Are Your Symptoms Due to Hepatitis?

Millions of people in the United States have viral hepatitis and many may not even know it, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Depending on the cause, hepatitis symptoms may not occur until you’ve developed serious liver damage.

At GastroMed in Miami, Florida, our board-certified gastroenterologists offer advanced diagnostic testing to diagnose hepatitis and then provide the most effective treatment to prevent long-term liver damage.

To make sure you get the right diagnosis during the early stages of hepatitis, we want to share some of the symptoms you may experience so you’ll know what to look for. 

Overview of hepatitis

Hepatitis means inflammation of the liver. The inflammation may develop from many causes, and when severe and left untreated, it leads to permanent liver damage. 

You may develop hepatitis from:

A viral infection

There are many viral infections that cause hepatitis, including hepatitis A, B, C, D, and E. In the United States, hepatitis viruses A, B, and C are the most common. 

Hepatitis A is acute and doesn’t cause long-term health complications. However, hepatitis B and C may occur without causing symptoms initially and lead to chronic liver disease. 

Heavy alcohol use

Long-term heavy alcohol use produces toxic chemicals in the liver that lead to inflammation. Over time, the chemicals and inflammation destroy the liver, creating scar tissue that affects its normal function.

Toxicity

Drugs, chemicals, and poisonous substances may also lead to inflammation of the liver that causes permanent damage and impairs long-term liver function.

Autoimmune hepatitis

Hepatitis can develop from an autoimmune disorder in which your body’s own immune system mistakenly attacks and destroys the cells of the liver. 

The various symptoms of hepatitis

For many people, hepatitis may not cause symptoms until you have severe liver damage. Common signs and symptoms of hepatitis include:

With an acute hepatitis viral infection, symptoms may appear within 2-6 weeks of contracting the virus. However, with a chronic infection, your hepatitis may take years to appear.

If you have hepatitis symptoms or concerns you may have contracted a viral infection, we can help you get the right diagnosis and treatment. 

With advances in medical care, many chronic forms of viral hepatitis can be treated and cured. 

Getting the right diagnosis and treatment

To determine if your symptoms are due to hepatitis, we conduct comprehensive evaluations using our state-of-the-art diagnostic tools. In addition to reviewing your symptoms and medical history, we also run detailed blood work and may request diagnostic imaging to get a better look at your liver.

To assess liver health and the extent of liver damage, we also perform a liver biopsy.

Once we determine you have hepatitis and know the cause of the liver inflammation, we provide the most effective treatments to prevent further liver damage and improve liver health. For acute hepatitis, we may recommend rest and fluids and have you return to the office to monitor your liver and overall health. 

For chronic hepatitis infections, we prescribe antiviral medication to eliminate the virus and reduce your risk of serious, long-term liver disease.

We also offer vaccinations to prevent infection by the viruses that cause hepatitis.

For patients with irreversible liver damage and liver disease, we may recommend a liver transplant. 

Hepatitis symptoms may be mild and go unnoticed. However, if you have concerns about hepatitis, or have symptoms that indicate there may be something wrong with your liver, contact us by calling the Miami office nearest you, or schedule an appointment online today. Our gastroenterology experts can provide the care you need to prevent further liver problems. 

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