If you arent familiar with Hepatitis A you should be. There is a misconception about who is at risk, and although it is considered the least serious it still is serious. Lets start with a look at the history of Hepatitis A.
Hepatitis is believed to date all the way back to ancient times. It was described a disease of the liver that caused the skin to yellow. It was in 1963 that serum hepatitis was identified and labeled Hepatitis B or HBV.
It took another ten years for Hepatitis A or HAV to be identified, and until 1989 for Hepatitis C or HCV to be isolated. Since then there have been other Hepatitis viruses identified.
Hepatitis A Identified
Once Hepatitis A was identified it was also better understood. Although the history of Hepatitis A dates it back to early times they didn’t know what it was or how to treat it. Hepatitis inflammation of the liver hepar = liver and itis = inflammation.
Hepatitis A is an inflammation of the liver due to the A virus and is the most common hepatitis infection. It is also the least serious so it does not have long-term chronic effects. Once treated almost all make a complete recovery.
Signs and Symptoms of Hepatitis A
Symptoms can vary a great deal between individuals but what is common among most sufferers are the flu-like symptoms, which can be severe.
Jaundice can also occur which is when the skin yellows and the whites of the eyes take on a yellow color that is a result of the yellow/brown bile pigment in the blood.
Symptoms cam also include fever, poor appetite, abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, fatigue, dark urine, light stools, muscle, and joint pains. Your live might also be enlarged and tender.
How Do You Get Hepatitis A?
Hepatitis A is transmitted from person to person and the primary cause of spread is poor hygiene. Some areas of the world have a history of Hepatitis A such as South America, India, Central America, and Bangladesh. But 1/3 of all Americans are believed to have been exposed to Hepatitis A.
How Is Diagnosis Of Hepatitis A Done
Throughout the history of Hepatitis A much of it has gone undiagnosed. Its only when the symptoms exceed that of the flu that someone might seek medical intervention. Your doctor will diagnose Hepatitis A from the symptoms you presents, and then confirm that diagnosis with the use of a blood test to confirm that hepatitis is present.
Liver Function tests can be used but it is not good for accessing all of the varied functions that your liver provides for your body. When Hepatitis A is present Immunoglobulins, Prothrombin, and Albumin are abnormal.
A liver biopsy can be done and in fact it is the most accurate test available. It can determine just how badly the liver is damaged. It is a relatively safe procedure that can be very helpful in diagnosis and then treatment.
Hepatitis A Treatment
Throughout the history of Hepatitis A the most common treatment includes bed rest, but it really all depends on the severity of the symptoms. If you are feeling well enough you can go to work. In less than 1% of Hep A sufferers intensive care hospital treatment may actually be required.
Of this 1% of serious cases 30% will die if they do not receive a liver transplant and of those that receive a liver transplant 80% will return to normal.
Although the history of Hepatitis A goes back to the earliest times, for most this remains more of an inconvenience than a life threatening illness. However if you are exposed to Hepatitis A you need to do your part to prevent the spread of it, rest, and hopefully get back to health in no time.
Illustration: Wellcome Images