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Understanding Your Hepatitis Diagnosis

Understanding Your Hepatitis Diagnosis

Being diagnosed with hepatitis can be overwhelming and confusing. Suddenly, you have to navigate a world of medical terms, treatment options, and lifestyle changes. 

But understanding your diagnosis is the first step toward managing your health and feeling more in control. So, what exactly does your hepatitis diagnosis mean?

At the Rivas Digestive Center in Hollywood, Florida, board-certified gastroenterologist and hepatitis specialist John Rivas, MD, and our team are here to support you every step of the way. 

Our practice specializes in diagnosing and treating the different types of hepatitis, offering personalized care and comprehensive treatment plans tailored to your unique needs. Our goal is to help you understand your condition and provide you with the best possible care.

Keep reading as we break down what you need to know about your hepatitis diagnosis and the ways we can help. 

Hepatitis: An overview

Hepatitis means an inflammation of your liver, the organ that processes nutrients, filters the blood, and fights infections. 

This inflammation can be caused by viral infections, alcohol use, toxins, medications, or other medical conditions. 

Hepatitis can be acute (short-term) or chronic (long-term), and its severity can range from mild to severe.

There are several types of hepatitis, but the most common are hepatitis A, B, and C. Each type is caused by a different virus and has distinct modes of transmission, symptoms, and treatments.

All about hepatitis A

Hepatitis A is a highly contagious liver infection caused by the hepatitis A virus (HAV). It is most commonly spread through the ingestion of contaminated food or water or close contact with an infected person.

Keep in mind that vaccination against hepatitis A is available and highly effective in preventing this viral infection.

Symptoms of hepatitis A include:

Hepatitis A can also cause jaundice (yellowing of the skin and eyes).

Diagnosing and treating hepatitis A

Hepatitis A is diagnosed using a blood test that detects antibodies to the virus. The infection usually resolves on its own over a few weeks to months, and there is no specific antiviral treatment. 

Medical treatment focuses on managing symptoms and providing supportive care, including rest, hydration, and maintaining a healthy diet. 

All about hepatitis B

Hepatitis B is a serious liver infection caused by the hepatitis B virus (HBV). It can be spread through contact with infectious body fluids, such as blood, semen, or vaginal secretions. 

Hepatitis B can also be acute or chronic, with infection leading to more serious health issues like liver cirrhosis or liver cancer. This is why getting the hepatitis B vaccine is essential for long-term health. 

Symptoms of hepatitis B include:

Like hepatitis A, hepatitis B can also cause jaundice.

Diagnosing and treating hepatitis B

Hepatitis B is diagnosed through blood tests that detect the presence of the virus, its antibodies, or related antigens. 

Acute hepatitis B often resolves on its own, but chronic hepatitis B requires medical intervention. 

Treatment options include antiviral medications to reduce liver damage and regular monitoring to detect any progression of liver disease. 

All about hepatitis C

Hepatitis C is a liver infection caused by another virus: the hepatitis C virus (HCV). It is primarily spread through contact with contaminated blood, often through shared needles or inadequate sterilization of medical equipment. 

Hepatitis C can lead to both acute and chronic infection, with chronic hepatitis C being a leading cause of liver transplantation. Unfortunately, unlike hepatitis A and B, there is no vaccine for hepatitis C.

Symptoms of hepatitis C start 6-9 weeks after infection and are similar to those of hepatitis A and B and include:

As the disease progresses, you may also experience jaundice. 

Diagnosing and treating hepatitis

Hepatitis C is diagnosed through blood tests that detect HCV antibodies or viral RNA. Antiviral medications can effectively treat and often cure the infection when administered early. 

Hepatitis C treatment plans depend on the virus's genotype, the extent of liver damage, and other individual health factors.

Personalized treatment and support for hepatitis

At Rivas Digestive Center, Dr. Rivas and the team understand that managing hepatitis can be challenging. That’s why we provide comprehensive care to help you manage your condition effectively. 

Our providers offer personalized hepatitis treatment plans tailored to your specific needs, including antiviral medications, regular monitoring, lifestyle recommendations, and ongoing support.

If you have been diagnosed with hepatitis or are experiencing symptoms, schedule an appointment online or over the phone with Dr. Rivas at Rivas Digestive Center in Hollywood, Florida.

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