Viral Hepatitis Diagnosis
Here I will do an overview of the main types of viral infection hepatitis in the world today.
As usual, don’t practice medicine on yourself, especially when you think you have hepatitis.
If you get nausea, viral hepatitis is always in the differential diagnoses of possible diseases that could be affecting you. In fact, many doctors forget this and send home patients that present with nausea with the incorrect diagnosis of viral gastroenteritis. And it’s a significant miss.
To add to there error, they will send a patient home with full-blown hepatitis with medications to mask their nausea, suspecting that it’s only viral gastroenteritis. That’s wrong in oh so many ways! Since medications are mostly cleared in the liver, and their liver is the thing that’s ill, not just their stomach or intestines, these incorrectly diagnoses patients have trouble metabolizing the drugs that the doctor slaps them on for nausea.
If it something like Phenergan (a.k.a. promethazine), it quickly overwhelms a sick liver’s ability to metabolize the medication, and so the medication remains in the bloodstream at ever increasing levels… Because the patient keeps taking the medication! Serum levels of the medication quickly rise. And the medication escalates into toxic levels. These anti-emetics (anti-nausea drugs) mostly affect the brain, producing what is called extrapyramidal symptoms. They are like a drawing motion to one side or another, uncontrollably. It’s a little bit like a seizure while you are still awake. Not cool! And the most unfortunate thing about some side effects of some drugs, they sometimes don’t go away when the toxic doses of the drug goes away! And they, you guessed it, remain there for life.
So remember, if you go to the emergency room for nausea, they really should be drawing your blood to make sure it’s not just gastritis or gastroenteritis. Because it might just be hepatitis. Again, a simple blood test can see if your liver is inflamed.
What are all the Different Types of Hepatitis?
Furthermore, a simple blood work up can screen for the common types of viral hepatitis. There are many types of viral hepatitis. But, there are five most common types that concern world health today: hepatitis A, B, C, D, and E.
These different types of viral hepatitis vary in characteristic ways. They vary in terms of severity. And they vary in terms of infectiousness.
Severity. They may be mild enough to let the body care for their disease completely and successfully on it’s own. Or not. They may be severe enough to produce a fulminant overwhelmed liver, and life-threatening state. Or not. They may also be severe enough to remain in a chronic carrier state for the rest your life. Or not.
Infectiousness. They may be infectious by oral fecal contamination. Or not. They may be infectious in food. Or no. They may be infectious sexually. They may be infectious by shared IV needles or in blood products. And lastly, they may be virulent enough to transmit in the pregnant woman to the fetus; and they might not.
The presentation of nausea in the emergency room isn’t always just viral gastroenteritis. It could be hepatitis. Most notably, viral hepatitis. And that distinction needs to be made to avoid prescribing liver-metabolized drugs that may become toxic if the liver is ill. Those toxicities involve the nervous system and could be lifelong.
The different viral hepatitides, most notably A, B, C, D, and E, have varying characteristics of infectiousness, spread, and disease severity and permanence.
They are found in varying degrees throughout the world. I will go into each type in future topics.