Hepatitis in Dallas, TX

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On a global scale, 290 million individuals are going about their lives not knowing that they have viral hepatitis. Hepatitis, at its most basic definition, is essentially inflammation or swelling of the liver. The most common forms are hepatitis A, hepatitis B, and hepatitis C. The three types of hepatitis mentioned here are named according to the strain of the virus that is the reason for the inflammation of the liver. Each individual form of hepatitis can almost be considered a unique disease since each form responds to separate therapies. If you or a family member has been diagnosed with or suspects you have a variation of hepatitis, contact Digestive Health Associates of Texas to find a location near you. Our skilled GI physicians regularly treat patients with hepatitis near Dallas, TX.

Hepatitis A (HAV) is quite communicable and typically affects people that consume beverages or foods that have been around fecal excrements or an individual that is positive for the disease. Although extremely transmissible, it is not as harmful compared to the other forms. HAV can be prevented with vaccination, and can be treated by a medical professional.

Patients with hepatitis A may have signs or symptoms, such as:

  • Loss of appetite
  • Yellow skin or eyes
  • Unintentional weight loss
  • Diarrhea
  • Dark urine
  • Pain in the abdominal area
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Fever
  • Fatigue

The standard treatment method for hepatitis A is to get plenty of rest, drink fluids, and avoid alcoholic beverages. The majority of cases of HAV will clear up on their own. To prevent HAV, patients can request a hepatitis A vaccine from your medical practitioner or one of our Dallas, TX gastroenterology facilities.

Hepatitis B (HBV) is a more serious variation of viral hepatitis. Left untreated, it can possibly cause liver failure and even cancer of the liver. Should an adult get HBV, their bodies can usually fight it off over a few months. Once the virus has waned, an immunity develops. If you are infected with HBV at birth, however, it is unlikely to subside. Hep B is generally spread via blood, saliva, sexual fluids, using the same needle as a person infected with the virus, or if your mother had hepatitis B while pregnant with you.

Common symptoms of hepatitis B consist of:

  • Aching joints
  • Persistent fatigue
  • Appetite loss
  • Vomiting
  • Jaundice
  • Light-colored stool
  • Fever
  • Pain in the abdominal area

If you may have been exposed to HBV, please see a healthcare provider or contact Digestive Health Associates of Texas as soon as you can. The earlier you undergo treatment, the better for your health. Your physician may recommend a vaccine for HBV and further antiviral drugs.

Generally passed on through bodily fluids (including blood), hepatitis C (HCV) is another viral infection that can injure a person's liver. Hepatitis C can manifest itself in two different types, acute hepatitis C or chronic hepatitis C.

  • Acute hepatitis C is less concerning and frequently lasts over a six-month timeframe. Following the six-month time period, the majority of people’s immune systems will overcome the virus.
  • Chronic hepatitis C occurs when a person's natural defenses are unable to fight off the viral infection in the first six months and the virus lingers in the body for a lengthier amount of time. This could cause lasting medical issues, such as liver cancer and liver cirrhosis.

Common symptoms of hepatitis C involve:

  • Jaundice (yellow skin and eyes, dark urine)
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Pain in the abdominal area
  • Clay-colored stool
  • Extreme exhaustion
  • Unwanted weight loss
  • Joint pain
  • Decreased appetite
  • Bleed easily
  • Bruise easily
  • Itchy skin
  • Swelling in the legs
  • Slurred speech
  • Confusion

The cure rate of hepatitis C is higher than 90%. The most common treatment options for hep C are:

  • Antiviral medications
  • Liver transplant (chronic hepatitis C)
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The greatest way to avoid contracting hepatitis A or B is to undergo vaccination for the viral infection. Our healthcare practitioners advise you have young children vaccinated for hepatitis A when they are between the ages of 12 months to 23 months, but patients can receive the vaccine at any point after that. Vaccination for hepatitis B is commonly given to newborns, but patients can be vaccinated at any point in life. There is no vaccine for hep C.

Additional healthy practices to avoid developing hepatitis include:

  • When having sex, use protection
  • Be sure any needles you use have been properly sterilized, such as when getting tattoos or piercings or if injecting illicit drugs
  • Before traveling, determine whether the location you are visiting has high incidences of hepatitis infection
  • Do not share personal hygiene products, such as razors, toothbrushes, etc.
  • Avoid consuming unclean food and water, eating uncooked meat, and purchasing food from street vendors
  • Be sure to always wash your hands with soap and water after coming into contact with any bodily fluids or using the bathroom

Although a hepatitis viral infection could potentially cause serious health conditions, such as cancer of the liver and liver failure, it can typically be treated with help from your gastroenterologist. Should you experience any troubling GI symptoms, such as the ones mentioned above, call Digestive Health Associates of Texas as soon as possible. As an experienced physician-led team of gastroenterology experts, we aim to provide exceptional, patient-centered services. Our team can help you find a GI specialist in your area so you can find relief from hepatitis.

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