Viral hepatitis is any inflammation of the liver caused by a specific virus. There are a number of viruses which can cause viral hepatitis from hepatitis A to hepatitis E, and the viruses can be contracted in different ways. Some variants of hepatitis have vaccines such as hepatitis A and hepatitis B. The more concerning types of viral hepatitis are those that cause chronic liver disease, namely hepatitis B and C and in some cases hepatitis D which can complicate hepatitis B.
How is hepatitis diagnosed?
Viral hepatitis is essentially diagnosed by abnormalities in the liver enzymes. Where abnormalities in the transaminases are seen and are confirmed by viral serology which will be able to identify the virus that is causing the viral hepatitis.
There are a number of investigations that could also be undertaken to investigate the hepatitis virus further outside of laboratory tests, such as ultrasounds scans, FibroScans, and in some cases, liver biopsy.
Symptoms of hepatitis
With acute hepatitis, there are often no noticeable symptoms, however with chronic or long-term hepatitis, you may experience some or all of the following symptoms:
- high temperature
- muscle pain
- joint pain
- exhaustion and feeling tired all of the time
- loss of appetite
- dark urine, pale-coloured poo
- stomach pain
If you are suffering with any of these symptoms, book an appointment with a consultant hepatologist to find the best course of action.