Hepatitis is a virus that causes an inflammation of the liver. The liver is an organ in the body that processes nutrients, filters the blood and fights infections. The most common forms of hepatitis are A, B, and C.
Hepatitis B and C are spread from person to person through contact with bodily fluids. Hepatitis A can be transmitted by coming in contact with food or objects that are contaminated, and can also be spread from person to person. There are ways to reduce the rate of transmission for the virus; here a few:
- Using sterile equipment for injections
- Practicing safe sex
- Encouraging people to receive appropriate vaccinations
Many people have the hepatitis virus and are unaware of it. It is possible to remain without symptoms for many years while the disease is slowly destroying the liver. When symptoms do occur, they include:
- Loss of appetite
- Abdominal pain
Blood tests are available that can detect the virus at an early stage. Early detection and treatment can lessen the effects of the virus. Medication exists that can cure hepatitis C and can control hepatitis B infections. When given properly, people are less likely to die from liver cancer and cirrhosis and also are less likely to transmit the disease to others. The hepatitis B vaccine is given in three doses over a 6 month period and it is recommended that the first dose is administered right after birth if possible. Mild cases of Hepatitis typically do not require treatment and most people who are infected recover without developing permanent liver damage. A vaccine is available for those who are at risk.
If you would like to schedule an appointment with a physician at Flushing Hospital, please call 718-670-5486.
All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.