Hepatitis D (HDV) Treatment in Gatlinburg, TN
If you are currently managing a hepatitis B infection and you've been vomiting, struggling with abdominal pain, and noticing your skin or eyes yellowing, you may have a hepatitis D coinfection (HDV).
Hepatitis D - also known as hepatitis delta virus (HDV) - occurs only when you're infected with hepatitis B (HBV) . There are 350 million people infected with hepatitis B globally.2 While there is currently no treatment against this form of hepatitis, your healthcare provider can help manage or reduce your symptoms. The hepatitis B vaccine can also help prevent hep D.
What Are the Symptoms of Hepatitis D?
The symptoms of hepatitis D are very similar to hep B; hep D symptoms include:
- abdominal pain
- joint pain
- nausea and vomiting
HDV tends to aggravate your hep B infection. However, you may not experience any symptoms at all.
What Causes Hepatitis D?
Hepatitis D can only occur if you come into contact with the blood, urine, semen, saliva, or vaginal secretions of a person infected with hep B. Your risk of contracting HDV is greater if you live in or travel to places where hepatitis is more prevalent, such as Africa, South America, Central America, or the Pacific Islands.
Common routes of infection include:
- unprotected sex (especially among men who have sex with men)
- sharing needles
- improperly sterilized tattoo needles
- contacting infected fluids as a healthcare or childcare worker
- unsanitary food preparation by an infected person
Hep D cannot be contracted by talking, coughing, or sneezing. However, it can be transmitted from mother to child during childbirth if the mother has an HDV infection.
Hepatitis D presents in either an acute or chronic form. Acute hep D develops suddenly and causes more severe symptoms; it usually resolves on its own in under six months. Chronic hep D develops slowly over time, can last for life, and can lead to severe liver problems later in life.
How Is Hepatitis D Diagnosed?
Hep D is diagnosed by blood tests . Your physician will draw your blood sample and send it to a lab for careful analysis. If hepatitis D antibodies are found your healthcare provider may also recommend a liver function test to measure levels of proteins, liver enzymes, and bilirubin in your blood which can indicate liver damage.
How Is Hepatitis D Treated?
Acute hep D is treated similarly to hep B treatment , including:
- managing nausea: stay hydrated and avoid malnutrition by eating what you can
- quitting drinking alcohol : consuming alcohol causes liver damage
- acupuncture and herb treatment: has been shown to alleviate inflammation, inhibit fibrinogenesis, and improve lipid metabolism.3
- Interferon: a genetically engineered protein the stops the virus from replicating to put infection into remission but cannot eradicate it; side effects include dizziness, appetite loss, thinning hair, and flu-like symptoms
- Intravenous vitamin C: can reduce the amount of virus circulating in the blood
- Stem cell therapy is showing promise in regenerating liver cells to treat hepatitis B and D using functional hepatocyte-like cells derived from pluripotent stem cells1
As with any medical procedure, results vary from patient to patient, depending on age, genetics, condition severity, as well as environmental and health factors. Consult your healthcare practitioner before embarking on your treatment journey.
How Can I Protect Myself from Hep D?
To avoid getting infected or passing hep B or D to others, you should take preventative steps like:
- getting vaccinated
- using protection during sex
- wearing gloves when cleaning up blood or bodily fluids
- sterilizing areas contaminated by bodily fluids with bleach
- covering open wounds
- never sharing gum, razors, toothbrushes, nail care items, or earrings
- avoiding recreational drugs, especially ones that use needles
- ensuring needles are properly sterilized at tattoo shops
If you or your child have a hepatitis B infection and visit areas where hepatitis is more common, like Africa, South America, Central America, or the Pacific Islands, it's strongly advised that you take these protective measures.
Is There a Hepatitis D Vaccine?
Currently, there is no known hep D vaccine, though one would benefit. One defense against HDV is getting vaccinated for hepatitis B prior to infection.
You should not get the hepatitis B vaccine if you're feeling sick, have a hypersensitivity to yeast, or have had an allergic reaction to the vaccine in the past. Side effects of the vaccine usually last a day or two and include:
- redness, swelling, or itching at the injection site
- a purple spot or lump at the injection site
- high fever
- irritability or agitation (especially in children)
Call your healthcare provider if you experience:
- difficulty breathing or swallowing
- hives or welts that occur days or weeks after receiving the vaccine
- itchy hands and feet
- numbness or tingling of the arms and legs
- reddening of the skin, especially on the ears, face, neck, or arms
- aches and pains in the back or joints
- swelling of the eyes, face, or inside of the nose
- seizure-like movements
- blurred vision
- stomach cramps or diarrhea
Reserve Your Appointment Now
A hepatitis D infection can make your hep B infection harder to manage. More severe symptoms and the potential for chronic hep D infection can present serious threats to your long-term health and quality of life.
If you're managing a hep B infection, take special care to avoid situations that might expose you to hep D infections, and speak to your physician about regular hep D screenings to prevent future liver complications.
1. Horisawa, Kenichi, and Atsushi Suzuki. "Cell-Based Regenerative Therapy for Liver Disease." Innovative Medicine (2015): 327–339. Web. 31 July 2018.
2. Ogholikhan, Sina, and Kathleen B. Schwarz. "Hepatitis Vaccines." Ed. Diane M. Harper. Vaccines 4.1 (2016): 6. PMC. Web. 26 July 2018.
3. Zhu, Jihe, et. al. "Hepatitis B Treatment with Acupuncture and Herbal Medicine." European Scientific Journal 1414.66 (2018): 1857-7881. Web. 31 July 31, 2018.
AWAREmed Health and Wellness Resource Center
Address1604 Lamons Lane
Johnson City, TN 37604
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