The word Hepatitis means inflammation of the liver. But that description is deceiving. In reality Hepatitis can make the liver swell and stop working. There are three main kinds of Hepatitis that affects liver function. Hepatitis A
is a virus that is contracted by coming in contact with someone who has it. You can get it from coming in contact with infected stool while changing a diaper, anal sex with the infected person or by touching the infected person. School children can get this and pass it through play. You can also get it by eating food prepared by the infected person. This is a large problem in developing countries. The symptoms are just like the flu and treatment is bed rest and medicine to treat the symptoms. You CAN be vaccinated against Hep A.Hepatitis B
is a virus that is spread through contact with an infected person's blood, semen, or other body fluid. Contact with the infected person by unprotected sex, sharing infected needles, body piercing with infected needles, getting pricked with an infected needle (health care workers), or sharing tooth brush or razors of the infected person. Mothers CAN give Hepatitis B to her baby at birth or through her breast milk. The symptoms are like the flu. Blood tests can tell doctors the seriousness of your infection. Biopsy's may be necessary to determine the level of your liver damage. Treatment is medication shots such as interferon and a liver transplant might be necessary. You CAN be vaccinated against Hepatitis B but you must have ALL THREE SHOTS to become fully protected.Hepatitis C
is a virus that is spread through contact with an infected person's blood. Contact with an infected needle while sharing for IV drug use, body piercing with infected needles, getting pricked with an infected needle (health care workers), or sharing tooth brush or razors of the infected person. Mothers CAN give Hepatitis C to her baby at birth if there is contact with the infected blood. There is very little possibility (5%) that breast feeding can pass the disease.
Prior to 1990, there were no tests for Hepatitis C. At that time the medical community called it Non-A Non-B Hepatitis. Because of the lack of an isolating protein test there was no way to remove the infected blood from the blood banks. During 1990 -- 1993 the HCV test that they rushed to use, was found to have false positives as well as false negatives. In 1994 the United States began using a new form of test which was much more accurate. Anyone who received a blood transfusion prior to 1994 is at risk of infection and should be tested.
The symptoms are like the flu that will not go away, chronic fatigue, as well as yellow eyes and skin. Blood tests can tell doctors the seriousness of your infection. Biopsy's may be necessary to determine the level of your liver damage. The current form of treatment is through medication shots such as interferon and a liver transplant might be necessary. You CANNOT be vaccinated against Hepatitis C.
More than 4 million Americans, and perhaps as many as 200 million people around the world, are currently infected with Hepatitis C. More than 80% of those who get Hepatitis C, will have the infection for life if it is not treated. Many will develop chronic, life threatening liver disease. In some cases they will have no symptoms until the disease progresses into a serious condition. The current treatments work effectively on 73% of patients. Still others who are treated with the current drugs available, will not improve.
When I found out that I had this virus, I was told a variety of different things. Some said I would die within a few years and some said it was going to be something I didn't even know I had. It was very disheartening to have so many misinformed doctors telling me so many different things.
My mission on SUITE 101 is to give you the best information available. There is only one way to beat this terrible disease... Fight with all your might! Too many times we don't take charge of our own health and if we don't who will!
I explore the treatments, herbal medicines, new experimental drugs (not always found in the US) as well as find out from you, the reader, what is working and what is not.