Hepatitis means that the liver is inflamed. Liver inflammation can occur for several reasons, and there are different types of hepatitis. Hepatitis B and C result from viral infections. Hepatitis B and C are transmitted from an infected person to a non-infected person in blood or other body fluids, such as semen and vaginal secretions.

Hepatitis B and C may or may not cause symptoms. Chronic forms of these diseases can result in life-threatening medical complications and death. In some cases, medications can slow progression of the disease. A liver transplant is the only permanent treatment for total liver failure. There is a vaccine to prevent Hepatitis B. There is not a vaccine to prevent Hepatitis C.

Causes of Hepatitis

All symptoms from hepatitis strains are caused by liver inflammation and liver disease. You can get the different hepatitis viral infections in several ways. Hepatitis A and hepatitis B are contagious diseases.

Diagnosing Hepatitis

Hepatitis A usually can be identified with a blood test.  Central Florida Gastroenterology may use several tests for hepatitis B: to determine if you have it; if so, to what extent; and to see if you can pass it to others. Blood tests commonly tell the doctor what they need to know, although a biopsy of liver tissue also is a possibility.

Diagnosing hepatitis C requires several blood tests: to discover if you have the disease, to find out how badly you have it and to perform a genotype test to narrow the treatment options. Sometimes screening blood tests for hepatitis B and hepatitis C are performed because the symptoms don’t show up until damage to your liver has already been done.

Treating Hepatitis

There are vaccines for hepatitis A and hepatitis B that can prevent you from getting them. If you contract hepatitis A, there is no treatment, as your body can fight the disease on its own. During this time, you will likely have less energy and may be nauseous sometimes. Take care of yourself, drink plenty of fluids, and you will heal completely in a month or two.

Acute hepatitis B usually goes away after a short duration, so treatment is to control your symptoms during that time. Chronic hepatitis B, however, is more serious and may require strong antiviral drugs or even a liver transplant. Depending on your prognosis, hepatitis C may require only monitoring, strong antiviral drugs, or at worst, a liver transplant.