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Viral hepatitis (A, B & C)

Hepatitis means inflammation of the liver, and it can be caused by a virus or other non-viral causes.  The main difference between the viruses is how they are spread and the effects they have on your health.

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Prevention

There are safe and effective vaccines that protect you from getting hepatitis A and B.  While there is no vaccine for hep C, by being ‘blood aware’ you can reduce your overall chance of being exposed to the virus.

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Living with Hepatitis

People with chronic hepatitis can do a number of things to stay healthy including limiting/avoiding alcohol, reducing stress, not smoking, getting regular exercise and eating a healthy diet.

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Treatment

Effective treatment is available for both chronic hepatitis B and C.  Before you can see a liver specialist to talk about going on treatment, you need to get a referral from your GP first.

Read more...
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            [introtext] => 

Effective treatment is available for both chronic hepatitis B and C.  Before you can see a liver specialist to talk about going on treatment, you need to get a referral from your GP first.

[fulltext] =>

Hepatitis A

There is no medical treatment required for hepatitis A (as it is a short-term illness); however symptoms may be relieved by rest and adequate fluid intake.  Medications should be limited to those considered essential and alcohol should be avoided.

Hepatitis B

Some people with chronic (long-term) hepatitis B may benefit from treatment. There are currently two types of treatments available. One is Pegylated Interferon which is aimed at boosting your immune system and its ability to clear the hep B virus from your body.  Another type of treatment is anti-viral medication, which works by slowing down the reproduction of the virus. These anti-virals are sometimes called ‘nucleotide’ and ‘nucleoside analogues’.

Treatment may not be appropriate for everyone, and sometimes people develop resistance to medications. This means the medication may not work as well as it did when you first started.  Ask your doctor for a referral to a liver specialist to discuss whether treatment is right for you, and what type of treatment this should be.

Hepatitis B
Click on the link above for more information.

Hepatitis C

Hepatitis C can be treated and cured in the majority of cases.

Hepatitis C
Click on the link above for more information.

Stages of liver damage (scarring or fibrosis)

In the early stages of hepatitis, damage to the liver (caused by inflammation) is repaired by the formation of tiny scars.  This scarring (fibrosis) eventually makes it harder for the liver to do its job.  Ongoing inflammation and fibrosis can, over many years, result in large areas of the liver becoming severely scarred – a condition called cirrhosis.  This scarring is often permanent and prevents blood and other fluids from flowing freely through the liver; limiting its function.  When this happens the liver begins to shrink and becomes hard and lumpy.

Cirrhosis may eventually lead to liver failure and, in a small percentage of cases, progress to liver cancer.  In general it takes many years before someone develops the severe type of fibrosis that leads to cirrhosis.  And it is important to remember the worsening of fibrosis does not happen at the same rate for everybody.

  Fibrosis Scale Symptoms of liver damage
liver0

F0

Normal Liver

  • No scarring
  • Smooth
  • Firm to the touch
liver1

F1

Hepatitis

  • Minimal scarring
  • Enlarged
  • Tender to the touch

 

F2

Fibrosis

  • Scarring has occurred and is inside areas of the liver including blood vessels
liver2

F3

Bridging Fibrosis

  • Inflammation
  • Scarring
  • Shrinkage and hardening
  • Formation of nodules
  • Fibrosis is spreading and connecting to other areas that contain fibrosis
liver3

F4

Cirrhosis

  • Compensated: liver can still perform most functions; or
  • Decompensated: blood cannot flow through the liver and it cannot function properly
  • The liver is even smaller
  • Hardened
  • Extensive scarring
  • Many nodules
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Effective treatment is available for both chronic hepatitis B and C.  Before you can see a liver specialist to talk about going on treatment, you need to get a referral from your GP first.

Hepatitis A

There is no medical treatment required for hepatitis A (as it is a short-term illness); however symptoms may be relieved by rest and adequate fluid intake.  Medications should be limited to those considered essential and alcohol should be avoided.

Hepatitis B

Some people with chronic (long-term) hepatitis B may benefit from treatment. There are currently two types of treatments available. One is Pegylated Interferon which is aimed at boosting your immune system and its ability to clear the hep B virus from your body.  Another type of treatment is anti-viral medication, which works by slowing down the reproduction of the virus. These anti-virals are sometimes called ‘nucleotide’ and ‘nucleoside analogues’.

Treatment may not be appropriate for everyone, and sometimes people develop resistance to medications. This means the medication may not work as well as it did when you first started.  Ask your doctor for a referral to a liver specialist to discuss whether treatment is right for you, and what type of treatment this should be.

Hepatitis B
Click on the link above for more information.

Hepatitis C

Hepatitis C can be treated and cured in the majority of cases.

Hepatitis C
Click on the link above for more information.

