More than two million Americans live with viral hepatitis, and many of them don’t realize anything is wrong. At Northern Medical Group Gastroenterology Division, the team of board-certified gastroenterologists provides comprehensive diagnosis and treatment for all types of hepatitis at their offices in Poughkeepsie, Highland, and Fishkill, New York. To schedule an appointment, book online or call the office nearest you today.
Hepatitis is an umbrella term that refers to inflammation of your liver. There are several types of hepatitis. Most occur due to a viral infection, but others are the result of medications, drugs, toxins, or alcohol.
You can also develop hepatitis due to an autoimmune response. Regardless of the type of hepatitis you have, it’s important to seek treatment.
Common symptoms of hepatitis include:
As hepatitis progresses, you might notice your skin and eyes appear yellow, a condition known as jaundice.
The team at Northern Medical Group Gastroenterology Division treats several types of hepatitis, including:
Hepatitis A is a viral infection transmitted through contaminated food or water sources.
Hepatitis B is a viral infection spread through contaminated bodily fluids like blood, semen, or vaginal secretions. It can also be transmitted through the use of hypodermic needles or razors.
Hepatitis C is also transmitted through sexual intercourse or drug use. It’s the leading bloodborne viral infection in America.
Hepatitis D is a viral infection transmitted through contaminated blood. It’s incredibly rare and only occurs in people who already have Hepatitis B.
Hepatitis E spreads through contaminated water sources. It mainly occurs in areas of the world with poor sanitation and typically results after ingesting fecal matter. In America, this type of hepatitis is quite rare.
Autoimmune hepatitis occurs when your immune system identifies your liver as harmful and begins attacking it. This causes persistent inflammation and prevents your liver from functioning as it should.
If you drink alcohol excessively or are exposed to certain toxins, it can cause severe inflammation of your liver. Over time, this can lead to cirrhosis of the liver and permanent damage.
To diagnose hepatitis, the team at Northern Medical Group Gastroenterology Division conducts a physical exam, reviews your medical history, and asks about your lifestyle and symptoms. They also order several lab panels, including liver function and blood tests.
If the team suspects an underlying problem, they might recommend an abdominal ultrasound. An ultrasound uses high-frequency soundwaves to provide detailed images of your liver and can detect tumors, excess fluid, or other abnormalities.
Treatment for hepatitis depends on the type you have and the severity of your symptoms.
Hepatitis A, B, and E typically resolve on their own. There are vaccinations for Hepatitis A and Hepatitis B that can prevent infection. You can also prevent Hepatitis D by receiving a Hepatitis B vaccine.
Hepatitis C requires treatment with antiviral medication. If you develop cirrhosis or other, more serious side effects, a liver transplant may be necessary.
If you’re concerned about your risk of hepatitis or need expert treatment, schedule an appointment at Northern Medical Group Gastroenterology Division. Book a consultation online or call the office nearest you today.