HEPATITIS B AND C
Hepatitis B and C are both inflammatory conditions of the liver caused by viral infection. The inflammation causes serious liver damage and increases the risks of liver failure, cirrhosis or liver cancer.
Find Out More About Hepatitis B and C
What are Hepatitis B and C?
Hepatitis B and C are both inflammatory conditions of liver caused by viral infection. The inflammation causes serious liver damage and increases the risks of liver failure, cirrhosis or liver cancer.
What causes Hepatitis B and C?
Hepatitis B is caused by Hepatitis B virus HBV whereas Hepatitis C is caused by HCV. All the factors which act as sourced of transfer of virus, cause the infection. The common causes are as follows:
- Sexual contact
- Sharing of needles as in Intravenous drug users
- Accidental sticks from needles
- It can transfer from mother to child during birth (vertical transmission—mainly Hep B)
- Long periods of hemodialysis
- Tattooing with unsterile equipment
What are the signs and symptoms of Hepatitis B and C?
Let’s talk about both the infections individually.
HBV infection is also known as silent killer. It remains asymptomatic for years and continues to damage the liver silently. A patient with HBV infection presents with following signs and symptoms which develop after significant liver damage:
- Easy bleeding
- Easy bruising
- Poor appetite
- Dark-colored urine
- Itchy skin
- Ascites which is swollen and fluid filled abdomen
- Swelling in your legs
- Weight loss
- Hepatic encephalopathy which causes drowsiness, confusion and slurred speech
- Spider angiomas on skin which are spider-like blood vessels
The signs and symptoms of HBV usually appear after a period of one to four months of infection and are following:
Hepatitis B signs and symptoms may include:
- Abdominal pain
- Dark urine
- Joint pain
- Weakness and fatigue
- Loss of appetite
- Nausea and vomiting
How do we diagnose Hepatitis B and C?
The diagnosis of both types of hepatitis start with a complete medical history of the patient and then a thorough physical examination which includes looking for jaundice, wasting and so on. Further tests are done to confirm diagnosis which include:
- Blood tests
- Liver ultrasound
- Liver biopsy
How do we treat Hepatitis B and C?
The treatment regime has following components depending on the extent of damage and symptoms:
- Diet and lifestyle changes
- Antiviral medications
- Liver transplant
- Surveillance for Hepatocellular Carcinoma