The Hepatitis virus is deadly – and notoriously silent.
And a Hepatitis C infection, for example, is usually chronic. It can go undetected for years. In many cases, people with the virus don’t initially show symptoms. However, even without a clear symptom, it’s extremely deadly and can lead to cirrhosis of the liver and liver failure.
Although a person with Hepatitis B can feel healthy, the virus remains permanently in the body and it can lead to liver cancer.
Consequently, this is a worldwide health crisis. Chronic Hepatitis B impacts more than 300 million people across the globe. In some parts of the world, including Southeast Asia, China and some areas in South America, up to 15 percent of the population are chronic carriers of the virus.
And the only way to guarantee you don’t become part of these statistics, and to ensure that you are not carrying the disease, is to get tested. Fortunately, this is done through a very simple process: a blood test.
At Personalabs, we can test you for exposure to the hepatitis viruses, and help give you some peace of mind about this deadly illness.
How quickly are hepatitis infections growing?
In May, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that across the United States, new hepatitis C infections nearly tripled in the past five years, rising from 850 cases in 2010 to 2,436 in 2015. Those reported cases are now at a 15-year high.
Another troubling statistic: the fastest number of new infections are among 20-to-29-year-olds. The government reports that many of these cases have been linked to injected drug use in the current opioid epidemic.
And the government’s statistics may not be the complete picture. A lot of new cases may not be getting reported if the infected person hasn’t shown any symptoms and doesn’t know they’ve got the virus. In fact, the CDC has estimated there were up to 34,000 new hepatitis C infections nationwide in 2015.
CDC also reported that more Americans die from hepatitis C than any other infectious disease.
The CDC put out the alert so health care officials across the nation could look for ways to reach the hardest-hit communities and provide them with much needed prevention and treatment services.
But the virus is not limited to those sharing drugs and needles. It can also be spread through sex or contaminated food and water, and an infant can get the virus if born to an infected mother.
While CDC has noted that recent studies indicate that hepatitis C infections are rising among women of childbearing age, that holds out the risk of a new generation being at a higher risk.
What is Viral Hepatitis and what are the symptoms?
Viral hepatitis, the inflammation of the liver, includes hepatitis A, B, C, D and E. These are distinct diseases that have different hepatitis symptoms, and require different treatments. All five affect the liver in dangerous ways.
Hepatitis A and E are transmitted through contaminated water or food, while Hepatitis B and C viruses are transmitted through infected blood, semen, and other body fluids.
Hepatitis D infections occur only in those who are infected with HBV.
First of all, the symptoms might be mistaken for something more routine. They can include:
• lower appetite
How do you get hepatitis?
Because if you have Hepatitis A, you could have been infected if you have:
• Consumed fruits, vegetables, or other foods that got contaminated during handling;
• Eaten raw shellfish from waters where the virus is found;
• Swallowed contaminated ice in a drink;
• Been sexually active with someone who’s infected;
• Traveled to countries where hepatitis A is common
Therefore, Hepatitis A can be spread if a person working at a restaurant has the infection, doesn’t wash their hands after using the bathroom, and then prepares food. The infection is also spread if food gets contaminated by raw sewage.
Hepatitis B is spread through contact with the blood and body fluids of an infected person. You could get hepatitis B if you:
• Had sex with an infected person without using a condom
• Share needles with an infected person.
• Get a tattoo or piercing through unsterilized tools
• Share razors with an infected person.
Furthermore, symptoms of hepatitis B can feel similar to the flu, such as:
• Lower appetite
Especially relevant is there are few symptoms associated with hepatitis C, but there are many forms of the virus. You can catch it by:
• Sharing dirty needles
• Having sex with an infected person
• Having a mother who was infected when you were born
• Receiving blood from a donor who had the disease.
How is hepatitis diagnosed?
Most of all, there is only one guaranteed way to get diagnosed for any of these viruses, and that is through a simple blood test.
And Personalabs has more than 30 blood tests related to exposure to the hepatitis virus. It’s critical to identify this virus — that often shows no major symptoms — at the earliest stage possible so you can get proper treatment right away.
Finally, no special preparation is needed prior to taking this blood test, and the results will be available within days.
Call us today at 888-438-5227 to learn more about our hepatitis testing.