Diagnosing Hepatitis A
When diagnosing hepatitis A, a healthcare provider typically begins with a complete medical history, which includes questions about a person's history of drug and alcohol use, and family medical history. He or she will also check for signs of the disease and rule out other medical conditions. Tests that can help when diagnosing hepatitis A include liver function tests and a test that measures bilirubin.
Diagnosing Hepatitis A: An OverviewWhen diagnosing hepatitis A, your healthcare provider will typically ask questions about your medical history, including questions about:
- Current medical conditions
- Current medications
- Family history of medical conditions
- Any recent travel
- Alcohol and/or drug use
- Sexual history.
He or she will also perform a physical exam to look for signs and symptoms of hepatitis A.
Tests Used for Diagnosing Hepatitis AIf your healthcare provider suspects hepatitis A, he or she will order certain tests that help in diagnosing it. Some of these tests look at certain levels of liver enzymes in the blood (liver enzyme tests) or bilirubin, a substance that may be elevated in people with acute hepatitis. Other tests look for antibodies the body has made against the hepatitis A virus.
Diagnosing Hepatitis A: Is It Another Medical Condition?Other diseases share signs and symptoms that are similar to those seen with hepatitis A. Your healthcare provider will consider these conditions and rule them out before diagnosing hepatitis A. Some of these conditions include:
- Mononucleosis (mono)
- Infections caused by certain viruses, such as herpes simplex virus, cytomegalovirus, or coxsackievirus
- Congestive heart failure
- Wilson's disease
- Other types of viral hepatitis
- Liver cancer
- Reaction to medicines, such as birth control pills or acetaminophen (Tylenol®)
- Autoimmune hepatitis
- Systemic lupus erythematosus.