Chronic Viral Hepatitis: Questions & Answers Part 1

chronic viral hepatitis

What is chronic viral hepatitis?

Hepatitis is an inflammation in the liver tissue. Call it:

– toxic substances, including certain medications;

– deposition of adipose tissue in the liver during obesity;

– alcohol abuse;

– hepatitis viruses. And this is the main cause of inflammatory liver diseases.

What is the danger of hepatitis?

If the inflammation in the liver tissue is chronic, the body does not have time to repair damaged cells. It further can’t replace them with connective tissue. As a result, the structure of the organ changes, and fibrosis and cirrhosis develop. The worst thing is – Liver cancer also develops.

Because of these changes, the liver can’t perform its functions. It also can’t remove toxins that affect the state of the body. At the same time, chronic hepatitis does not manifest itself in any way. It does not have specific pronounced symptoms.

I was diagnosed with hepatitis, what should I do?

As a rule, for the primary diagnosis of viral hepatitis, and analysis gets performed. It is for the presence of an antigen to the hepatitis B virus surface protein (HBsAg). It is also to check for an antibody to the hepatitis C virus (Anti-HCV).

The presence of a surface antigen (HBsAg) in your blood indicates something. It lets you see for hepatitis B or are a carrier of HBsAg.

But an antibody to the hepatitis C virus (Anti-HCV) only indicates if you have once had a virus.

These tests are not enough. It is to make a definitive diagnosis. You should contact an infectious disease specialist. It can be a hepatologist or other specialist. This is who will prescribe many tests and conduct the necessary studies. They are always done on the results of which he will already prescribe treatment. He may recommend one to wait too!

Why do we need additional research, is it not enough for one analysis to make a diagnosis?

Not enough. HBsAg and Anti-HCV test only show the body’s response to the virus. They do not show the activity of the virus and what damage it has already caused to the body. And the danger is the constant activity of the virus for a long time when the body does not fight it in any way. This situation is Chronic Viral Hepatitis.

So, there can be a possibility. It is of a false positive test result.

What is a false positive result?

Sometimes, if you violate the rules for taking tests, the hepatitis test may show a false result. For example, if you were not tested on an empty stomach or during pregnancy. It can with other serious diseases that affect the immune system. These are the conditions in which a hepatitis test may show a false result.

But you don’t need to hope for a test error. It is better to contact a specialist who will determine whether you had conditions. The conditions can be for receiving a false positive result. It can lead to repeated tests for verification.

Could the virus have entered my body and then disappeared on its own?

Yes, this is possible. One-third of adults infected with hepatitis C recover. That’s how they recover. It is from the acute stage of the disease. For hepatitis B, the proportion of people who recover reaches 90% in adults. It is 50-70% in children. And only 10% of children infected before the age of one year recover on their own.

But if the disease has turned into a chronic form, you can not do without special treatment.

What tests do you need to pass to clarify the diagnosis?

First of all, you need to find out if there is a virus in your blood. You need to pass a qualitative analysis to do this. You can call it PCR.

The doctor will also prescribe an analysis. One will do to determine the genotype of the virus.

One can study the liver condition too. It is to determine the specifics of treatment and the timing of its implementation. The condition of the liver is now determined using a fibroscan. Liver biopsy is the recently very popular. But, it’s not necessary!

For sake of a rule, the physician can prescribe you a whole range of tests. This allows him to choose the right treatment for you in the end.

Most often, the patient does not feel any special “symptoms of hepatitis”.

If I get hepatitis, am I going to die soon?

No. Chronic viral hepatitis is a dangerous, but not a short-term disease. It is treatable. It can take 15-20 years, and sometimes more before life-threatening consequences appear.

Can hepatitis become HIV?

HIV is human immunodeficiency virus, hepatitis is the inflammation of the organ, liver.  HIV is usually transmitted sexually from person to person.  There are treatments that will not allow HIV to become AIDS, acquired immunodeficiency disease syndrome.

Hepatitis is jaundice?

Jaundice is a complex of symptoms in which the skin and mucous membranes turn yellow. This only happens to an increase. It is in the level of bilirubin in the blood.  Also, occurs in various diseases.  The most often with severe inflammation in the liver tissue. This includes acute and chronic hepatitis. When people talk about jaundice, they often mean hepatitis. But this is not always the case. Hepatitis and jaundice are not synonymous, they are different concepts.

What are hepatitis viruses?

Scientists attribute more than 10 viruses to the causative agents of hepatitis. These are five main viruses. They are A, B, C, D, and E. They all multiply in the liver. But hepatitis caused by different viruses differs in symptoms. It differs in duration and formation of the disease, transmission, and contagiousness too.

When people talk about chronic viral hepatitis, they most often mean hepatitis B and C.

You can also find abbreviations: HCV and HCV – Hepatitis C Virus; HBV and HBV – Hepatitis B Virus. We will write “Hepatitis” for brevity, meaning chronic viral hepatitis B and C.

What is a genotype?

Viruses with the same name may differ from each other. This is due to differences in the course of the disease. It can be on the behavior of the virus and how it responds to the medications too.

Genotype is an important parameter that determines the choice of the treatment regimen.

How does acute hepatitis differ from chronic hepatitis?

Acute and chronic hepatitis are not different diseases, but successive phases of one.

Acute hepatitis is a phase when the body fights the infection. It tries to completely remove it from the body. Acute hepatitis occurs in all people shortly after infection. It usually lasts no more than 6 months.

Chronic hepatitis is a persistent inflammation of the liver. It develops if during the acute form the body failed to cope with the virus.

Only hepatitis B and C go into the chronic form. This is why they are very dangerous for human health.

Continue to:

Chronic Viral Hepatitis: Questions & Answers Part 2