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Getting Social Security Benefits for Your Hepatitis
The term "hepatitis" refers to diseases causing liver inflammation that can be due to viruses and/or chronic alcohol abuse. Viruses causing hepatitis include autoimmune hepatitis, Hepatitis A, B, C, E and the delta factor. Each virus causes a distinct syndrome, though they share some symptoms.
Autoimmune hepatitis involves inflammation of the liver caused by rogue immune cells that mistake the liver's normal cells for a foreign tissue or disease-causing agent. Autoimmune hepatitis sometimes occurs in relatives of people with autoimmune diseases, suggesting a genetic cause. This disease is most common in young girls and women.
This disease is associated with other autoimmune diseases, such as thyroidism, type 1 diabetes, ulcerative colitis, hemolytic anemia and proliferative glomerulonephritis.
Hepatitis A is an inflammation (irritation and swelling) of the liver caused by the hepatitis A virus. It is transmitted by contaminated food or water, or contact with a person who is currently ill with the disease
Other common Hepatitis virus infections include Hepatitis B and Hepatitis C, but hepatitis A is the least serious and most mild of these diseases. Both of the others may become chronic illnesses, but hepatitis A does not.
Symptoms include Jaundice, fatigue, loss of appetite, nausea and vomiting, low fever, pale or clay colored stools, dark urine, generalized itching.
There is no specific treatment for hepatitis A. Rest is recommended during the acute phase of the disease when the symptoms are most severe. People with acute hepatitis should avoid alcohol and any substances that are toxic to the liver, including acetominophen (Tylenol).
Most people who become infected with hepatitis B get rid of the virus within 6 months. A short infection is known as an "acute" case of hepatitis B. Approximately 10% of people infected with the hepatitis B virus develop a chronic, life-long infection.
Hepatitis B is transmitted via blood and other body fluids. Infection can occur through contact with blood in healthcare settings, unsafe sex with an infected person, blood transfusions, sharing needles during drug use, contaminated tattoo or acupuncture instruments, or an infected mother that passes the virus to
Hepatitis C is an inflammation of the liver caused by infection with the hepatitis C virus. The prevalence of hepatitis C infection is approximately 4 million people in the United States or about 1 in 70 to 100 people. Many people who are infected with the hepatitis C do not have symptoms. Hepatitis C is often detected during blood tests for a routine physical or other medical procedure. If the infection has been present for many years, the liver may be permanently scarred -- a condition called cirrhosis. In many cases, there may be no symptoms of the disease until cirrhosis has developed.
The following symptoms could occur: jaundice, abdominal pain (right upper abdomen), fatigue, loss of appetite, nausea and vomiting, low fever, pale or clay-colored stools, dark urine, generalized itching, ascites, bleeding varices (dilated veins in the esophagus).
Hepatitis C is one of the most common causes of chronic liver disease in the U.S. today. At least 80% of patients with acute hepatitis C ultimately develop chronic liver infection, and 20% to 30% develop cirrhosis. Between 1% and 5% of patients may develop liver cancer. Hepatitis C is now the number 1 cause for liver transplantation in the U.S.
Delta agent (Hepatitis D)
Hepatitis D infection involves a defective viral agent that causes symptoms only in association with hepatitis B infection.
Hepatitis D virus may worsen an acute hepatitis B infection or existing hepatitis B liver disease. It can cause symptoms in previously asymptomatic hepatitis B carriers. Hepatitis D infects about 15 million people worldwide. It occurs in 5% of people with hepatitis B. Hepatitis D may increase the severity of symptoms associated with all forms of hepatitis B. Risk factors include: previous hepatitis B infection, being a carrier of hepatitis B, receiving blood transfusions and intravenous drug abuse.
This information was obtained from MediLine Plus: Liver Disease at http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/000205.htm.
Social Security evaluates each person's claim for benefits using the following five steps:
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