Stages of liver damage (scarring or fibrosis)

In the early stages of hepatitis, damage to the liver (caused by inflammation) is repaired by the formation of tiny scars.  This scarring (fibrosis) eventually makes it harder for the liver to do its job.  Ongoing inflammation and fibrosis can, over many years, result in large areas of the liver becoming severely scarred – a condition called cirrhosis.  This scarring is often permanent and prevents blood and other fluids from flowing freely through the liver; limiting its function.  When this happens the liver begins to shrink and becomes hard and lumpy.

Cirrhosis may eventually lead to liver failure and, in a small percentage of cases, progress to liver cancer.  In general it takes many years before someone develops the severe type of fibrosis that leads to cirrhosis.  And it is important to remember the worsening of fibrosis does not happen at the same rate for everybody.

  Fibrosis Scale Symptoms of liver damage
liver0

F0

Normal Liver

  • No scarring
  • Smooth
  • Firm to the touch
liver1

F1

Hepatitis

  • Minimal scarring
  • Enlarged
  • Tender to the touch

 

F2

Fibrosis

  • Scarring has occurred and is inside areas of the liver including blood vessels
liver2

F3

Bridging Fibrosis

  • Inflammation
  • Scarring
  • Shrinkage and hardening
  • Formation of nodules
  • Fibrosis is spreading and connecting to other areas that contain fibrosis
liver3

F4

Cirrhosis

  • Compensated: liver can still perform most functions; or
  • Decompensated: blood cannot flow through the liver and it cannot function properly
  • The liver is even smaller
  • Hardened
  • Extensive scarring
  • Many nodules
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[title_alias] => [introtext] =>

Effective treatment is available for both chronic hepatitis B and C.  Before you can see a liver specialist to talk about going on treatment, you need to get a referral from your GP first.

[fulltext] =>

Hepatitis A

There is no medical treatment required for hepatitis A (as it is a short-term illness); however symptoms may be relieved by rest and adequate fluid intake.  Medications should be limited to those considered essential and alcohol should be avoided.

Hepatitis B

Some people with chronic (long-term) hepatitis B may benefit from treatment. There are currently two types of treatments available. One is Pegylated Interferon which is aimed at boosting your immune system and its ability to clear the hep B virus from your body.  Another type of treatment is anti-viral medication, which works by slowing down the reproduction of the virus. These anti-virals are sometimes called ‘nucleotide’ and ‘nucleoside analogues’.

Treatment may not be appropriate for everyone, and sometimes people develop resistance to medications. This means the medication may not work as well as it did when you first started.  Ask your doctor for a referral to a liver specialist to discuss whether treatment is right for you, and what type of treatment this should be.

Hepatitis B
Click on the link above for more information.

Hepatitis C

Hepatitis C can be treated and cured in the majority of cases.

Hepatitis C
Click on the link above for more information.

Stages of liver damage (scarring or fibrosis)

In the early stages of hepatitis, damage to the liver (caused by inflammation) is repaired by the formation of tiny scars.  This scarring (fibrosis) eventually makes it harder for the liver to do its job.  Ongoing inflammation and fibrosis can, over many years, result in large areas of the liver becoming severely scarred – a condition called cirrhosis.  This scarring is often permanent and prevents blood and other fluids from flowing freely through the liver; limiting its function.  When this happens the liver begins to shrink and becomes hard and lumpy.

Cirrhosis may eventually lead to liver failure and, in a small percentage of cases, progress to liver cancer.  In general it takes many years before someone develops the severe type of fibrosis that leads to cirrhosis.  And it is important to remember the worsening of fibrosis does not happen at the same rate for everybody.

  Fibrosis Scale Symptoms of liver damage
liver0

F0

Normal Liver

  • No scarring
  • Smooth
  • Firm to the touch
liver1

F1

Hepatitis

  • Minimal scarring
  • Enlarged
  • Tender to the touch

 

F2

Fibrosis

  • Scarring has occurred and is inside areas of the liver including blood vessels
liver2

F3

Bridging Fibrosis

  • Inflammation
  • Scarring
  • Shrinkage and hardening
  • Formation of nodules
  • Fibrosis is spreading and connecting to other areas that contain fibrosis
liver3

F4

Cirrhosis

  • Compensated: liver can still perform most functions; or
  • Decompensated: blood cannot flow through the liver and it cannot function properly
  • The liver is even smaller
  • Hardened
  • Extensive scarring
  • Many nodules
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Effective treatment is available for both chronic hepatitis B and C.  Before you can see a liver specialist to talk about going on treatment, you need to get a referral from your GP first.

Hepatitis A

There is no medical treatment required for hepatitis A (as it is a short-term illness); however symptoms may be relieved by rest and adequate fluid intake.  Medications should be limited to those considered essential and alcohol should be avoided.

Hepatitis B

Some people with chronic (long-term) hepatitis B may benefit from treatment. There are currently two types of treatments available. One is Pegylated Interferon which is aimed at boosting your immune system and its ability to clear the hep B virus from your body.  Another type of treatment is anti-viral medication, which works by slowing down the reproduction of the virus. These anti-virals are sometimes called ‘nucleotide’ and ‘nucleoside analogues’.

