Recognizing the symptoms of hepatitis can pose quite a challenge for the average person. It's very difficult to determine whether or not you have the disease without consulting a physician in large part because the symptoms can vary depending on the type of hepatitis a person has.
Most people don't even realize they might have hepatitis until they experience jaundice, a yellowing of the skin.
Showing signs and symptoms is the way the body communicates a problem. We all know the symptoms of common problems, such as sunburned skin and overworked muscles, but what about symptoms of the liver? How does the liver say that something is wrong? The liver has a big job in keeping the body healthy, and if it has a problem, sometimes it can make a lot of noise, or better yet, color.
JaundiceA well-known sign of hepatitis is jaundice, which is an accumulation of a chemical called "bilirubin" in the body's tissues. The liver usually processes this chemical as a waste product, but when the liver is damaged, it's unable to do its normal job. The chemical then accumulates in the blood and starts to leak out in to nearby tissue. When enough of this chemical accumulates, it's possible to see a yellow color in the skin, urine and especially around the whites of the eyes. Though this is a very obvious sign, there are other more common signs and symptoms of hepatitis in the liver.
The symptoms of acute viral hepatitis are very similar even though different viruses cause the disease. Because of this, it is not possible to accurately diagnose the type of virus causing acute viral hepatitis just by the symptoms. By identifying risk factors (behaviors or traits that put you at extra risk for a certain disease) and getting a good medical history, doctors can come up with a strong working diagnosis. Since common symptoms overlap with many diseases, though, blood tests are necessary to diagnose viral hepatitis.