Unfortunately in the UK many local doctors are very poorly equipped for Hepatitis discussions. Often no patient leaflets, no Atlases of the 400 million infected, no test risk posters, have been given them. So many patients get false notions and fail to contact experienced help lines or fail to get important referrals to a Liver Specialist, sometimes for years. So here is advice from patients and mums who’ve experienced being diagnosed and adjusting.
you understand that being diagnosed has usually saved you from harmful consequences of having the virus without knowing, if you are diagnosed with just raised ALT scores and stage 2 fibrosis your doctors will make certain you live a long and healthy life.
General Emotional Advice
1.Try not to feel guilty, Remember 1 in 3 humans have caught this bug
2.Don't feel infectious teach loved ones vaccination, safe sex and blood hygiene
3.Many patients find HBV or HCV makes them live longer, healthier lives
4.Try to learn about Hepatitis B and C, and how they are best managed.
5.Understand your level of infection, if it is inactive it is good to know quick
6.If your liver is fine, you have a life of health and happiness to plan for, don't forget
7.Beware of alternate medicine practitioners, herbal witch doctors and over zealous priests with "cures"
8.Do not assume partners or anyone else has been infected by you, nearly all test clear
Who to tell?
1.Do not announce your infection; some people may react badly with ignorance.
2.Try to let knowledge of your infection make a few relationships stronger
3.Take time to understand the virus first and your level of it also.
4.You will need to teach people what HBV really are, very few know.
5.This is the virus where education and right diet and vaccination are far the most important precautions.
What should I do next? How is hepatitis B assessed?
A simple blood test can detect if you are infected with the hepatitis B or C viruses. If infected, other tests are advised to check on the amount and type of infection, then more test should be done for liver inflammation and damage to the liver. For example:
1.A blood test can detect various parts of the virus.
2.With HCV these include viral load and genotyping with
3.HBV we check for viral load, e antigens and s antigens (if it is multiplying rapidly and therefore more likely to cause liver damage).
4.Blood tests called liver function tests are also needed. These measure the activity of enzymes (chemicals) and other substances made in the liver. This gives a general guide as to whether the liver is inflamed or working fine. Whether the HBV or HCV are active or inactive and harmless so far
5.An ultrasound scan of the liver is recommended to look for fibrosis.
6.A biopsy (optional) of the liver may be taken to look at under the microscope. This is best if there are signs of cirrhosis.
7.A blood test can also be performed to show if you have immunity to hepatitis B.
8.Other tests may be done if cirrhosis or other complications develop.
Most of all remember your diagnosis has probably saved you from getting very ill by warning you that your liver is very sensitive to alcohol, being very over weight or taking years of taking the wrong type of medications and diet. Most of us diagnosed without serious liver damage are then able to avoid it.