Hepatitis D

Dr. Rajalakshmi VK (AIIMS)MBBS

March 23, 2023

March 23, 2023

Hepatitis D
Hepatitis D

Hepatitis D is also known as hepatitis delta virus. Due to this infection, there is swelling in the liver. Liver function can be affected due to inflammation, which can lead to long-term liver-related problems such as liver scarring or cancer. These types of problems can be caused by the hepatitis D virus (HDV).

You will be able to know the treatment for liver disease by clicking on the blue link given here.

Today in this article, you will learn about the symptoms, causes, and treatment of Hepatitis D -

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What is Hepatitis D?

Hepatitis can be of many types like Hepatitis AHepatitis BHepatitis CHepatitis E, etc. The risk of hepatitis D is usually only those people who have been previously infected with hepatitis B. Hepatitis D can be acute or chronic, that is, a long-lasting problem. Acute hepatitis D occurs suddenly and usually has more severe symptoms. It may even heal on its own. However, if the effects of the infection last for six months or more, the condition may be referred to as chronic hepatitis D. The chronic form of the infection develops slowly over time. According to experts, the virus can be present in the body for several months before symptoms appear. As chronic hepatitis D progresses, its complications also increase.

There is currently no cure or vaccine for hepatitis D. However, in people who have not had hepatitis B infection before, its symptoms can be controlled. If the symptoms of hepatitis D are identified in time, then the patient can be saved from liver damage.

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Hepatitis D Symptoms

Symptoms are not always visible during hepatitis D. The following symptoms of hepatitis D may be seen in some people.

According to experts, the symptoms of hepatitis B and hepatitis D are almost similar, in such a situation it becomes difficult to differentiate between these two diseases. In some cases, hepatitis D can make the symptoms of hepatitis B worse. It can also happen in people who have hepatitis B but have never had symptoms.

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Hepatitis D causes

Hepatitis D is mainly caused by the HDV virus. It is an infectious disease. Other people can also be at risk of getting this infection by coming in direct contact with the fluids coming out of the body of an infected person. Let's know through which medium the infected person, and how this infection can happen to other people -

  • Coming in contact with the urine of an infected person
  • Through vaginal discharge
  • Semen
  • Blood
  • Birth (from mother to her baby)

If a person has hepatitis D and does not show symptoms, he can still infect other people. According to the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, about 5 percent of people with hepatitis B are at risk of getting hepatitis D. Many people can be infected with hepatitis D along with hepatitis B.

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Complications of Hepatitis D

The following conditions increase your risk of getting hepatitis D -

  • If you are already infected with hepatitis B.
  • Having sex between one man and another man means homosexuality.
  • People who need frequent blood transfusions.
  • Injecting drugs intravenously.

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Diagnosis of Hepatitis D

If you are seeing the symptoms mentioned above, then contact the doctor immediately. However, if someone is showing the above symptoms without jaundice, then the risk of Hepatitis D is less. For an accurate diagnosis of the disease, the doctor may advise you to undergo a blood test. Through this, anti-hepatitis D antibodies can be detected in the blood. If antibodies are found, it means you have been exposed to the virus.

If doctors feel that some kind of problem is arising in your liver, then they can advise you to get a liver function test done. This is also a type of blood test through which the levels of proteins, liver enzymes, and bilirubin are detected in the blood. Based on this, an accurate evaluation of the liver can be done. It also becomes clear from this test whether there is any kind of problem in your liver and whether it is getting worse or not. Based on the above tests, the doctor starts the process of treatment by looking at the condition.

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Hepatitis D Treatment

There is no specific treatment available for Hepatitis D as of now. Unlike other forms of hepatitis D, antiviral drugs do not appear to be very effective in treating hepatitis D, according to experts.

As a first treatment, your doctor may give you a dose of a drug called interferon for about a year. Interferon is a type of protein that helps protect the body from disease by preventing the virus from spreading. However, there have been cases where people have tested positive for hepatitis D even after treatment. This means that more preventive measures than medicines should be used to prevent transmission. For people who get hepatitis D infection once, there is also a risk of getting it again.

On the other hand, if you have cirrhosis or liver damage due to hepatitis D, then the doctor may recommend a liver transplant. A liver transplant is a surgical operation in which the damaged liver is removed and replaced with a healthy liver from a donor.

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Of course, there is no vaccine currently available to treat Hepatitis D, but it can be cured with the right care. Also, it needs to be noted that if Hepatitis D is not treated properly, it can take the form of cancer and completely damage the liver. Therefore, to avoid hepatitis D, take care of hygiene and have a good diet.

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