Millions of Americans are living with hepatitis, but only about half of them are aware of their condition. According to the World Health Organization, hepatitis types B and C are the leading causes of liver cirrhosis and liver cancer worldwide. Fortunately, such outcomes are preventable with proper medical care. Find out how to get tested and treated for every form of this cancer-causing illness.
What is Hepatitis?
Hepatitis is a condition characterized by inflammation of the liver. It is typically caused by one of five hepatitis viruses, but it can also result from liver infections, alcohol abuse and autoimmune diseases. In worst case scenarios, untreated hepatitis may lead to scarring, cirrhosis or even cancer of the liver.
What Are the Early Signs of Hepatitis Infection?
Infected individuals may have no initial symptoms. Others could experience fatigue, nausea, vomiting, abnormally dark urine or abdominal pain. Jaundice, or yellowing of the skin and eyes, can also be a symptom of acute hepatitis infection.
What are the Different Types of Hepatitis?
The hepatitis A virus is found in the feces of infected individuals. It is typically spread via the consumption of contaminated food or water, which is why rates of hepatitis A are higher in developing countries.
Hepatitis B spreads through exposure to body fluids such as blood and semen. Women with hepatitis B can transmit it to their infants during birth, and other adults can inadvertently infect babies if they have an open cut or wound. Consequently, the CDC now recommends that all children get vaccinated for hepatitis B at birth. Healthcare professionals who handle contaminated needles are also at a particularly high risk for the virus.
The hepatitis C virus is transmitted exclusively via exposure to infective blood. It can be sexually transmitted, but the virus is more typically spread through contaminated needles during medical procedures or intravenous drug use. Unfortunately, no vaccine for hepatitis C exists.
Hepatitis D only occurs in individuals who are already infected with the hepatitis B virus. Therefore, the hepatitis B vaccine prevents both conditions. Dual infection, on the other hand, can be life threatening.
Like the hepatitis A virus, hepatitis E is usually spread due to food or water contamination. Vaccines have been developed, but they are not available everywhere.
How is Hepatitis Diagnosed and Treated?
Hepatitis can be detected with a simple blood test. Some strains can clear up on their own, but others may require antiretroviral medications to circumvent serious liver complications.
Hepatitis Testing, Prevention and Treatment in Pearland, TX
Prime Urgent Care provides hepatitis testing and treatment to residents in Pearland and the Greater Houston area. We accept most major insurance providers, and we offer low out-of-pocket rates for patients without insurance. To get tested today, book an appointment online or just walk into our clinic for immediate medical care.