Back To CourseBasic Nursing Training
20 chapters | 191 lessons
Lori has teaching experience in the health care setting. She has an associate's degree in Nursing and a bachelor's degree in Psychology.
Larry isn't feeling too well these days. He hasn't had much of an appetite for a month or two, and he's been so tired. He thinks he may be running a fever, but he isn't sure because he doesn't have a thermometer to check his temperature. His joints ache terribly, and he has noticed that his skin is beginning to look a little yellow. He has also been itching a lot. He wonders what could be wrong.
Larry thinks back to what he's done lately that could be making him so sick. He should have told his dialysis nurse yesterday what's been going on. Could it have been the hot dog he ate from the street vendor a couple days ago? He did notice that the vendor didn't wash it hands after urinating on the side of the street. What about that one time he used his buddy's syringe to inject his heroin? That was almost a year ago though, and his buddy didn't seem to be sick. Larry racked his brain searching for an answer. Maybe he better ask his girlfriend how she is feeling. He never uses condoms when having sex, but he thought she took care of that sexually transmitted infection a long time ago. Larry decides it's time to go see the doctor at the medical clinic.
Larry's lifestyle puts him at high risk for contracting hepatitis, inflammation of the liver caused by one of the hepatitis viruses. The three most common hepatitis viruses that cause illness in people are hepatitis A, hepatitis B, and hepatitis C.
After explaining his symptoms to the doctor, the doctor tells Larry he'd like to run a hepatitis panel on him. This is a blood test that will screen for antibodies to hepatitis A, hepatitis B, and hepatitis C. Antibodies are proteins produced by the immune system in response to an invading virus, the antigen. If antibodies against one of the hepatitis viruses are present in Larry's blood, this means that Larry has been exposed to that specific virus.
The presence of the anti-hepatitis A antibody, IgM in the blood is indicative of an acute hepatitis A infection, especially when symptoms are present. The IgM (immunoglobulin) antibody is the first antibody to appear after exposure to an antigen, and in the case of hepatitis A, will persist for about 2-6 weeks. Hepatitis A infections are generally mild and resolve on their own. They do not become chronic infections.
Presence of the hepatitis B surface antigen (HbsAg) is the hallmark sign of an active hepatitis B infection. If this antigen is present for 6 months or more, the infection is considered chronic. In response to the infection, the hepatitis surface antibody (HBsAb) will be detectable in the blood. This happens as the body begins to fight the virus and recover. Presence of this antibody can be a result of a present or past infection. If large amounts of the HBsAb are present, it usually means that the body has totally cleared the virus.
Hepatits B antibodies can also be present after receiving the hepatitis B vaccine. The hepatitis vaccine generally provides a lifetime of immunity. Levels of this antibody may wane over time, but this does not mean that a person is no longer immune.
Hepatitis C antibodies will be present after exposure to the hepatitis C virus, but these antibodies cannot determine whether there is a current infection or a previous one had occurred. Additional tests are needed to make an accurate diagnosis. A hepatitis C qualitative PCR (polymerase chain reaction) is a test that can determine if the virus is still replicating, indicating an active infection. A complete history of symptoms and risk factors can be helpful in determining which tests should be done. If a person displays symptoms of liver involvement such as fatigue, loss of appetite, or jaundice, Liver Function Tests (LFTs) will likely be run as well.
There are vaccines available for hepatitis A and hepatitis B. These vaccines usually provide lifetime immunity for a person. After receiving the vaccine, antibodies to the viruses will be present in the blood.
Hepatitis A, hepatitis B, and hepatitis C are the three most common of the hepatitis viruses to cause illness in people. Exposure to hepatitis can be determine by a blood test called a hepatitis panel. The immune system produces these antibodies in response to the invading virus, the antigen and attempts to fight it.
Presence of the anti-hepatitis A antibody is indicative of an active hepatitis A infection. These antibodies will be present in the blood for up to six weeks. The hepatitis B surface antigen (HBsAg) is the hallmark sign of an active hepatitis B infection, and hepatitis B surface antibodies (HbsAb) will be present in the blood as the body begins to fight and clear the virus. Since the presence of the hepatitis C antibody can not distinguish whether there is an active or past infection, further testing will be needed to make an accurate diagnosis. Liver Function Tests (LFTs) may be indicated if symptoms of liver involvement are present.
A vaccine is available for hepatitis A and hepatitis B. After a vaccination, antibodies to the virus will be detectable in the blood. These vaccines generally provide lifetime immunity.
Medical Disclaimer: The information in this article is for informational purposes only, and should not be interpreted as medical advice. Please consult a doctor for any medical treatment.
To unlock this lesson you must be a Study.com Member.
Create your account
Did you know… We have over 95 college courses that prepare you to earn credit by exam that is accepted by over 2,000 colleges and universities. You can test out of the first two years of college and save thousands off your degree. Anyone can earn credit-by-exam regardless of age or education level.
To learn more, visit our Earning Credit Page
Not sure what college you want to attend yet? Study.com has thousands of articles about every imaginable degree, area of study and career path that can help you find the school that's right for you.
Back To CourseBasic Nursing Training
20 chapters | 191 lessons