Your liver assists in the digestion of food and removal of toxic substances from your blood. It also serves as a storage area for your energy. Conditions that affect the liver, such as hepatitis, can impact these vital body functions. Hepatitis can be due to several causes including viral (hepatitis A, B or C), autoimmune and medications to name but a few. At SoHo Gastroenterology: Dr. Murray Orbuch, MD, with two convenient locations in SoHo and the Financial district, Manhattan, Dr. Orbuch and the team specialize in the diagnosis and management of hepatitis. To schedule an appointment, call either New York City office or book an appointment online today.
Hepatitis is a medical term that indicates inflammation of the liver. Your liver is the largest organ in your body and is essential for health and normal body function. Hepatitis can develop from a number of causes and the inflammation can be acute or chronic.
In most cases, hepatitis develops from a viral infection. The most common viral infections that lead to hepatitis include:
Hepatitis A is a highly contagious viral infection that’s usually contracted through contact with the body fluids of an infected person or may be a result of exposure to contaminated shellfish or travel to endemic areas in the developing world. This type of hepatitis causes acute inflammation of the liver that doesn’t lead to permanent damage and resolves within two months.
You may not have symptoms with hepatitis A or feel flu-like symptoms. Jaundice, yellowing of the skin or eyes, can also occur.
Hepatitis B is passed from person-to-person through blood or semen. While hepatitis B can resolve in time, it can result in a chronic state and cause permanent liver damage. In patients from East Asia, vertical transmission from mother-to-child at birth is common and patients affected may not know they have it and any vaccinations they received as a child are ineffectual.
Like hepatitis A, hepatitis B doesn’t always cause symptoms. But you may develop flu-like symptoms or jaundice. A blood test can confirm if you have hepatitis B. Without proper identification and effective treatment, hepatitis B may lead to cirrhosis, which is permanent scarring of the liver and liver cancer
Hepatitis C is passed primarily through blood. Symptoms of hepatitis C may develop within one to three months of the infection and may include dark urine, jaundice, fever, or fatigue.
However, you may not develop symptoms at all with a hepatitis C infection. Without proper identification and effective treatment, hepatitis C may lead to cirrhosis, which is permanent scarring of the liver and liver cancer.
You can also develop hepatitis from autoimmune diseases, alcohol and drugs.
Autoimmune hepatitis can occur on its own or in conjunction with other autoimmune disorders such as lupus (SLE). If not identified quickly and effectively treated, acute liver failure and death can quickly follow.
Treatment for hepatitis may depend on the underlying cause. Hepatitis A and B may resolve on their own. You can also protect yourself from these viral infections with a vaccine.
If you have hepatitis C, the team at SoHo Gastroenterology: Dr. Murray Orbuch, MD, can cure your infection with antiviral medication.
If your hepatitis has developed into cirrhosis, Dr. Orbuch can provide medication to stabilize the condition and through his affiliation with The Mount Sinai Medical Center provide the urgent referral to The Mount Sinai Medical Center’s world renowned Transplant Center . If you go into liver failure, then you may need a liver transplant.
Hepatitis can be an acute or chronic condition. In either case, medical management may help prevent more serious damage to your liver. For an evaluation from an experienced team of gastroenterology specialists, contact SoHo Gastroenterology: Dr. Murray Orbuch, MD, by phone or online today.