Hepatitis- Symptoms of Disease

Hepatitis is the Latin word for liver inflammation. It is characterised by the destruction of a number of liver cells and the presence of inflammatory cells in the liver tissue.

Hepatitis can be caused by diseases that primarily attack the liver cells. It can also arise as a result of a disease such as mononucleosis. Hepatitis can be divided into two subgroups according to its duration:

# acute hepatitis – lasting less than six months

# chronic hepatitis – lasting longer than six months.

What are the symptoms?

After you have been exposed to the virus, it can take from 2 to 7 weeks before you see any signs of it. Symptoms usually last for about 2 months.

Common symptoms are:

* Feeling very tired.
* Feeling sick to your stomach.
* Not feeling hungry.
* Losing weight without trying.
* Pain on the right side of the belly, under the rib cage (where your liver is).
* A fever.
* Sore muscles.

How is type A hepatitis diagnosed?

The doctor will ask whether the patient have eaten shellfish recently or traveled to a foreign country with poor sanitation. He or she will ask about personal hygiene habits and whether the patient have been near someone who has hepatitis A. The doctor will check for swelling and tenderness near the liver, and for a yellowish color of skin and the whites of eyes. The patient will have to have blood tests to confirm the diagnosis and to see whether your liver has been damaged. The diagnosis of acute HAV infection is based on serologic testing for IgM antibody to HAV. Test results for anti-HAV IgM are positive at the time of onset of symptoms and usually accompany the first rise in alanine aminotransferase (ALT) level. IgM antibodies disappear during recovery, but those known as IgG antibodies persist, and their presence can be used to indicate a previous infection.

blood tests to confirm the diagnosis and to see whether your liver has been damaged. The diagnosis of acute HAV infection is based on serologic testing for IgM antibody to HAV. Test results for anti-HAV IgM are positive at the time of onset of symptoms and usually accompany the first rise in alanine aminotransferase (ALT) level. IgM antibodies disappear during recovery, but those known as IgG antibodies persist, and their presence can be used to indicate a previous infection.

The only way the disease can be positively identified is by conducting a hepatitis B blood panel. This is a simple three-step test and is not usually included in the routine blood tests of a physical examination. However, the results of each individual test can be difficult to interpret for both health care professionals and patients. Therefore, it is strongly recommended that written results of all three standard tests be reviewed before a diagnosis is made. Patients should also receive copies of their test results for future reference