Hepatitis is a general word for liver inflammation. While liver inflammation can be caused by alcoholism or autoimmune disorders, the majority of cases are the result of viral infections.
Thankfully for those with viral hepatitis B and C, the diseases are treatable and new breakthroughs are happening all the time.
There are five forms of viral hepatitis, indicated by the letters A through E. The most serious infections are Hep B and Hep C; these two viruses are the most likely to develop into a chronic illness. Chronic infections develop when your body cannot fully fight off a virus. When a virus becomes chronic, unless there is a cure, patients will likely have to treat the infection with medication for the rest of their lives.
Hep A and E are almost always acute infections, which means your body is normally able to overcome them entirely on its own. Hep D is a strange case; the infection only occurs in people who already have Hep B. Because of access to treatment for hepatitis B, the D strain is very rare in the United States.
Serge Lartchenko, MD, treats many cases of liver infection and has the skills to provide you a treatment plan that works with your needs. Texas Infectious Disease Institute is ready to help you. Schedule an appointment now.
What Are the Most Important Things to Know About Hepatitis?
At Texas Infectious Disease Institute, our focus is on Hepatitis B and C. Other forms of liver infection are rare and easier for your body to handle on its own. Regardless, if you believe you have any variety of hepatitis, you should speak with a doctor immediately.
Most of the symptoms are the same across hepatitis infections. Symptoms alone are rarely enough to determine your infection, so please speak with a physician if you experience any of the following:
- Abdominal pain
- Dark urine
- Joint pain
- Loss of appetite
Both Hepatitis B and C have similar risk factors. You should be aware of the risk of infection if you:
- Share (or have shared) needles for drug use
- Are (or have been) sexually active with multiple partners (especially penetrative anal sex)
- Receive (or have received) medical treatment in another country
Untreated hepatitis can develop into liver scarring and eventually require a liver transplant. Other possible complications include liver cancer and liver failure. Treatment has made these complications much less common, but effective treatment is needed to lower the risk of these issues from developing.
What Are the Differences Between Hepatitis B & C?
Hepatitis C is the most common form of liver infection in the US and worldwide. A sizable portion of cases are exclusively acute (20-30% in adults), but more commonly this infection will become chronic. Newer options for treating Hep C have increased the cure rate of treatments to 96 to 98%. There are options that have the potential to completely relieve you of your liver infection, if effective. No longer is Hep C the lifelong disease it once was.
The main things that make Hep B unique is the availability of a vaccine, lower likelihood of progressing into a chronic infection and the lack of fully curing treatments. Hep B is less common overall than Hep C because the rate of chronic infection is only around 10%. There are options to fully suppress Hep B, but it is harder to completely eradicate.
Where Can I Get Hepatitis Treatment?
Treatment for all kinds of hepatitis is rapidly improving. At Texas Infectious Disease Institute, we are committed to remaining on the cutting edge of infection treatment. Treatment mostly revolves around antivirals, but Dr. Lartchenko will be able to provide you with a personalized treatment plan based on how advanced your infection is. North Dallas should feel solid in their treatment options for hepatitis. Texas Infectious Disease Institute is ready to assist you in overcoming your condition. Schedule an appointment now.