Hepatitis in Tulsa, OK
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What is hepatitis?
Worldwide, 290 million individuals are unaware that they have a condition known as viral hepatitis. Hepatitis, broken down to its most simple definition, is described as swelling or inflammation of the liver. The most common variations include hepatitis A, hepatitis B, and hepatitis C. These three types of hepatitis are categorized by the variation of the virus that leads to the inflammation of the liver. Every single type of viral hepatitis could be considered a unique disease because each variation responds to separate treatments. Our skilled GI providers treat individuals with hepatitis in Tulsa, OK. If you or someone you love have, or has been diagnosed with a variation of hepatitis, please request a consultation at your nearest Adult Gastroenterology Associates location today.
Hepatitis A (HAV)
Hepatitis A (HAV) is incredibly contagious and commonly infects people that drink or eat something that has been around feces or another individual who has been infected by the virus. Although it is highly contagious, it is not as dangerous as the other variants. Hepatitis A can be prevented with vaccination and can be addressed by a healthcare provider.
Patients with hepatitis A could experience symptoms, such as:
- Vomiting and nausea
- Dark urine
- Appetite loss
- A yellowing of the skin and/or eyes (Jaundice)
- Abdominal pain
- Unintentional weight loss
Typical treatment for hepatitis A includes getting plenty of rest, consuming fluids, and avoiding consuming alcohol. The majority of hepatitis A cases will resolve on their own. To avoid contracting hepatitis A, you can receive a hepatitis A vaccine from your physician or our Tulsa, OK gastroenterology team.
Hepatitis B (HBV)
Hepatitis B (HBV) is a more severe form of hepatitis. If this virus is not treated, it has the potential to cause liver failure and even liver cancer. If adults get HBV, their bodies can usually fight it off within a few months. Once the virus has subsided, an immunity occurs. If individuals get HBV during birth, however, the condition will most likely be chronic. HBV is usually passed via blood, sexual fluids, saliva, using a needle after someone with the virus, or transmitted at birth.
Common symptoms of hepatitis B consist of:
- Light-colored stool
- Persistent fatigue
- Appetite loss
- Abdominal pain
- Aching joints
If you think you may have been infected by HBV, we urge you to see your healthcare provider or contact an Adult Gastroenterology Associates location as soon as possible. The faster you receive treatment, the better your health. Your healthcare provider will likely recommend a vaccine for hepatitis B and other antiviral drugs.
Hepatitis C (HCV)
Typically spread via bodily fluids (like blood), hepatitis C (HCV) is a viral infection that can cause damage to you liver. It can manifest itself in two separate types, acute hepatitis C and chronic hepatitis C.
- Acute hepatitis C is the less concerning form and usually takes six months to subside. After six months, immune systems can usually defeat the viral infection on their own.
- Chronic hepatitis C occurs when the immune system is unable to fight off the viral infection in the first six months and infects the body for a longer amount of time. This type of hepatitis C can lead to more long-term health problems, like liver cancer or liver cirrhosis.
The most common symptoms of hepatitis C are listed below:
- Clay-colored stool
- Jaundice (yellow skin and eyes, dark urine)
- Slurred speech
- Joint pain
- Abdominal pain
- Swelling in the legs
- Bleed easily
- Appetite loss
- Bruise easily
- Itchy skin
- Severe fatigue
- Nausea and vomiting
- Unexplained weight loss
The cure rate of HCV is more than 90%. The routine treatment approaches for HCV involve:
- Antiviral drugs
- Liver transplant (chronic hepatitis C)
How can I avoid getting hepatitis?
The best protection against contracting hepatitis A or B is to be vaccinated for the virus. Healthcare providers recommend having young children vaccinated for hepatitis A when they are between the ages of 12 months to 23 months, but individuals can get the vaccine at any time after that. The hepatitis B vaccine is usually given to newborns, but individuals can receive the vaccine at any point in life. Currently, there is no vaccine available for HCV.
Other healthy practices to avoid contracting hepatitis include:
- Make sure to always wash your hands after using the restroom or coming into contact with any bodily fluids
- Use protection when having sex
- Prior to traveling, determine whether the place you are going has high volume of hepatitis infections
- Avoid sharing personal hygiene products, like toothbrushes, razors, etc.
- Make sure any needles you use are properly sterilized, such as when getting tattoos or piercings or if injecting illicit drugs
- Avoid consuming unclean food and water, eating uncooked meat, and buying food from street vendors
Get treatment for hepatitis
While a hepatitis infection could result in concerning problems, like loss of liver function and liver cancer, it is usually treatable with help from your gastrointestinal specialist. If you are experiencing any unusual GI symptoms, such as the ones mentioned above, please contact an Adult Gastroenterology Associates location near you. As an experienced physician-led team of gastroenterology specialists, we aim to offer exceptional, patient-focused care. To receive additional information on the treatment options available for all types of hepatitis in Tulsa, OK, connect with our team to request a consultation today.
I enjoyed my appointment. Nurses were very kind. Environment was clean and friendly.
Dr Conkling has always been professional and also caring. I feel like he understands me and really understands my concerns. Dr Conkling has helped me thru some tough times when I was diagnosed with hepatitis C, he got me on a medication that helped cure the disease and is following up with other side affects. I will always be thankful to him! I will refer Dr Conkling to all my friends and relatives!
I was very pleased with Dr.Clark. I felt like he really listened, took time to answer any questions. It took awhile to get a appointment but it was worth the wait.