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Understanding Hepatitis B & C

Advancements in technology and decades of research mean that hepatitis B and hepatitis C are more treatable than ever. In fact, hepatitis B is becoming increasingly easier for patients to manage while more cases of hepatitis C are responding to cures. Understanding both of these diseases can prevent infection and lead to healthier lifestyles for those who already have hepatitis B or hepatitis C.

Hepatitis B, Hepatitis C and the Liver

The liver is a large organ located on the upper, right-hand side of the abdomen. It functions as a filter that rids the bloodstream of harmful toxins. When it becomes inflamed, as it does in cases of hepatitis B and hepatitis C, the liver can no longer perform its essential functions.

Hepatitis B

This viral infection is extremely contagious and is usually spread through body fluids. A person with acute hepatitis B was recently infected. The situation may resolve itself within a few months, which means the individual is no longer contagious. For other people, hepatitis B becomes chronic. If they do not manage their condition, they may suffer serious complications that may include liver scarring, cancer and death.

Hepatitis C

The hepatitis C virus is carried in the bloodstream of infected individuals. This form of the virus may also be acute or chronic. Babies and young women are most likely to see the condition clear up spontaneously. However, most infected people will reach the chronic phase of the virus. The good news is that this form of the virus is curable with the latest available medications.

Thousands of new hepatitis cases are diagnosed every year. Nonetheless, there are many others that are undetected. Routine laboratory testing is recommended for people who may be at risk for infection. With available medications, it is possible to manage or cure hepatitis.
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