The word hepatitis literally means inflammation of the liver. The cause of the hepatitis is always the first question. Is it a virus, a drug, alcohol, or maybe an autoimmune or a metabolic condition – some of which are inherited conditions. So the etiology or the cause of hepatitis needs to be discovered first. Blood tests, radiologic exams or a liver biopsy can help us to identify the cause of hepatitis and the extent of the liver damage. Because the liver is a vital organ that filters blood, processes nutrients, stores vitamins, minerals and extra calories in the form of glycogen and fat; and plays an important role in the fights against infections, when it is inflamed the whole body suffers. The major cause of hepatitis is a virus. The most common types of viral hepatitis are Hepatitis A, Hepatitis B, and Hepatitis C.
Hepatitis A is highly contagious and is usually transmitted when a person ingests contaminated food with tiny amounts of fecal matter. Although Hepatitis A does cause severe liver inflammation and symptoms in 80 percent of adults, the majority of children who get acute infection don’t have symptoms.
The Hepatitis A virus typically doesn’t cause any long-term problems or complications. But according to the CDC, 10 – 15 percent of people with hepatitis A will have symptoms that last a long time or come back over a six to nine-month period. In rare situations, some people may have liver failure and require a transplant or die.
The Hepatitis B virus is transmitted when blood, semen, or another body fluid from an infected person enters the body of a non-infected person. This can happen through sexual contact, from mother to baby at birth, or by sharing needles, syringes, or other drug injection paraphernalia.
Although few adults experience acute Hepatitis B, they tend to develop immunity against the virus. However, when infection occurs at a young age, it becomes chronic. Chronic Hepatitis B can lead to serious health issues, like cirrhosis or liver cancer.
Hepatitis C is a blood-borne virus that leads to chronic infection in 70 – 85 percent of individuals, the majority of whom may not be aware of it because they develop no symptoms. However, chronic Hepatitis C is a serious disease that can result in long-term health problems such as liver cirrhosis, or cancer which leads to death.
A person contracts the hepatitis C virus by coming into contact with infectious fluids and secretions from someone else who is already infected with hepatitis C virus. Today, the majority of hepatitis C cases result from sharing drug injecting paraphernalia.
SCLC’s team of physicians, nurse practitioners, and physician assistants have extensive training and experience in taking care of patients and their families with viral hepatitis.
Combining our extensive experience with the many treatment options at our disposal, we routinely customize a treatment plan that fits the individual needs of our patient while taking into account their other medical conditions. and comorbidities.