exposed to blood that contains the hepatitis C virus by using contaminated needles, for example, or by getting a transfusion of blood that hasnt been screened for contaminants, according to the World Health Organization .

The first stage of infection, called acute hepatitis C, develops within six months of exposure to the virus. Most people dont look or feel sick at this point, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention , but some people may experience symptoms, which include:

  • Fatigue
  • Sore muscles and joints
  • Yellowish color in the eyes and skin

If these problems are caused by acute hepatitis C, they usually appear about six to seven weeks after the infection took place the incubation window for the hepatitis C virus ranges from two weeks to six months. For approximately 15 to 25 percent of people infected with hepatitis C, the virus clears up on its own, without treatment, the CDC reports, while the remainder of those infected develop whats known as chronic hepatitis C.

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Who Should Get The Hepatitis A Vaccine

The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices recommends that all children in the U.S. get vaccinated against hepatitis A at age 12 months. However, if an infant aged 6-11 months will be traveling to a country with a significant number of people with hepatitis A, the child should get one dose before leaving the U.S. The child should then get 2 doses separated by 6 to 18 months when the child is between 12 months and 23 months.

You should also get the hepatitis A vaccine if you fall into one of the following groups:

  • Men who have sexual contact with other men.
  • Users of any type of illegal drugs.
  • People with blood clot disorders, such as hemophilia.
  • People who have chronic liver disease.
  • Homeless people.
  • People who will be closely involved with a person being adopted from a country with high rates of hepatitis A infections.

How Do You Know If You Have A Hepatitis A Infection

What to know about Hepatitis C

Hepatitis A is a very contagious virus that can cause serious illness and death. In recent years, a huge hepatitis A outbreak in the United States has been ongoing since 2016. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention , more than 30,000 people have. even sickened, almost 19,000 patients have been hospitalized, and more than 300 people have died. How do you know if you have a hepatitis A infection?

While most of these illnesses have occurred in certain populations, such as the homeless and drug users, this virus can infect people through contaminated food and drink. A hepatitis A outbreak in 2019, which has not yet been declared over, was linked to Fresh Thyme blackberries. And a hepatitis A outbreak at the Mendham Golf and Tennis Club in Mendham Township, New Jersey sickened 23 people.

One of the issues with this illness is that an infected person is contagious for about two weeks before symptoms appear. Someone working with food and drink in a restaurant can potentially sicken many people before they even know they are ill. So how do you know if you have a hepatitis A infection?

Hepatitis A Symptoms

These symptoms can appear within 15 to 50 days after exposure to the virus. And people can be sick for a few weeks up to several months.

Complications

Protect Yourself

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What Is Hepatitis

Hepatitis refers to an inflammatory condition of the liver. Its commonly caused by a viral infection, but there are other possible causes of hepatitis. These include autoimmune hepatitis and hepatitis that occurs as a secondary result of medications, drugs, toxins, and alcohol. Autoimmune hepatitis is a disease that occurs when your body makes antibodies against your liver tissue.

Your liver is located in the right upper area of your abdomen. It performs many critical functions that affect metabolism throughout your body, including:

  • bile production, which is essential to digestion
  • filtering of toxins from your body
  • excretion of bilirubin , cholesterol, hormones, and drugs
  • breakdown of carbohydrates, fats, and proteins
  • activation of enzymes, which are specialized proteins essential to body functions
  • storage of glycogen , minerals, and vitamins
  • synthesis of blood proteins, such as albumin
  • synthesis of clotting factors

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention , approximately 4.4 million Americans are currently living with chronic hepatitis B and C. Many more people dont even know that they have hepatitis.

Treatment options vary depending on which type of hepatitis you have. You can prevent some forms of hepatitis through immunizations and lifestyle precautions.

How Is It Spread

Hepatitis A is spread when a person ingests fecal mattereven in microscopic amountsfrom contact with objects, food, or drinks contaminated by feces or stool from an infected person.

Hepatitis B is primarily spread when blood, semen, or certain other body fluids- even in microscopic amounts from a person infected with the hepatitis B virus enters the body of someone who is not infected. The hepatitis B virus can also be transmitted from:

  • Birth to an infected mother
  • Sex with an infected person
  • Sharing equipment that has been contaminated with blood from an infected person, such as needles, syringes, and even medical equipment, such as glucose monitors
  • Sharing personal items such as toothbrushes or razors
  • Poor infection control has resulted in outbreaks in health care facilities

Hepatitis C is spread when blood from a person infected with the Hepatitis C virus even in microscopic amounts enters the body of someone who is not infected. The hepatitis C virus can also be transmitted from:

  • Sharing equipment that has been contaminated with blood from an infected person, such as needles and syringes
  • Receiving a blood transfusion or organ transplant before 1992
  • Poor infection control has resulted in outbreaks in health care facilities
  • Birth to an infected mother

Also Check: What Does Hepatitis B Mean

Newly Diagnosed With Hepatitis B Acute Or Chronic Learning The Hep B Basics

If youve just been diagnosed with hepatitis B after a routine blood test or following a blood donation, you may be feeling overwhelmed with information about this complicated infection and references to acute or chronic hepatitis B.

