Text Size:SmallerNormalLargerPrint PageE-mail Page

Hepatitis - Are you at risk??

Although there are three common types of hepatitis, they all have one thing in common. Hepatitis infects and causes inflammation in your liver. The type of hepatitis you contract determines the severity and the length of the disease.

Hepatitis A is a common type of hepatitis. It is usually contracted when you eat or drink something that has the virus in it. Hepatitis A is the least risky type because it usually gets better on its own. It also doesn't lead to long-term inflammation of your liver. That being said, about 20% of people who get Hepatitis A do get sick enough that they need to see a doctor and be treated. There is a vaccine that you can get to prevent the disease.

Hepatitis B is spread in many ways. You can get it from sharing needles when using street drugs or from having sex with someone who is sick. It can also be passed from a mother to her newborn baby at birth or soon afterward. Most people with Hepatitis B can get better on their own but there is a small percentage that can't shake the disease and become carriers. This means they can spread it to other people even though their own symptoms are in remission. There is also a vaccine for Hepatitis B to help prevent contracting the disease.

Hepatitis C is contracted by receiving contaminated blood or using dirty needles to inject illegal drugs or draw tattoos. Hepatitis C sometimes presents with mild or no symptoms. But in some cases, it leads to cirrhosis, a risky scarring of your liver. There is currently no vaccine for Hepatitis C at this time.

It is possible to have hepatitis and not have symptoms or have very mild ones at first. Sometimes the diagnosis is missed because symptoms will present a lot like flu symptoms. The most common symptoms for hepatitis are things like:

  • loss of appetite
  • fatigue
  • mild fever
  • muscle or joint aches
  • nausea and vomiting
  • pain in your belly

Always check with your physician if you have any signs of Hepatitis. Also make an appointment if a friend or family member comes down with the disease. There is a risk of being infected by them. Be on the lookout for symptoms if you travel to a country where the disease is common. Call your doctor or Sabetha Family Practice, (785) 284-2141 if you think you are showing signs of Hepatitis.