PLEASE NOTE! All articles here in this site are informative for common knowledge. Please study different sources for information and visit a local doctor.

 

HEPATITIS D EXPLAINED

 

Hepatitis D is caused by hepatitis D virus or HDV and it infects the liver. It is almost similar to other forms of heatotropic viruses it also causes inflammation of the liver and produces very similar symptoms. But HDV is quite an unusual infection. It only affects people who already have the hepatitis B virus, because it is known to be a “defective virus”. HDV lacks the essential equipment that helps in replication, so to form this complication HDV has to depend on hepatitis B virus for the process of replication.

 

HEPATITIS D CAN CAUSE 2 TYPES OF INFECTIONS:

 

  1. Co-infection
  2. Super-infection

Co-infection occurs when an individual is effected by both the HBV as well as the HDV viruses, at around the same time.

Super-infection occurs when a person already has the HBV and is further infected with the HDV. This is mostly acute, but in some cases it might be chronic as well.

Co-infections mostly acute and tends to resolve all by itself, while super-infection is likely to get more serious. Due to super infections, the mild form of cirrhosis can even get more severe in nature, thus becoming progressive cirrhosis. Some cases might as well progress to become fulminate hepatitis.

 

THE SYMPTOMS

 

The symptoms of hepatitis D are quite similar to the symptoms of any other forms of hepatitis disease, but are more severe in nature.  However, the disease is triggered by the hepatitis B virus and the hepatitis D virus would not last longer than the hepatitis B virus.

 


DIAGNOSIS

 

Hepatitis D, similar to other viral hepatitis diseases, is diagnosed by a routine blood test. Doctors typically test people for hepatitis D when you have progressive symptoms of hepatitis B. In such cases, the doctor would recommend a blood test to identify the virus that causes acute and/or chronic hepatitis D infection, including the antigens like HDAg and HBAg. Based on the severity of the infection and the pattern of the disease and the result of the blood test for hepatitis B and D virus, the doctor would determine your infection. It would help in identifying whether the infection is acute or chronic or a super-infection.

 

HOW DOES THE HEPATITIS D VIRUS SPREAD?

 

Hepatitis D virus also spreads in the same way as the hepatitis B virus – when a person comes in contact with someone else’s infected blood, it leads to the infection. Hepatitis D is a rare disease in America and other such developed nations. In these nations, the hepatitis D virus is found in people using IV drugs. Also poor hygiene is highly associated with the development of the same.

 

HOW IS THE CONDITION TREATED?

 

Interferon therapy is used for treating chronic cases of hepatitis D, either in standard form or pregylated form. However, the antiviral agents that can be used for treating the symptoms of hepatitis B aren’t really effective in treating hepatitis D. In some chronic cases of hepatitis D, liver transplantation becomes essential.

 

HOW CAN THE DISEASE BE PREVENTED?

 

Well, there isn’t any vaccine for hepatitis D. But the vaccine given for hepatitis B can take care of hepatitis D virus as well. As hepatitis D is dependent on hepatitis B, preventing one would lead to the prevention of the other.



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