Hepatitis

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    ASudeepta Varma, MD, Psychiatry, answered
    What are some of the emotional aspects of living with Hepatitis C?
    Living with Hepatitis C can be challenging; many patients feel helpless, and there is a stigma assigned to the condition. Watch psychiatrist Sudeepta Varma, MD, discuss the emotional issues that Hep C patients experience and solutions that can help.
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    Hepatitis C is the leading cause of liver transplantation. Chronic HCV infection can lead to cirrhosis, liver cancer and liver failure.
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    Here's how you can stay healthy if you are living with hepatitis C:
    • Eat a healthy diet, stay physically active, see a doctor on a regular basis, and ask if you could benefit from new and better treatments.
    • Talk to your doctor before taking over-the-counter medicines and avoid alcohol because they can cause liver damage.
    • Reduce the risk of transmission to others by not donating blood or sharing personal items that might come into contact with blood.
    (The presence of the CDC logo and CDC content on this page should not be construed to imply endorsement by the U.S. government of any commercial products or services, or to replace the advice of a medical professional. The mark “CDC” is licensed under authority of the PHS.)
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    The following people should be tested for hepatitis C:
    • Born from 1945 through 1965
    • Have received blood products with clotting factor before 1987
    • Have received blood transfusion or organ transplant before July 1992
    • Have ever injected drugs, even if only one time
    • Have HIV
    • Have been on kidney dialysis for several years
    • Are health or public safety workers who have been stuck with a needle or other sharp object with blood from a person with hepatitis C or unknown hepatitis C status
    • Born to a mother with hepatitis C
    (The presence of the CDC logo and CDC content on this page should not be construed to imply endorsement by the U.S. government of any commercial products or services, or to replace the advice of a medical professional. The mark “CDC” is licensed under authority of the PHS.)
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    About 3 million adults in the United States are infected with the hepatitis C virus, and most are baby boomers. Up to three out of four people who are infected don't know they have hepatitis C, so they aren't getting the necessary medical care. Baby boomers -- anyone born from 1945 through 1965 -- should get tested for hepatitis C.

    (The presence of the CDC logo and CDC content on this page should not be construed to imply endorsement by the U.S. government of any commercial products or services, or to replace the advice of a medical professional. The mark “CDC” is licensed under authority of the PHS.)
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    A follow up test is needed after a hepatitis C antibody test, but only if the antibody test is positive. The hepatitis C antibody test can tell if you have ever been infected, but cannot tell whether you are still infected. Only a different follow-up blood test can determine if you are still infected. So that’s why the follow-up test is important. Without the follow-up test, a person will not know if they still have hepatitis C and cannot get the medical care they need.  And new CDC data shows only half of people with a positive hepatitis C antibody test had the follow-up test reported to the health department. The other half did not have a follow-up test reported, although some of them may have beentested.

    (The presence of the CDC logo and CDC content on this page should not be construed to imply endorsement by the U.S. government of any commercial products or services, or to replace the advice of a medical professional. The mark “CDC” is licensed under authority of the PHS.)
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    AScripps Health answered

    Infectious hepatitis A is a food- or water-borne disease (sometimes fatal) that attacks the liver. Immunization fully protects against the disease and should be taken by nearly all international travelers.

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    AMichael Roizen, MD, Internal Medicine, answered
    If you're a baby boomer, get tested for hepatitis C, get treated, and get on it today! The reason why is people born between 1945 and 1965 are the segment of the population most likely to have hepatitis C and yet most have no idea they're infected.

    Hepatitis C takes its time chipping away at the liver. Decades can pass without any noticeable symptoms, which range from fatigue and easy bruising to light-colored stools. During that time an infected person may unknowingly pass the infection to others through contact with an infected blood (sharing a needle, toothbrush, or razor), or sexual activity. The newly infected person may then unknowingly pass it along, too, and that cycle can repeat over and over. See why we have a problem? (By the way, your hep C risk goes up if you have had multiple sex partners, used illegal drugs, or had a blood transfusion before 1992.)

    Hepatitis C causes liver disease 70% to 85% of the time and can trigger liver disease, including cirrhosis and liver cancer. The good news is that with treatment, many cases can be cured, so go to your doctor for a simple one-time blood test. It checks for antibodies to the hepatitis C virus. If you've got the insidious bug, you need to know what subtype of the infection you have so you get the most effective treatment possible. Knowledge is power — the power to protect your health and the health of those with whom you come in contact.
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    AHealthwise answered

    If you see a person with hepatitis B become unconscious, call 911 or other emergency services.

    Call a doctor right away if you have been diagnosed with hepatitis B and you have severe dehydration or these signs of liver failure:

    • Extreme irritability.
    • Trouble thinking clearly.
    • Extreme sleepiness.
    • Swelling of the arms, legs, hands, feet, belly or face.
    • Heavy bleeding from the nose, mouth or rectum (including blood in the stool), or under the skin.
    • Yellowing of the skin and the whites of the eyes.

    Call to make an appointment if:

    • You have risk factors for hepatitis B, such as handling blood or body fluids as a routine part of your job or having many sex partners.
    • You have any symptoms of hepatitis B.
    • Someone in your household has been diagnosed with hepatitis B.
    • Your sex partner has been diagnosed with hepatitis B.
    • You have been bitten by or exposed to the blood or body fluids (such as semen or vaginal fluids, including menstrual blood) of someone who has hepatitis B.

    Watchful waiting: Watchful waiting is a period of time during which you and your doctor observe your symptoms or condition without using medical treatment. Because of the need to prevent the spread of hepatitis B, watchful waiting isn't advised if you have symptoms of the virus or if you think you have come in contact with the virus.

    Who to see: Hepatitis B usually can be diagnosed by:
    • Family medicine doctors.
    • Pediatricians.
    • Internists.
    • Physician assistants.
    • Nurse practitioners.
    These specialists may work with your doctor to plan treatment:
    • Gastroenterologist
    • Hepatologist
    • Infectious disease specialist


    This information does not replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any warranty or liability for your use of this information. To learn more visit Healthwise.org

    © Healthwise, Incorporated.

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    ARealAge answered

    The most common screening test for detecting hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection is a blood test that searches for the presence of hepatitis B surface antigen (HBsAg). The presence of this antigen (a foreign molecule capable of inducing a protective response from the body) shows that a hepatitis B viral infection is present or that vaccination against HBV has been successful.