Treatment may not be appropriate for everyone, and sometimes people develop resistance to medications. This means the medication may not work as well as it did when you first started.  Ask your doctor for a referral to a liver specialist to discuss whether treatment is right for you, and what type of treatment this should be.

Hepatitis B
Click on the link above for more information.

Hepatitis C

Hepatitis C can be treated and cured in the majority of cases.

Hepatitis C
Click on the link above for more information.

Stages of liver damage (scarring or fibrosis)

In the early stages of hepatitis, damage to the liver (caused by inflammation) is repaired by the formation of tiny scars.  This scarring (fibrosis) eventually makes it harder for the liver to do its job.  Ongoing inflammation and fibrosis can, over many years, result in large areas of the liver becoming severely scarred – a condition called cirrhosis.  This scarring is often permanent and prevents blood and other fluids from flowing freely through the liver; limiting its function.  When this happens the liver begins to shrink and becomes hard and lumpy.

Cirrhosis may eventually lead to liver failure and, in a small percentage of cases, progress to liver cancer.  In general it takes many years before someone develops the severe type of fibrosis that leads to cirrhosis.  And it is important to remember the worsening of fibrosis does not happen at the same rate for everybody.

  Fibrosis Scale Symptoms of liver damage
liver0

F0

Normal Liver

  • No scarring
  • Smooth
  • Firm to the touch
liver1

F1

Hepatitis

  • Minimal scarring
  • Enlarged
  • Tender to the touch

 

F2

Fibrosis

  • Scarring has occurred and is inside areas of the liver including blood vessels
liver2

F3

Bridging Fibrosis

  • Inflammation
  • Scarring
  • Shrinkage and hardening
  • Formation of nodules
  • Fibrosis is spreading and connecting to other areas that contain fibrosis
liver3

F4

Cirrhosis

  • Compensated: liver can still perform most functions; or
  • Decompensated: blood cannot flow through the liver and it cannot function properly
  • The liver is even smaller
  • Hardened
  • Extensive scarring
  • Many nodules
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Treatment

Effective treatment is available for both chronic hepatitis B and C.  Before you can see a liver specialist to talk about going on treatment, you need to get a referral from your GP first.

Hepatitis A

There is no medical treatment required for hepatitis A (as it is a short-term illness); however symptoms may be relieved by rest and adequate fluid intake.  Medications should be limited to those considered essential and alcohol should be avoided.

Hepatitis B

Some people with chronic (long-term) hepatitis B may benefit from treatment. There are currently two types of treatments available. One is Pegylated Interferon which is aimed at boosting your immune system and its ability to clear the hep B virus from your body.  Another type of treatment is anti-viral medication, which works by slowing down the reproduction of the virus. These anti-virals are sometimes called ‘nucleotide’ and ‘nucleoside analogues’.

Treatment may not be appropriate for everyone, and sometimes people develop resistance to medications. This means the medication may not work as well as it did when you first started.  Ask your doctor for a referral to a liver specialist to discuss whether treatment is right for you, and what type of treatment this should be.

Hepatitis B
Click on the link above for more information.

Hepatitis C

Hepatitis C can be treated and cured in the majority of cases.

Hepatitis C
Click on the link above for more information.

Stages of liver damage (scarring or fibrosis)

In the early stages of hepatitis, damage to the liver (caused by inflammation) is repaired by the formation of tiny scars.  This scarring (fibrosis) eventually makes it harder for the liver to do its job.  Ongoing inflammation and fibrosis can, over many years, result in large areas of the liver becoming severely scarred – a condition called cirrhosis.  This scarring is often permanent and prevents blood and other fluids from flowing freely through the liver; limiting its function.  When this happens the liver begins to shrink and becomes hard and lumpy.

Cirrhosis may eventually lead to liver failure and, in a small percentage of cases, progress to liver cancer.  In general it takes many years before someone develops the severe type of fibrosis that leads to cirrhosis.  And it is important to remember the worsening of fibrosis does not happen at the same rate for everybody.

  Fibrosis Scale Symptoms of liver damage
liver0

F0

Normal Liver

  • No scarring
  • Smooth
  • Firm to the touch
liver1

F1

Hepatitis

  • Minimal scarring
  • Enlarged
  • Tender to the touch

 

F2

Fibrosis

  • Scarring has occurred and is inside areas of the liver including blood vessels
liver2

F3

Bridging Fibrosis

  • Inflammation
  • Scarring
  • Shrinkage and hardening
  • Formation of nodules
  • Fibrosis is spreading and connecting to other areas that contain fibrosis
liver3

F4

Cirrhosis

  • Compensated: liver can still perform most functions; or
  • Decompensated: blood cannot flow through the liver and it cannot function properly
  • The liver is even smaller
  • Hardened
  • Extensive scarring
  • Many nodules
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