Hepatitis is a potentially serious condition that causes inflammation of the liver. There are several forms of hepatitis, which can be contracted through a virus, sexual contact, alcoholism or an autoimmune disorder. The symptoms, treatment, and prognosis depend on the type of hepatitis, as well as other factors like the patient's overall health profile and lifestyle.
The most well known forms of Hepatitis are A, B, and C (there are also two other types, D and E). This category is known as viral hepatitis. In addition to viral, hepatitis can also develop from an autoimmune disorder, where the immune system attacks the liver. Alcohol abuse and side effects from certain medications and drugs can also lead to another form of hepatitis.
Hepatitis A is spread when food or water contaminated with fecal matter from a person with Hepatitis A is consumed. Hepatitis B is spread through contact with bodily fluids (blood, saliva, semen). Hepatitis C is also transmitted through bodily fluids, and is the most common type of viral hepatitis infection in the United States, affecting over two million people.
D is a very rare form of the virus that sometimes occurs in conjunction with B and is also contracted through bodily fluids. E is most common in the developing world, and is contracted by ingesting water contaminated with fecal matter. Autoimmune hepatitis results when the immune system mistakenly attacks liver cells.
The symptoms vary depending on the type of hepatitis (many people are unaware that they have contracted hepatitis and do not experience symptoms for years). The most common symptoms of viral hepatitis are:
If you are experiencing symptoms or believe you have come into contact with a strain of hepatitis, call (773) 238-1126 to schedule an appointment at Metropolitan Gastroenterology Consultants in the Beverly neighborhood of Chicago.
The best way to prevent against food and water borne hepatitis is to thoroughly wash the hands after using the bathroom, changing a diaper, and to exercise caution and avoid drinking tap water when traveling in high-risk regions. Practicing safe sex and avoiding high-risk behavior like drug use and excessive alcohol consumption can help to protect against the other strains of viral hepatitis.
Hepatitis A is common and typically resolves on its own without causing long-term side effects in healthy individuals. Medication, rest, and abstaining from alcohol are usually prescribed depending on the type of hepatitis.
Hepatitis Diagnosis and Treatment in Chicago
For more information on the signs, symptoms, and treatment options for hepatitis, contact Metropolitan Gastroenterology Consultants by calling (773) 238-1126 to schedule an appointment in the Beverly neighborhood of Chicago today.