Hepatitis is a virus that causes inflammation of the liver. There are a number of different types of hepatitis, and it’s important to know which type you have and work closely with your doctor to develop a treatment plan. Dr. Hardeep M. Singh, MD, can help you with monitoring and managing your hepatitis and develop a treatment plan that is right for you.
What causes hepatitis?
Hepatitis can be caused by lack of blood flow to the liver, trauma, drug or alcohol abuse, or infection. The inflammation it causes damages your liver.
There are five types of viruses that cause hepatitis infections: A, B, C, D, and E. Types A, B, and C are the most common types. In most cases, hepatitis A goes away on its own, but types B and C tend to result in longer-term infections.
What are the symptoms of hepatitis?
All forms of hepatitis have similar symptoms, although you may not experience any symptoms. Once you’ve been exposed to the virus, it may take from 2-7 weeks before you notice symptoms.
Hepatitis A symptoms can include fatigue, nausea, loss of appetite, weight loss, and sore muscles, which may last two months but sometimes longer. Hepatitis B and C symptoms can include fever, nausea, vomiting, muscle aches, loss of appetite, jaundice, dark urine, and abdominal pain.
Treatments for hepatitis
Less severe infections can be treated by a physician in an outpatient setting. Patients with hepatitis B who have healthy immune systems may be able to fight the infection off, clearing it from their system. This is also possible, though less likely, with Hepatitis C.
The main treatment for types B and C is antiviral medication, which can decrease liver inflammation and reduce your chance of developing cirrhosis, a dangerous scarring of the liver. If you have a severe infection, you might require hospitalization; and if cirrhosis develops, you may need a liver transplant.
Living with hepatitis
Regular visits with Dr. Singh help you monitor your symptoms and track the progression of your hepatitis. He works with you to develop a treatment plan tailored to your needs.
Regular blood tests monitor your liver function. It’s important for you to take care of your body and to avoid excess alcohol consumption to reduce stress on your liver. Ask Dr. Singh about getting vaccinated for the types of hepatitis you don’t currently have.
How to avoid infecting others
Because hepatitis is a virus, it can easily be spread to others. People you live with or are in close contact with are at risk of getting hepatitis, and it’s important that they’re also under the care of a physician. Hepatitis vaccines can help them avoid contracting the virus.
Because the virus can spread easily through bodily fluids, don’t share razors, toothbrushes, needles, or other personal care items with others. Use condoms and other barriers with any sexual partners. You also shouldn’t donate blood, plasma, body organs, tissue, or sperm.
Hepatitis is a serious liver disease that can become dangerous if not addressed in a timely manner. Treatments help slow its progression, and regular medical monitoring is very important. If you’re concerned that you may have hepatitis, or if you need help with treatment, call or click today to schedule an appointment with Dr. Singh.