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Living with Hepatitis

Living with Hepatitis

Liver inflammation, called hepatitis, can be caused by drinking too much alcohol, having certain medical conditions (such as an autoimmune response), or taking certain medications, but the most common reason for liver inflammation is the hepatitis virus. 

Because untreated hepatitis can lead to serious complications, namely cirrhosis of the liver and liver cancer, it’s important to seek medical attention from a physician who is knowledgeable about this complicated disease and experienced in treating hepatitis patients successfully.

In the Beverly area of Chicago, Illinois, Dr. Darrien Gaston at Metropolitan Gastroenterology Consultants certainly fits the bill. He is an award-winning, board-certified gastroenterologist with nearly three decades of experience delivering high quality personalized care to thousands of satisfied patients

If you have hepatitis, or think you might, you can trust Dr. Gaston to help you manage your symptoms, protect your loved ones, and live an active, fulfilling life despite the disease. 

More than one type of hepatitis

All told, there are five types of hepatitis, but two (D and E) are quite rare. Each type is the result of a different virus, comes from varied sources, and they are transmitted differently. 

If you have an acute form of hepatitis, you may notice the symptoms right away, but chronic hepatitis often does damage to your liver before you see the outward signs. When you do experience symptoms, you can expect any of the following:

If you ignore the signs and don’t get treatment, you may start to notice that your skin and the whites of your eyes have turned yellowish.

How to treat hepatitis

Hepatitis A and the acute form of hepatitis B typically resolve on their own after a bout of flu-like illness. However, the chronic forms need medical treatment that includes regular monitoring to evaluate whether the medications are working or need to be adjusted. 

If you develop liver problems, such as cirrhosis, liver disease, or liver cancer, you may be a good candidate for a liver transplant. 

Dr. Gaston may administer FDA-approved medications to protect your liver. With chronic hepatitis of any type, you can expect months of treatment, with the possibility of a lifetime of medication and monitoring.

How to live with hepatitis

The good news is that hepatitis medications are very effective and can help you safeguard your liver and manage your symptoms. In addition to medical treatment, there are several things you can do to enhance your health and make living with hepatitis easier.

Encourage those you live and work with to get vaccinated

The hepatitis virus is easily transmitted to others, so it’s a good idea for those you come into contact with to get vaccinated. To date, there are only vaccines available for hepatitis A and B. Most infants these days receive the hep B vaccine soon after birth. Adults who weren’t vaccinated as a child can still get the shot. 

Take care of your liver

Since your liver is responsible for filtering out all the toxins you inject, ingest, breathe in, or drink, you need to monitor what goes into your body diligently. Hepatitis compromises your liver’s ability to do its job efficiently, so avoid anything that tasks it, including alcohol, smoking, and recreational drugs.

Practice safe sex

You can pass your hepatitis virus to anyone you have sex with, so make sure they are vaccinated and get tested. Using a condom can prevent transmission.

Monitor your mental health

There’s a correlation between emotional disorders and hepatitis C that you shouldn’t ignore. If you suffer from depression or anxiety, you’re 9 times more likely to get hepatitis C. And if you have hepatitis, you’re more likely to develop one of these mental illnesses due to the perceived stigma and the way others react to hearing you have it. 

Watch out for wounds

Minor cuts and scrapes used to be no big deal, but with hepatitis, you have to be very careful about exposing open wounds to others. Cover any cuts with a bandage, and don’t ever share your razor or toothbrush.

For more tips on living with hepatitis and for treatments that can help you fight the virus, schedule an appointment online or call our office today. You can live well with hepatitis.

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