Hepatitis in Connecticut
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What is hepatitis?
Around the world, almost 300 million individuals are going about their lives unaware that they have viral hepatitis. Hepatitis, broken down to its most basic definition, is inflammation or swelling of the liver. The most common types are hepatitis A, hepatitis B, and hepatitis C. These three types of hepatitis are defined according to the strain of the virus that leads to liver inflammation. Each form of hepatitis can be regarded as a unique disease, given that each variation of infection responds to different interventions. If you or someone you love may have or has been diagnosed with a form of hepatitis, don't hesitate to get in touch with Connecticut GI today. Our experienced GI specialists often treat patients with hepatitis in Connecticut.
Hepatitis A (HAV)
Hepatitis A (HAV) is incredibly infectious and generally impacts those that consume foods or drinks that have been in contact with fecal waste or another person who has been infected by the virus. While incredibly contagious, it is not exceptionally dangerous compared to the other forms. Hepatitis A can be avoided with a vaccine and can be addressed by a medical provider.
If you have hepatitis A, you may experience symptoms that include:
- Dark-colored urine (Jaundice)
- Unexplained weight loss
- Appetite loss
- Vomiting and nausea
- Pain in the abdominal area
- A yellowing of the eyes and/or skin
The most common treatment approach for hepatitis A is to rest, drink fluids, and avoid alcohol consumption. The majority of cases of hepatitis A will clear up on their own. To avoid getting hepatitis A, you can get a hepatitis A vaccination from your healthcare provider or our Connecticut gastroenterology team.
Hepatitis B (HBV)
The variation of the virus referred to as hepatitis B (HBV) is a more concerning type of hepatitis. When left untreated, it can result in liver cancer and liver failure. If adults get HBV, their bodies can often fight it off over the course of a few months. When the virus has abated, immunity develops. If people get hepatitis B during birth, however, it will most likely be chronic. HBV is most commonly passed through blood, saliva, sexual fluids, using a contaminated needle, or transmitted at birth.
Some of the common symptoms of hepatitis B consist of:
- Appetite loss
- Abdominal pain
- Light-colored stool
- Persistent fatigue
- Aching joints
If you have possibly been infected by the hep B virus, it is important to see your healthcare provider or contact your closest Connecticut GI location as soon as you can. The quicker you undergo care, the better. Your provider may recommend a vaccine for HBV and additional antiviral prescriptions.
Hepatitis C (HCV)
Generally carried via bodily fluids (like blood), hepatitis C (HCV) is another type of viral infection that can damage a person's liver. The conditions can manifest in two forms: acute hepatitis C or chronic hepatitis C.
- Acute hepatitis C is less concerning and commonly takes six months to subside. Most people’s natural immune response will defeat the viral infection in six months.
- Chronic hepatitis C happens when the immune system cannot stave off the infection over the first six months, and the virus lingers in the body for an extended amount of time. This, unfortunately, may cause chronic medical issues, like cirrhosis of the liver and liver cancer.
Common hepatitis C symptoms include:
- Joint pain
- Extreme fatigue
- Clay-colored stool
- Jaundice (yellow eyes and skin, dark urine)
- Bruise easily
- Nausea and vomiting
- Swelling in the legs
- Abdominal pain
- Loss of appetite
- Slurred speech
- Itchy skin
- Bleed easily
- Unwanted weight loss
The cure rate of HCV is greater than 90%. Common treatment options for hepatitis C involve:
- Antiviral medications
- Liver transplant (chronic hepatitis C)
How can I avoid getting hepatitis?
The most effective prevention against developing hepatitis A or B is to be vaccinated for the infection. It is the medical community's recommendation to have children vaccinated for hepatitis A between the ages of 12 months to 23 months, but you can get the vaccine at any age after that. The hepatitis B vaccine is commonly given to newborns, but you can have the vaccine at any point in life. There is no vaccination process for hep C.
Further healthy ways to avoid contracting hepatitis include:
- When having sex, use protection
- Prior to traveling, determine whether the place you are going has elevated rates of hepatitis infection
- Be sure to always wash your hands with soap and water after coming into contact with any bodily fluids or using the bathroom
- Ensure any needles you use are sterilized, such as when getting tattoos or piercings or if utilizing illicit drugs
- Avoid consuming uncooked meat and unclean food or water and purchasing food from street vendors
- Do not share personal hygiene products like razors, toothbrushes, etc.
Advanced treatments for patients with hepatitis
Even though hepatitis could result in concerning medical problems, including loss of liver function and cancer of the liver, it is treatable with help from your gastroenterologist. Should you experience any distressing GI symptoms, such as those discussed above, please promptly call a Connecticut GI location. As a skilled physician-led network of gastroenterology specialists, we are committed to delivering safe, patient-centered care. For more information about the treatments available for all variations of hepatitis in Connecticut, talk to our friendly support staff today.
I had seen Dr Goldman for years and recently Dr Coll for the first time because of Dr Goldman’s retirement. Dr Coll was great personable easy to talk to, very professional and I felt extremely confident in his care..He explained everything including the new advancements in field really making me feel very comfortable in a procedure that’s not the most comfortable of procedures to begin with. I would highly recommend him.
I recently had an appointment for my annual check up with Dr Abay. Everything went well and smooth.
Dr. Einstein was great! My colonoscopy was over and done with before I even knew it. Completely easy and painless. He took the time to explain the procedure and answer all of my questions.
Excellent Dr who never rushes my visits, offers good advice, and is very thorough. Highly recommend him and his staff.
Good doctor I don’t feel any pain after the colonoscopy