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What is a Hepatitis Blood Test?

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  • Written By: Christina Crockett
  • Edited By: A. Joseph
  • Last Modified Date: 31 October 2016
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A hepatitis blood test is a blood test performed to determine whether a patient has a form of the hepatitis virus. Hepatitis tests detect proteins, or antibodies, that are made by the body in response to the hepatitis virus. When a hepatitis blood test is performed, blood is drawn by a healthcare professional and then tested for those specific antibodies. If no antibodies are present in the blood test, the patient will be classified as being negative for hepatitis. If the test results show that antibodies are present, the next step is to determine what type of hepatitis the patient has, because there are many types of the virus.

Hepatitis blood tests are important because they identify the type of virus that is causing the hepatitis infection, and the tests also allow those with an increased chance of getting or spreading the hepatitis virus to get properly screened. These people might include healthcare professionals such as doctors, nurses and dentists, to name a few, because they might have a high rate of exposure to patients who are carrying the virus. Hepatitis blood tests also help detect whether blood donors and donor organs are carrying the virus. A hepatitis blood test is also done to determine whether the virus might be the cause of certain ailments such as abnormal liver function.

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The word "hepatitis" translates to “inflammation of the liver.” There are various causes of hepatitis and many types of the virus, including hepatitis A, B and C, to name a few, that are the more common strains. Other forms of hepatitis include auto-immune hepatitis, toxin-induced hepatitis, alcoholic hepatitis and fatty-liver hepatitis. When getting a hepatitis blood test, the different forms of hepatitis can be determined.

Most forms of hepatitis can be treated and prevented, depending on the type. It is important for one to become educated on the the different types of hepatitis in order to take the necessary preventative precautions and avoid contracting forms of the hepatitis virus. Along with following safe behavioral precautions, asking a doctor for a hepatitis blood test during normal checkups might be a way to help reduce one’s risk of contracting a form of the hepatitis virus.

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