According to the CDC, about 4.4 million Americans are currently infected with Hepatitis B or C. Many of them are not even aware that they have the infection. These numbers are seriously high, so it's important to educate yourself about hepatitis in all its forms and how to take preventative measures against infection.
Thankfully, science has been able to identify the disease and develop effective hepatitis testing methods. As a result, it is easier than ever to get tested for all forms of hepatitis and get on the fast track to treatment and recovery.
To learn more about hepatitis and how you can get tested, read this guide.
What Is Hepatitis A, B & C?
Hepatitis is a disease that causes inflammation of the liver. This condition can come from either an autoimmune disorder or a viral infection. Hepatitis comes in many forms and comes from many different causes, so staying vigilant with your health is key.
Hepatitis can be dangerous because the liver performs many vital functions for our body. It helps filter our blood to remove toxins and it produces bile for proper digestion. Without our liver, we could not:
- Digest what we consume
- Filter toxins from our body
- Store and break down essential vitamins, minerals, proteins, fats, and carbohydrates
- Synthesize clotting factors or essential blood proteins
Your liver is not an organ you can sacrifice when it goes bad. Unlike a gallbladder, we cannot live without a functioning liver. Hepatitis, therefore, can be life-threatening.
Types of Hepatitis
There are several different forms of hepatitis, including A, B, C, D, and E. The most common forms are A, B, and C. Each form causes hepatitis but comes from a different virus.
Hepatitis A and E are usually acute, short-term conditions. Hepatitis B, C, and D typically become long-term, chronic illnesses.
Hepatitis A comes from consuming food or water that HAV-infected feces has contaminated. This usually occurs when the feces has come from someone infected with HAV. Hepatitis E is similar yet much rarer in the US because it typically occurs in countries with poor sanitation.
Hepatitis B comes from contact with HBV-infected fluids such as vaginal fluid, semen, or blood from someone with hepatitis B. Hepatitis D is very rare as it can only occur in conjunction with hepatitis B—it depends on HBV to survive.
Hepatitis C is carried by HCV, and it is similar to B as it is also transmitted through contact with infected fluids.
If you are living in the United States, you should mainly worry about hepatitis A, B, and C.
Causes and Risk Factors for Hepatitis A, B, and C.
When it comes to risk factors for hepatitis, doctors will warn against certain lifestyle choices. Because the hepatitis-causing viruses transfer through bodily fluids and waste, coming in close contact with or sharing certain devices with infected people puts you at risk.
For example, you could contract HBV or HCV if you have had a sexual interaction with an infected person. Therefore, if you have multiple or new sex partners, you are at higher risk of infection.
HBV and HCV are also commonly transferred through unsanitary drug injection practices. Sharing a needle with an infected person could put you at risk of infection. Sharing razors, too, could cause infection if razors have come in contact with infected blood.
The risks of developing hepatitis generally have nothing to do with whether you are biologically more susceptible to it. Both men and women are equally vulnerable, and no pre-existing conditions cause higher rates of infection.
Certain conditions that physicians call hepatitis, however, can link to your biological makeup. An autoimmune disorder can inflame your liver. This occurs when your immune system believes your liver is a foreign invader and attacks it.
A form of hepatitis, also called alcoholic hepatitis, can come from excessive alcohol and drug use. Introducing your liver to excessive toxins over a period of time can lead to serious liver damage and inflammation.
Signs and Symptoms of Hepatitis A, B, and C?
Hepatitis A is an acute, short-term illness. You will most likely experience signs and symptoms right away, such as sudden nausea and vomiting, fatigue, and pain around the liver. Get tested right away if you also experience the signs below.
Hepatitis B and C are long-term illnesses that may not show signs right away. Your symptoms will worsen over time. You could experience:
- Flu-like symptoms
- Pale stool
- Dark urine
- Loss of appetite
- Unexplained weight loss
- Pain in the abdomen
- Signs of jaundice, like yellow eyes and skin
These signs are all related to liver dysfunction and might not necessarily be caused by hepatitis. That's why it is so important to get tested immediately to determine the cause.
How Is Hepatitis A, B, and C Diagnosed?
If you go to a doctor for a hepatitis B screening or a hepatitis C screening, they will first ask about your medical history and lifestyle. Then, they will perform a physical hepatitis screening exam.
They will look for risk factors in your lifestyle and check for yellowed eyes and skin or discomfort around the liver. Whether the preliminary exam shows signs or not, a doctor will likely run further tests to determine your condition.
You can get a hepatitis B test and a hepatitis C test if your doctor feels your condition is long-term rather than acute. These tests can find antibodies in your blood that indicate you are fighting off the infection.
Hepatitis Testing for A, B, and C
Physicians can perform a number and combination of tests to diagnose your condition. Blood tests and liver function tests can determine whether your health condition is caused by hepatitis and further diagnose you with a type. Ultrasounds and liver biopsies are also options, but more invasive and generally unnecessary for diagnosis.
Even without the hassle of a doctor's appointment and extra exams, you can get results immediately with a blood test from Ulta Lab Tests. If you are concerned at all that you have contracted hepatitis, you can buy a highly accurate and reliable blood test to be performed and analyzed in private. You can take control of your health and move forward with an informed decision.
Take Control of Your Health Today
Order your hepatitis lab tests today with Ulta Lab Tests. Here are a few great things to love about our service:
- You'll get secure and confidential results
- You don't need health insurance
- You don't need a physician's referral
- You'll get affordable pricing
- We offer a 100% satisfaction guarantee
- Results within 24-48 hours for most tests
Take control of your health today with Ulta Lab Tests.