Symptoms of Hepatitis DMany people who get this type of hepatitis will not have any symptoms. If people do have symptoms, they may start abruptly and include the following:
- Yellowing of the skin or eyes (also known as jaundice)
- Feeling very tired
- Abdominal pain (or stomach pain)
- Not feeling very hungry
- Dark urine
- Muscle pain
- Joint pain
- A low-grade fever.
In a number of people, these symptoms may be confused with stomach flu symptoms, especially in the early stages of the illness.
Most people with hepatitis D gradually get better within a couple of months. For some people, however, the body is unable to kill the hepatitis B virus. These people develop chronic hepatitis D. A person with chronic hepatitis D may develop cirrhosis, which can cause symptoms such as weakness, nausea, weight loss, and a loss of appetite. These people are also at risk of developing liver failure.
(Click Hepatitis D Symptoms for more information on the possible impact of a hepatitis D virus infection.)
Contagious PeriodA person is contagious during the hepatitis D incubation period. A person who is infected with hepatitis D begins to be contagious early in the incubation period. The point at which a person is most contagious is right before symptoms begin. If a person develops the chronic form of the disease, he or she remains contagious indefinitely.
Hepatitis D DiagnosisIn order to make a diagnosis, the doctor will ask the patient a number of questions and perform a physical exam to look for signs and symptoms of hepatitis D.
If the doctor suspects hepatitis D, he or she will order certain tests to help diagnose the disease. Some of these tests will look for high levels of liver enzymes. Other tests will look for antibodies the body has made against the hepatitis D virus.
(Click Diagnosing Hepatitis D for more information about how a diagnosis is made.)