Hepatitis B & C:
Hepatitis B & C, or HPB and HPC, are infections that cause liver inflammation. The two diseases are spread through contact with an infected person—though in different ways.
Ninety-five percent of adults who are exposed to HPB fully recover within six months without medication. However, five percent develop chronic HPB and have it their whole lives, which can cause cirrhosis of the liver, liver cancer, and liver failure. Symptoms of acute HPB are:
- Dark Urine
- Joint Pain
- Weakness and Fatigue
- Loss of Appetite
- Nausea and Vomiting
- Abdominal pain
HPC often produces no symptoms or very mild ones during the early stages, which makes it difficult to detect. In fact, some people have acute Hepatitis C—HPC that lasts up to six months and gets better on its own. For 75-80 percent of patients, however, HPC is chronic and will require treatment. Without treatment, people with chronic HPC can develop cirrhosis, liver cancer and liver failure. Some chronic HPC symptoms are:
- Sore muscles
- Joint pain
- Loss of appetite
- Stomach pain
- Itchy skin
- Dark urine
HPB is diagnosed through blood tests to reveal if you have antibodies present in your body.
Acute HPB is treated through bed rest, drinking fluids, a healthy diet, and avoiding alcohol. However, chronic HPB may require medication, and your doctor will create a treatment course that works best for you.
HPC tests involve two main blood tests—a screening test to see if you’ve ever had HPC, and one to see if you currently have HPC. If you ever had it, the blood test will result in a positive reading because of the antibodies present in your body. Positive tests require another test—the Hepatitis C RNA test (also known as the polymerase chain reaction test)—to determine if the virus is still active and present in your body. If this second test reveals a positive result, you have HPC.
Currently, there is no cure for HPC. However, there are medication options. Consult your healthcare provider today for more information.
In most cases, a special diet isn’t necessary for HPB/HPC. However, being overweight can lead to a fatty liver, and when combined with HPC causes cirrhosis of the liver. Also, alcohol can increase damage to the liver, so those with HPB/HPC should stop drinking alcohol or decrease their intake.