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Hepatitis A

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Hepatitis A is a liver infection which is considered very contagious and dangerous. While other forms of hepatitis are generally considered more serious, hepatitis A is still a dangerous disease, affecting the liver’s ability to perform regular functions and causing serious inflammation of the liver. Hepatitis A may leave the body without ever afflicting serious harm on the liver, or it may cause permanent liver damage as well increase the risk for contracting other forms of hepatitis.

HEPATITIS A SYMPTOMS

Children infected with hepatitis A are likely to experience very mild symptoms, while adolescents and adults are more likely to experience severe symptoms. Some patients will be fortunate enough to never experience any symptoms and may never even know they were afflicted with the disease. The majority of patients experience fatigue, low grade fever, dark urine, loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain especially in the location of the liver, muscle pain, and itching. The onset of symptoms typically overcomes a patient very quickly and many patients mistakenly believe they are suffering from the flu. Some patients with hepatitis A will develop jaundice while the majority won’t.

The liver is responsible for over 500 jobs inside the human body. It is the body’s main filter and its job is to keep the body running as cleanly as possible. When it is restricted or unable to perform its job well, the entire body suffers and becomes overloaded with toxins and chemicals which are supposed to be cleaned out. Hepatitis A is generally passed through infected fecal matter. A patient who is infected who does not wash his or her hands after using the toilet can then spread the disease to others simply by handling food. Hepatitis A can also be passed through close contact with an infected person, drinking contaminated water, and eating shellfish or raw fish caught in waters that were infected due to exposure to sewage.
Hepatitis A
Image: Hepatitis A

HEPATITIS A RISK FACTOR

Risk factors for hepatitis A may include sexually active homosexual men, although straight men can be infected as well, workers in the food service or health care industry, travel within regions that have a high incidents of hepatitis A, the use of recreational drugs whether injected or not, and the reception of clotting agents or blood by products to treat another disease.

HEPATITIS A DIAGNOSIS

Biliruben and enzyme blood tests are likely to be given in order to detect the presence of hepatitis A in patients who have become symptomatic. While there are a great many patients who experience no symptoms and require no health care without the information they have been exposed, those who experience symptoms should be thoroughly tested to ensure they receive the appropriate treatments.

Most cases of hepatitis A are able to be eradicated from the body without ill harm within a month or two. However, some patients find themselves requiring more long term treatment. Those who have received a liver transplant or those with other liver problems may experience complications associated with hepatitis A, including fatal liver failure. Hepatitis A is likely to contribute or instigate the hardening of the arteries.

HEPATITIS A TREATMENT

There is no treatment that is slated for hepatitis A. While many physicians treat patients by their symptoms, many physicians do not treat hepatitis A unless the patient is experiencing complications or has developed additional forms of hepatitis. Most treatment options focus on preventing liver damage. This may include changing some medications the patient is already taking that may cause liver damage. Patients should be instructed never to mix alcohol and acetaminophen, whether they have experienced hepatitis A or not, as this can lead to liver damage.

HEPATITIS A PREVENTION

The use of the herb milk thistle has shown great promise in Europe for treating jaundice and other complications associated with the liver. Milk thistle has proven an effective treatment tool for patients with hepatitis.

Hepatitis vaccinations as well as stressing the importance of good hygiene after using the toilet can help prevent the spread of hepatitis A, as well as other forms of hepatitis.
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