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Hepatitis in Illinois

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Around the world, almost 300 million people are living without knowing that they have viral hepatitis. Hepatitis, broken down to its most fundamental description, is described as swelling or inflammation of the liver. The most common types are hepatitis A, hepatitis B, and hepatitis C. These three forms of hepatitis are designated in reference to the variation of virus that results in the inflammation of the liver. Hepatitis can practically be deemed a unique disease as each variation responds to different interventions. If you or a family member has been diagnosed with, or may already have, hepatitis, please call GI Alliance of Illinois. Our board-certified GI experts regularly treat patients with hepatitis in Chicago, IL locations to Peoria, IL, and Bloomington, IL.

The variation referred to as hepatitis A (HAV) is very transmittable and frequently impacts individuals who consume beverages or foods that have been around fecal excrements or other individuals that have been infected by the disease. Though incredibly infectious, it is not very precarious compared to its counterparts. Hepatitis A is preventable by a vaccine and is treatable by a medical practitioner.

Patients with hepatitis A could notice symptoms, such as:

  • Fatigue
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Abdominal pain
  • Yellow skin, yellow eyes
  • Dark-colored urine (Jaundice)
  • Fever
  • Decreased appetite
  • Diarrhea
  • Unwanted weight loss

The standard treatment method for hepatitis A is to rest, stay well-hydrated, and avoid alcoholic beverages. The majority of the time, hepatitis A will subside on its own. To prevent HAV, individuals can schedule a hepatitis A vaccine from our GI providers in Illinois at GI Alliance of Illinois.

The virus known as hepatitis B (HBV) is a more concerning type of hepatitis infection. Without proper medical care, it can potentially cause liver failure and even cancer of the liver. Should a patient in Illinois get HBV, their body can typically fight it off within a few months. Once the virus has diminished, you become immune. Should people are infected with hepatitis B at birth, however, it is unlikely to subside. HBV is usually passed through saliva, blood, sexual fluids, using a needle after someone with the virus, or passed from an infected pregnant woman to her child during birth.

The common symptoms and signs of hepatitis B involve:

  • Decreased appetite
  • Vomiting
  • Aching joints
  • Light-colored stool
  • Pain in the abdominal area
  • Jaundice
  • Fever
  • Persistent fatigue

If you may have been infected by the hepatitis B virus, please see a medical provider or contact GI Alliance of Illinois as soon as you can. The sooner you get care, the better. Your physician will most likely recommend a hepatitis B vaccine and further antiviral prescriptions.

Frequently spread through bodily fluids (including blood), hepatitis C (HCV) is another viral infection that can harm your liver. The condition can manifest itself in two separate types, acute hepatitis C and chronic hepatitis C.

  • Acute hepatitis C is the less serious form of hepatitis C and typically takes six months to subside. Following the six-month time period, the majority of patients' natural immune response will defeat the infection.
  • Chronic hepatitis C arises when a person's natural defenses are unable to stave off the viral infection within the first six months and the virus impacts the body for an extended period of time. Unfortunately, this could lead to more long-term medical diseases, such as liver cirrhosis or liver cancer.

The most common symptoms of hepatitis C consist of:

  • Slurred speech

  • Nausea and vomiting

  • Appetite loss

  • Jaundice (yellow eyes and skin, dark urine)

  • Clay-colored stool

  • Abdominal pain

  • Confusion

  • Joint pain

  • Extreme exhaustion

  • Itchy skin

  • Swelling in the legs

  • Bleed easily

  • Unintentional weight loss

  • Bruise easily

  • Hepatitis C has a treatment cure rate of more than 90%. Common treatments for HCV include:

    • Antiviral drugs

    • Liver transplant (chronic HCV)

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The most effective way to avoid getting hepatitis A or B is to receive a vaccine for the condition. It is recommended to have children receive a vaccine for hepatitis A somewhere between 12 months and 23 months of age, but individuals can get the vaccine at any point after that. Vaccination for hepatitis B is generally administered to newborns, but patients can be vaccinated at any stage in life. Currently, there is no vaccination process for hep C.

Further healthy methods to prevent getting hepatitis are listed below:

  • Do not share personal hygiene products, such as razors, toothbrushes, etc.
  • When traveling, learn whether the place you are visiting has high incidences of hepatitis infection
  • Make certain any needles you use have been properly sterilized, such as when getting tattoos or piercings or if utilizing illicit drugs
  • When having sex, use protection
  • Avoid consuming uncooked meat and unclean food or water, and purchasing food from street vendors
  • Always wash your hands after using the bathroom or touching any bodily fluids

Even though a hepatitis viral infection can potentially lead to significant conditions, such as hepatic cancer and loss of liver function, treatment can be obtained with help from a gastrointestinal specialist. If you are noticing any distressing GI symptoms or signs, such as any of those listed above, please reach out to GI Alliance of Illinois promptly. As a physician-led network of gastroenterologists, we strive to provide quality, patient-centric services. For more information about the treatment options available for all variations of hepatitis in Illinois, talk to our caring staff today.

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