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Sellersville, PA 18960
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Hepatitis

Hepatitis is any inflammation of the liver. This inflammation can be caused by alcohol, drugs or viral infections. Viral hepatitis is separated into many types, the most common are types A, B, and C. In addition there are types D, E, G and other viruses that cause liver infection. Autoimmune hepatitis is when the body's own immune system attacks the cells of the liver.

Hepatitis A virus is contracted through contaminated food or water. It produces an acute infection that most people fully recover from. The hepatitis A vaccine has recently been developed to prevent the disease.

Hepatitis B virus is contracted through direct contact with blood. People with hepatitis B can become extremely ill and may develop a chronic condition that damages their liver. Most people contract hepatitis B through sexual contact or used needles, but healthcare workers, correctional officers and people who travel to Third World countries are also at risk.

Hepatitis C may be contracted through sexual contact, but the virus is usually transmitted by people sharing used needles; or through blood transfusions that were performed prior to when screening became available in the 1990's . However, doctors don't really know why some patients acquire this disease. Many people with hepatitis C develop cirrhosis of the liver and become chronically ill.

Autoimmune Hepatitis is a serious condition where the body's immune system damages the liver. People who develop this condition often have a genetic susceptibility, but certain viruses, bacteria, drugs and environmental toxins are what triggers the immune system's attack on the liver.

  • Diagnosis: To prevent the spread of the disease, diagnosis is critical. A person with acute hepatitis will have infectious blood and body fluids while they suffer from the disease. People with chronic hepatitis and some people who had hepatitis B or C will be infectious for life. Whenever hepatitis is suspected, your Bux-Mont physician will perform blood tests to diagnose the problem.
  • Treatment: Not all forms of viral hepatitis can be cured, but treatment is available to reduce the severity and risk of complications for chronic viral hepatitis. Your Bux-Mont physician will advise you, and prescribe appropriate treatment for your disease. There is a hepatitis B vaccine that should be administered to anyone who is at risk of developing the disease. Medications which slow down the overactive immune system are the primary treatment for autoimmune hepatitis.