Hepatitis means that the liver is caused by inflammation and viral infection that affects the liver. The condition may be self-limiting or may progress to fibrosis (scar), cirrhosis, or liver cancer.
Hepatitis virus is the most common cause in the world but other infections are toxic. (e.g. alcohol, certain drugs), and autoimmune diseases can also cause hepatitis.
The 5 Types Of Viral Hepatitis
5 unique hepatitis viruses have been identified by scientists. Which are identified by the letters A, B, C, D, and E. Different viruses are responsible for each type of viral hepatitis.
Hepatitis A is usually an acute, short-term disease, while hepatitis B, C, and D are the most frequent and likely to be chronic. E is usually acute but can be especially dangerous in pregnant women.
Hepatitis A Virus
HAV is present in the feces of infected persons and is most often transmitted through the consumption of contaminated water or food. Certain sex practices can also spread HAV. Infections are in many cases mild, with most people making a full recovery and remaining immune from further HAV infections. However, HAV infection can be severe and fatal. Most people in the world with poor sanitation have become infected with this virus. Safe and effective vaccines are available to prevent HAV.
Hepatitis B Virus
HBV is transmitted through exposure to infective blood, semen, and other body fluids. HBV can be transmitted from infected mothers to infants at the time of birth or from family members to infants in early childhood. Transmission can also occur through HBV-contaminated blood and blood products, contaminated injections during medical procedures, and the use of injection medication. HBV also poses a risk to healthcare workers who sustain accidental needle stick injuries while caring for infected-HBV patients. Safe and effective vaccines are available to prevent HBV.
Hepatitis C Virus
HCV is mostly spread by exposure to infectious blood. This can occur through HCV-contaminated blood and blood products, contaminated injections during medical procedures, and the use of injection medication. Sexual transmission is additionally possible but is far less common. there’s no vaccine for HCV.
Hepatitis D Virus
HDV infections occur only in those who are infected with HBV. The dual infection of HDV and HBV can result in more serious disease and worse outcome. Hepatitis B vaccines protect from HDV infection.
Hepatitis E Virus
HEV is mostly spread through contaminated water or food intake. Hepatitis E virus is a common cause of hepatitis outbreaks in developing parts of the world and is recognized as an important cause of the disease in developed countries. Safe and effective vaccines to prevent HEV infection have been developed but are not widely available.
Causes Of Non-Infectious Hepatitis
Alcohol and other toxins
Hepatitis can occur due to liver damage due to excessive consumption of alcohol. This is known as alcoholic hepatitis. The alcohol causes the liver to swell and become inflamed. Other toxic causes include the overuse of medication or exposure to poisons.
The immune system may mistake the liver as a harmful object and begin to attack it, hindering liver function.
Viral Hepatitis Symptoms
If you have forms of hepatitis that are usually chronic (hepatitis B and C), you may not have symptoms in the beginning. There may be no symptoms until the liver is damaged.
Signs and symptoms of acute hepatitis appear quickly. They include:
- Flu-like symptoms.
- Dark urine.
- Pale stool.
- