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What Are The Early Signs Of Hepatitis

Signs And Symptoms Of Alcoholic Hepatitis

What are the early signs and symptoms of Hepatitis B & C? | Apollo Hospitals

Symptoms of AH usually start with pain in your abdomen due to swelling of the liver, which is in the upper right side of the abdomen. Often, this pain can be mild in the early stages of the condition. Many times, people do not seek medical evaluation until they start to develop the more noticable signs of liver failure. These signs include:

  • Jaundice, which is a yellow discoloration of the eyes and skin

  • Abdominal swelling and bloating

  • Confusion or excessive sleepiness

Late Signs Of Liver Disease

If you dont notice or experience any early signs, it can take as long as 15 years for symptoms of hepatitis C-liver disease to emerge. The damage to your liver starts off as a slow, simmering inflammation that, over time, can progress to scarring , liver failure, liver cancer, and the need for a liver transplant. Hepatitis C is the leading cause of cirrhosis and liver cancer and the most common reason for liver transplantation in the United States.

Symptoms of end-stage liver disease are far less innocuous than the early signs of an acute infection. They may include easy bleeding or bruising, persistent or recurring jaundice, intense itching, loss of appetite, and nausea. Swelling in your abdomen and legs due to fluid buildup, liver cancer, and problems with concentration and memory may also occur.

If you develop cirrhosis, your liver can fail. Other signs of cirrhosis are bleeding of the digestive tract caused by enlarged veins in the esophagus connecting the throat and stomach. Another consequence of cirrhosis is brain and nervous system damage due to the buildup of toxins in your blood, which occurs when the failing liver can no longer clean and detoxify your blood.

The good news is that today hepatitis C is curable, and knowing what to look out for can help you and your doctor diagnose it early, and potentially stave off some of the end-stage symptoms.

How Long Does Hepatitis A Last

How long it lasts can vary from person to person. Symptoms can range from mild to severe. Some things to keep in mind:

  • Mild hepatitis A may last 1 to 2 weeks.
  • Most people are much better within 3 weeks.
  • Young children who get symptoms usually get better within 2 months.

If you have a severe infection, it can cause problems for several months. You may need to stay in the hospital.

Some people have symptoms that can last more than 3 months or have problems that come and go for 3 to 9 months.

Show Sources

CDC: “Traveler’s Health: Hepatitis A,” “Viral Hepatitis,” Hepatitis A Questions and Answers for the Public,” “Hepatitis A Vaccine.”

National Health Service: “Hepatitis A — Complications.”

Mandell, G.L., Bennett, J.E., Dolin, R., editors, Principles and Practice of Infectious Diseases, 7th edition, Elsevier Churchill Livingstone, 2009.

Long, S.S., editor, Principles and Practice of Pediatric Infectious Diseases, 3rd edition, Elsevier Churchill Livingstone, 2008.

American Academy of Pediatrics Committee on Infectious Diseases: “Hepatitis A Vaccine Recommendations.”

Mayo Clinic: âHepatitis A.â

UpToDate: âHepatitis A virus infection in adults: Epidemiology, clinical manifestations, and diagnosis.â

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The Early Signs Of Hepatitis

Most people with hepatitis C usually dont realize that theyve acquired it. Around 80 percent of people with hepatitis C dont express symptoms that are easily identifiable.

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When symptoms show, they tend to appear within a few months instead of right away. There are various signs and symptoms associated with Hepatitis. The following are some of them:

  • Fever
  • Feelings of exhaustion and tiredness
  • Sore and weak muscles
  • Dark urine
  • Jaundice
  • A lot of people with acute hepatitis C express no symptoms and will go on to develop chronic hepatitis C. In a few cases, an infection can last 15 years or even more without being diagnosed.

    But Even If Youve Been Cured It Can Have Lifelong Health Implications

    Understanding the Early Signs of Hepatitis

    Hepatitis C is a lot more than just a liver disease, Reau says. It has been associated with many medical conditions, such as an increased risk of developing diabetes, kidney disease and cancer.

    While curing hepatitis C significantly reduces the risk of serious complications, like liver failure, liver cancer and the need for transplantation, it doesnt completely eliminate the health risks associated with the disease.

    Hep C is linked to scarring of the liver or cirrhosis and the more scar tissue that develops, the greater the likelihood of complications, Reau says. If there is a lot of scarring, you will need lifelong monitoring.

    Reau also recommends leading a healthy lifestyle to help prevent re-infection and further liver damage: Limit alcohol consumption, control your weight, avoid high-risk activities and manage diabetes if you have it.

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    Living With Hepatitis C Infection

    Many people are living with hepatitis C. If you have hepatitis C, there are several important things that you can do to help yourself and others such as:

    • Eat a healthy diet and get plenty of rest.
    • To avoid further liver damage:
    • Do not drink alcohol.
    • Do not take medicine that can cause liver damage .
    • Get vaccinated against hepatitis A & B if you are not already immune.
    • Do not to pass the infection to anyone else by taking the following precautions, such as:
    • Do not share toothbrushes or razors with others.
    • Do not to let anyone else come into contact with your blood, urine or feces.
    • Use condoms during sexual activity.
    • Limit the number of sex partners you have.
    • If you use injection drugs, do not share needles or syringes with anyone else.
    • It is best to not get tattoos or body piercings.

    Although often uncomfortable, you should notify your partner of your hepatitis C prior to having sex. You also must notify all your health care professionals of your infection, so they can take precautions.

    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.

    Read Also: Hepatitis C Antibody Reactive Means

    How Is Hepatitis Diagnosed And Treated

    There are several ways that hepatitis can be diagnosed. First, individuals often present with the symptoms above. Then, a lot of doctors will perform blood work. In some situations, doctors may even want to do a biopsy of the liver to look for signs of cirrhosis.

    The treatment of hepatitis will depend on its severity. For example, some people will be placed on antiviral medication if the doctor believes the hepatitis is due to an infection of some sort. Furthermore, individuals who have been diagnosed with hepatitis will have to abstain from drinking alcohol, as this would otherwise place a tremendous amount of stress on the liver. Doctors may also administer intravenous fluids if these are necessary to correct electrolytes. Medications will be used to reduce inflammation and give the liver a rest. The recovery process following hepatitis can be prolonged. Therefore, it is important for everyone to be patient and listen to the instructions of a doctor

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    Importance Of Understanding And Acting On The Early Signs Of Hepatitis

    Signs and Early Symptoms of Hepatitis A // Treatment and Transmission

    Should you discover that you are a carrier, it is vital that you take the necessary steps to prevent the disease from spreading. If you have recently acquired the disease, treatments are available. However, time is of the essence if you wait too long, you may suffer liver damage or even develop liver cancer. If you discover that you have a form of hepatitis that has progressed to the chronic stage, it is important that you learn how to manage the disease.

    You could unknowingly be participating in activities that exacerbate some of the effects of the disease. For instance, persons who have hepatitis should avoid alcohol, because it can damage the liver and make it harder for a persons body to fight the infection. Poor diets can also have a negative impact.

    Should you discover that you have hepatitis, though, you can begin to adopt a diet and lifestyle that is beneficial to counteract the effects of the disease.

    Recommended Reading: How Does Someone Get Hepatitis B

    Common Symptoms Of Hepatitis

    If you are living with a chronic form of hepatitis, like hepatitis B and C, you may not show symptoms until the damage affects liver function. By contrast, people with acute hepatitis may present with symptoms shortly after contracting a hepatitis virus.

    Common symptoms of infectious hepatitis include:

    It is crucial to understand what is causing hepatitis in order to treat it correctly. Doctors will progress through a series of tests to accurately diagnose your condition.

    Identifying The Early Signs Of Hepatitis

    Once you discover that you have hepatitis, you must take immediate steps to stop the disease from spreading. If you have recently developed hepatitis, there are treatment options available. However, time is the single most important aspect of this disease because if you wait too long you might develop liver complications. If you find out that you have a type of hepatitis that has progressed to the chronic stage, you must learn how to manage your condition.

    You might inadvertently be doing activities that worsen the effects of hepatitis. For instance, people with this ailment should avoid alcohol as it can damage the liver and make it harder for his body to resist infection.

    A poor diet can also exacerbate hepatitis.

    When you discover that you have hepatitis, you need to adopt a lifestyle that increases the odds of successful treatment. You can do this by improving your diet.

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    There are three broad categories of hepatitis treatments:

    Antiviral Medications

    Antiviral medications can be useful in treating hepatitis. The pills are usually taken once a day and work effectively to combat the virus, preventing it from spreading.

    The objective of these pills is to eliminate the virus from the infected parts of the body and to stop or slow down damage to his liver. Hopefully this neutralizes the chance of developing cirrhosis and scarring of the liver.

    Liver Transplants

    Vaccinations

    Hepatitis A Vaccine

    Hepatitis B Vaccine

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    Causes Of Noninfectious Hepatitis

    Although hepatitis is most commonly the result of an infection, other factors can cause the condition.

    Alcohol and other toxins

    Excess alcohol consumption can cause liver damage and inflammation. This may also be referred to as alcoholic hepatitis.

    The alcohol directly injures the cells of your liver. Over time, it can cause permanent damage and lead to thickening or scarring of liver tissue and liver failure.

    Other toxic causes of hepatitis include misuse of medications and exposure to toxins.

    Autoimmune system response

    In some cases, the immune system mistakes the liver as harmful and attacks it. This causes ongoing inflammation that can range from mild to severe, often hindering liver function. Itâs three times more common in women than in men.

    Should I Be Screened For Hepatitis C

    Hepatitis C Symptoms

    Doctors usually recommend one-time screening of all adults ages 18 to 79 for hepatitis C. Screening is testing for a disease in people who have no symptoms. Doctors use blood tests to screen for hepatitis C. Many people who have hepatitis C dont have symptoms and dont know they have hepatitis C. Screening tests can help doctors diagnose and treat hepatitis C before it causes serious health problems.

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    Can Hepatitis B And C Be Prevented

    Today, all babies get vaccinated against the hepatitis B virus in a series of three shots over a 6-month period. Doctors also recommend “catch-up” vaccination for all kids and teens younger than 19 years old who didn’t get the vaccine as babies or didn’t get all three doses.

    Unfortunately, there’s no vaccine for hep C yet.

    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 Are The Ways You Can Get Hepatitis C

    What Causes Hepatitis C

    The hepatitis C virus causes hepatitis C. The hepatitis C virus spreads through contact with an infected persons blood. Contact can occur by

    • sharing drug needles or other drug materials with an infected person
    • getting an accidental stick with a needle that was used on an infected person
    • being tattooed or pierced with tools or inks that were not kept sterilefree from all viruses and other microorganismsand were used on an infected person before they were used on you
    • having contact with the blood or open sores of an infected person
    • using an infected persons razor, toothbrush, or nail clippers
    • being born to a mother with hepatitis C
    • having unprotected sex with an infected person

    You cant get hepatitis C from

    • being coughed or sneezed on by an infected person
    • drinking water or eating food
    • hugging an infected person
    • shaking hands or holding hands with an infected person
    • sharing spoons, forks, and other eating utensils
    • sitting next to an infected person

    A baby cant get hepatitis C from breast milk.18

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    Hepatitis A And E Symptoms

    What Are The First Signs And Symptoms Of Hepatitis C?

    Hepatitis A and hepatitis E present with similar symptoms. The diseases may develop without any signs or symptoms, or symptoms may be nonspecific. If you experience any of the symptoms below for more than two weeks, make an appointment with a gastroenterologist.

    There are three phases of hepatitis A and E, and symptoms may differ depending on the stage. Early in the disease, called the prodromal phase, symptoms may include:

    • Fever

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    What Is Hepatitis A

    Hepatitis A accounts for 20 percent to 25 percent of hepatitis cases in developed countries. Hepatitis A is usually transmitted through the fecal-oral route, meaning a person somehow ingests contaminated feces from an infected person. If an infected person did not wash his or her hands properly after using the bathroom, the disease may spread from the persons hands. The incubation period is two to six weeks, during which the infected individual is contagious.

    Another cause of hepatitis A is eating shellfish harvested from contaminated water. Developing countries experience hepatitis A epidemics caused by drinking water contaminated with raw sewage.

    The prognosis for hepatitis A patients is excellent with self-limiting course, and recovery is complete. About 85 percent of people with hepatitis A recover within three months, and almost all recover within six months. The disease does not become chronic, and there are no long-term health implications.

    Causes And Risk Factors

    HCV causes hepatitis C. People contract the virus through blood-to-blood contact with contaminated blood. For transmission to occur, blood containing HCV must enter the body of a person without HCV.

    A speck of blood, invisible to the naked eye, can carry hundreds of hepatitis C virus particles, and the virus is not easy to kill.

    The report the following risk factors for developing hepatitis C:

    • using or having used injectable drugs, which is currently the most common route in the U.S.
    • receiving transfusions or organ transplants before 1992, which is before blood screening became available
    • having exposure to a needle stick, which is most common in people who work in healthcare
    • being born to a mother who has hepatitis C

    The CDC offer advice on cleaning syringes if it is not possible to use clean and sterile ones. Although bleach can kill the HCV in syringes, it may not have the same effect on other equipment. Boiling, burning and using alcohol, peroxide, or other common cleaning fluids to wash equipment can reduce the amount of HCV but might not stop a person from contracting the infection.

    It is extremely dangerous to inject bleach, disinfectant, or other cleaning products, so people should make sure they rinse the syringe thoroughly. A person should only ever use bleach to clean equipment if new, sterile syringes and equipment are not available.

    People who are at risk due to these factors can have screening to rule out HCV.

    • peginterferon alfa-2a
    • sofosbuvir

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