Viral Hepatitis Diagnosis
When considering a viral hepatitis diagnosis, your healthcare provider will conduct a physical exam, looking for symptoms of the disease, such as jaundice or stomach pain. He or she will also ask in-depth questions about your medical history, including questions on drug use and medications you are taking. Tests used to help confirm a viral hepatitis diagnosis include liver function tests and a liver biopsy.
Making a Viral Hepatitis Diagnosis: An OverviewIn order to make a viral hepatitis diagnosis, your healthcare provider will begin by asking a number of 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.
Your healthcare provider will also perform a physical exam to look for signs and symptoms of the disease.
Tests Used to Diagnose Viral HepatitisIf your healthcare provider suspects viral hepatitis, he or she will order certain tests to help make the diagnosis. Liver enzyme tests, which look at certain levels of liver enzymes in the blood, are among thee tests that may be used to diagnose viral hepatitis. Other tests will look for antibodies the body has made against the different types of viral hepatitis. For example, a person with hepatitis B will have antibodies against the hepatitis B virus (see Hepatitis B Testing), while a person with hepatitis C will have antibodies against the hepatitis C virus but not the hepatitis B virus.
Depending on the type of viral hepatitis, your healthcare provider may also do a liver biopsy. A liver biopsy is a simple test during which your healthcare provider removes a tiny piece of your liver through a needle. He or she then checks the piece of liver for signs of hepatitis and liver damage.