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Every year on July 28, we observe World Hepatitis Day, to raise awareness about this viral disease that millions of people don’t even know they have — sometimes until it’s too late. This year’s theme is “Hepatitis Can’t Wait.”

People generally know very little about viral hepatitis, a liver disease caused by five different viruses. The infection can go unnoticed, and undiagnosed, until the virus has caused serious liver damage.

  • Viral hepatitis is the seventh leading cause of death worldwide.
  • Nine in 10 people living with viral hepatitis don’t know.
  • Every 30 seconds, someone dies from a hepatitis-related illness.

It is statistics such as these that show why you can’t wait to act on finding out whether you have been infected by this silent killer.

The three most common types of viral hepatitis are hepatitis A, hepatitis B, and hepatitis C.

  • Hepatitis A is an acute infection that does not become chronic or lifelong. Most people with hepatitis A can recover without treatment.
  • Hepatitis B and hepatitis C  can also begin as an acute infection, but both can last longer, with the virus remaining in your body and leading to long-term liver problems.

Let’s take a closer look at each one:

Hepatitis A

This form of the virus can be caused by consuming contaminated water or food.

Hepatitis A does not always cause symptoms. If symptoms do occur, they usually show up two to six weeks after infection. Adults are more likely than children to have symptoms.

Typical symptoms of hepatitis A can include:

  • Fever
  • Fatigue
  • Lack of appetite
  • Nausea, vomiting
  • Dark urine
  • Unusually colored stools
  • Jaundice

There are vaccines to prevent hepatitis A. However, there are no specific treatments for hepatitis A; most people will recover completely without long-term liver damage in about eight weeks.

Once you recover from hepatitis A, you develop antibodies that protect you from this virus for life. However, you can still be susceptible to hepatitis B or C.

Hepatitis B

Hepatitis B can be contracted through high-risk activities, including sharing contaminated needles, having unprotected sex, being exposed to infected blood from another person, or even sharing a razor or toothbrush with another person. The virus can also be spread from mother to baby at birth.

About 70 percent of adults will develop symptoms with the acute form of hepatitis B. Symptoms common with liver disease typically appear about three months after infection and can include:

  • Fever
  • Fatigue
  • Loss of appetite
  • Nausea, vomiting
  • Stomach pain
  • Dark urine
  • Unusually colored stools
  • Joint pain
  • Jaundice

Just like hepatitis A, once you recover from acute hepatitis B, you develop antibodies that protect you from the virus for life.

However, if you are diagnosed with chronic hepatitis B, which is a lifelong infection, you could develop serious liver conditions, such as cirrhosis (scarring of the liver), liver failure, or liver cancer.

Those with long-term hepatitis B can live with the infection for 30 years or more before symptoms appear, making routine testing for the condition necessary if you participate in any of the high-risk activities listed above.

Hepatitis C

Hepatitis C virus (HCV) is a blood-borne disease and a top cause of chronic liver disease and liver cancer.

HCV is transmitted through contact with infected blood, mainly by:

  • Sharing needles during drug abuse
  • Accidental needle stick
  • Renal (kidney) dialysis
  • Transferred by mother to child during childbirth
  • Contaminated tattoo or body piercing equipment
  • Unprotected sexual intercourse or blood transfusions

It is estimated 3 to 4 million people in the U.S. are infected with hepatitis C, and many have never been tested.

Death from HCV usually arises from cirrhosis and liver cancer. As many undiagnosed infections occurred decades ago, death rates are expected to rise, which is why the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that all people born from 1946 to 1964 be tested for HCV.

New HCV treatments are very effective and can cure many with HCV. But first, you need to be tested.

Early symptoms of HCV, in the first three months, may include:

  • Yellow-colored skin or eyes
  • Weakness
  • Fatigue
  • Poor appetite
  • Nausea and stomach pain.

Chronic, long-term symptoms can include weight loss, poor appetite, fatigue, and painful joints.

Testing for Hepatitis

A simple blood test is all that is needed to find out if you are affective by any form of hepatitis. The Hepatitis Panel from ANY LAB TEST NOW® tests for the three most common variations of hepatitis: hepatitis A, hepatitis B, and hepatitis C. You are not required to fast before getting tested. Test results usually take between 24 and 72 business hours. If you are positive for the hepatitis virus, you can take the results to your physician and begin the proper treatment.

Be at Ease

ANY LAB TEST NOW wants you to be at ease when it comes to seeking out any type of lab work, including testing for the hepatitis virus.

We provide you a safe and clean alternative location for lab work. Each of our 190+ stores is sanitized several times a day, in accordance with the CDC’s protocols. ANY LAB TEST NOW is a committed partner in helping you manage your family’s healthcare so you can make educated decisions that will directly affect your quality of life. We want to put you at ease during the coronavirus pandemic. We are here to help.

For more information about ANY LAB TEST NOW, and the tests we offer, visit us at www.anylabtestnow.com.