Hepatitis in Little Rock, AR
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What is hepatitis?
Around the globe, nearly 300 million people are going about their lives without the knowledge that they have a condition known as viral hepatitis. Hepatitis, broken down to its most simple definition, is inflammation or swelling of the liver. The most common types are hepatitis A, hepatitis B, and hepatitis C. These three variations of hepatitis are defined in reference to the type of virus that results in the inflammation of the liver. Each variation of viral hepatitis can nearly be regarded as a unique disease given that each type responds to distinct treatment approaches. If you or a member of your family may have, or have been diagnosed with a type of hepatitis, get in touch with GastroArkansas. Our experienced GI experts treat patients with hepatitis in Little Rock, AR.
Hepatitis A (HAV)
The type known as hepatitis A (HAV) is known to be extremely transmittable and typically infects individuals that ingest food or beverages that have been exposed to fecal excrements or another individual that has the disease. While extremely infectious, it is not as dangerous when compared to the other forms. Hepatitis A is preventable by a vaccine and can be addressed by a medical practitioner.
If you have hepatitis A, you could have symptoms that include:
- Abdominal pain
- Dark-colored urine (Jaundice)
- Appetite loss
- Vomiting and nausea
- Unwanted weight loss
- A yellowing of the eyes and/or skin
The standard treatment intervention for hepatitis A is to rest, stay well-hydrated, and avoid alcoholic drinks. The majority of cases of hepatitis A will clear up on their own. To avoid contracting hepatitis A, you can schedule a hepatitis A vaccination from your doctor or our Little Rock, AR gastroenterology practice.
Hepatitis B (HBV)
The variation of the virus referred to as hepatitis B (HBV) is a more serious type of viral hepatitis. In the absence of medical care, it can potentially lead to liver failure and even liver cancer. If adults get HBV, their bodies can often fight it off over the course of a few months. Once the virus has waned, an immunity develops. When people get hepatitis B during birth, however, the condition is unlikely to subside. HBV is typically transmitted through saliva, sexual fluids, blood, using a contaminated needle, or if your mother had hepatitis B while pregnant with you.
Common symptoms and signs of hepatitis B involve:
- Appetite loss
- Aching joints
- Abdominal pain
- Chronic fatigue
- Light-colored stool
If you have been infected by the hepatitis B virus, please see your physician or contact GastroArkansas as soon as you can. The earlier you get care, the better. Your healthcare practitioner will likely advise a vaccine for hepatitis B and further antiviral medication.
Hepatitis C (HCV)
Commonly transmitted through bodily fluids (such as blood), hepatitis C (HCV) is an additional virus that can cause harm to the liver. It can develop into two separate types, acute hepatitis C or chronic hepatitis C.
- Acute hepatitis C is less serious and commonly lasts for six months. Following the six-month time period, the majority of individuals' natural immune response will overcome the viral infection.
- Chronic hepatitis C develops when a patient's body cannot stave off the viral infection within the first six months and the virus lingers in the body for an extended timeframe. This may result in chronic medical concerns, such as liver cirrhosis or liver cancer.
The most common hepatitis C signs and symptoms involve:
- Appetite loss
- Nausea and vomiting
- Clay-colored stool
- Itchy skin
- Bruise easily
- Bleed easily
- Slurred speech
- Jaundice (yellow skin and eyes, dark urine)
- Abdominal pain
- Severe exhaustion
- Joint pain
- Undesired weight loss
- Swelling in the legs
The treatment cure rate of hepatitis C is over 90%. Routine treatments for HCV include:
- Antiviral medications
- Liver transplant (chronic hepatitis C)
How can I protect against hepatitis?
The most effective method of prevention against getting hepatitis A or B is to get vaccinated for the disease. It is medical professionals' advice to have young children vaccinated for hepatitis A between the ages of 12 months to 23 months, but individuals can also have the vaccine at any age after that. Vaccination for hepatitis B is commonly given to newborns; however, individuals can have the vaccine at any point in life. There is no current vaccination process for hepatitis C.
Other healthy practices to avoid contracting hepatitis are listed below:
- Do not share personal hygiene items, like toothbrushes, razors, etc.
- Make certain any needles you use are properly sterilized, such as when getting tattoos or piercings or if utilizing illicit drugs
- Avoid eating uncooked meat, consuming unclean water and food, and eating food from street vendors
- If traveling, check if the location you are going has high levels of hepatitis infection
- When having sex, use protection
- Make sure to always wash your hands with soap and water after touching any bodily fluids or using the restroom
Get treatment for hepatitis
Although a hepatitis viral infection could lead to concerning medical conditions, including loss of liver function and cancer of the liver, treatment can be obtained with help from a gastrointestinal specialist. If you are having any unusual gastrointestinal symptoms, like any of the symptoms mentioned above, get in touch with GastroArkansas promptly. As a leading physician-led team of gastroenterologists, we endeavor to provide exceptional, patient-centric services. To further explore the treatments available for all variations of hepatitis in Little Rock, AR, speak with our caring support staff today.
Dr. Robertson was very nice and polite and answered all my questions. I highly recommend him
Dr Johnson was very informative and professional during my visits. He is very thorough and takes the time to answer any and all questions. I am absolutely please with the care I have received from him!
Very knowledgeable and listens..
Everyone was so courteous and friendly! Though I was nervous and anxious about the procedure, by the time I was about to be given medication to put me to sleep, I was very calm and relaxed. My prep nurse was a jewel! Tiffany, James, Valentina & Doctor Gibbs, took excellent care of me! Thank you all for an excellent experience at GastroArkansas.
I had a great experience with Doctor Davis, the staff was pleasant, professional and informative, I highly recommend Gastro Arkansas for your next checkup!