Here is an explanation of these two terms and what happens when youre first infected with the hepatitis B virus . Hepatitis B is transmitted through blood and sexual fluids. It can be spread during unprotected sex, unsafe medical procedures, exposure to blood that enters your body through a cut, or by sharing personal items such as razors, body jewelry or toothbrushes. Most commonly it is spread during childbirth when the mother is infected.

What is an acute infection? When were infected with HBV as healthy adults, about 90 percent of us are able to get rid of the infection within six months. It can take up to six months for our immune systems to generate antibodies and get rid of the infection in our liver. This short-term infection is called acute hepatitis B.

To determine if you have an acute or chronic infection, you must be tested for hepatitis B over a six-month period. The specific test that indicates if you are infected is the hepatitis B surface antigen test. This antigen covers the surface of the virus and there are usually lots of HBsAg in your blood when youre infected. If you test positive for HBsAg for longer than six months, it means you have a chronic hepatitis B infection.

Chronic Hepatitis B Infection

Symptoms and warning signs of Hepatitis C

People who test positive for the hepatitis B virus for more than six months are diagnosed as having a chronic infection. This means their immune system was not able to get rid of the hepatitis B virus and it still remains in their blood and liver.

The risk of developing a chronic hepatitis B infection is also directly related to the age at which one first becomes exposed to the hepatitis B virus:

  • 90% of infected newborns and babies will develop a chronic hepatitis B infection
  • Up to 50% of infected children will develop a chronic hepatitis B infection
  • 5-10% of infected adults will develop a chronic hepatitis B infection

Learning that you have a chronic hepatitis B infection can be very upsetting. Because most people do not have symptoms and can be diagnosed decades after their initial exposure to the hepatitis B virus, it can be a shock and a surprise to be diagnosed with a chronic hepatitis B infection. The good news is that most people with chronic hepatitis B should expect to live a long and healthy life.

There are effective drug therapies that can control and even stop the hepatitis B virus from further damaging a liver. There are also promising new drugs in the research pipeline that could provide a cure in the very near future. Although the risk of developing a serious liver disease or liver cancer is higher for those living with chronic hepatitis B than those who are not infected, there are still many simple things a person can do to help reduce their risks.

Also Check: Hepatitis C How Does It Spread

What Is The Outlook For People With Hepatitis B

The outlook for people with HBV is better now than ever before. You are certainly able to live a full life and help yourself stay healthy. You should make sure to have regular check-ups with a healthcare provider who is qualified to treat hepatitis B, possibly a liver doctor.

Make sure you are vaccinated against hepatitis A. Check with your healthcare provider or pharmacist before taking other medications or over-the-counter products, including supplements and natural products. These could interfere with your medication or damage your liver. For instance, taking acetaminophen in large doses may harm your liver.

Follow the usual guidelines for living a healthy life:

  • Eat nutritious foods, choosing from a variety of vegetables, fruits and healthy proteins. It is said that cruciferous vegetables are especially good at protecting the liver.
  • Exercise regularly.
  • Dont smoke and dont drink. Both tobacco and alcohol are bad for your liver.
  • Do things that help you cope with stress, like journaling, talking with others, meditating and doing yoga.
  • Avoid inhaling toxic fumes.

How Do You Test For Hepatitis C

A simple blood test carried out by a healthcare professional will show whether you have the virus. You may also be given an extra test to see if your liver is damaged.

If youve got hepatitis C you should be tested for other STIs. It’s important that you tell your recent sexual partner/s so they can also get tested and treated. Many people who have hepatitis C do not notice anything wrong, and by telling them you can help to stop the virus being passed on. It can also stop you from getting the infection again.

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What Is Viral Hepatitis

Viral hepatitis is an inflammation of your liver that’s caused by a virus. There are five types, but the most common ones in the U.S. are hepatitis A, B, and C. All of them affect your liver. Some of the symptoms are similar, but they have different treatments.

Hepatitis A. This type won’t lead to long-term infection and usually doesn’t cause any complications. Your liver heals in about 2 months. You can prevent it with a vaccine.

Hepatitis B. Most people recover from this type in 6 months. Sometimes, though, it causes a long-term infection that could lead to liver damage. Once you’ve got the disease, you can spread the virus even if you don’t feel sick. You won’t catch it if you get a vaccine.

Hepatitis C. Many people with this type don’t have symptoms. About 80% of those with the disease get a long-term infection. It can sometimes lead to cirrhosis, a scarring of the liver. There’s no vaccine to prevent it.

What Is Hepatitis A

What you need to know about Hepatitis B

Hepatitis A is a viral infection that causes liver inflammation and damage. Inflammation is swelling that occurs when tissues of the body become injured or infected. Inflammation can damage organs.

Viruses invade normal cells in your body. Many viruses cause infections that can be spread from person to person. The hepatitis A virus typically spreads through contact with food or water that has been contaminated by an infected persons stool.

Hepatitis A is an acute or short-term infection, which means people usually get better without treatment after a few weeks. In rare cases, hepatitis A can be severe and lead to liver failure and the need for an emergency liver transplant to survive. Hepatitis A does not lead to long-term complications, such as cirrhosis, because the infection only lasts a short time.

You can take steps to protect yourself from hepatitis A, including getting the hepatitis A vaccine. If you have hepatitis A, you can take steps to prevent spreading hepatitis A to others.

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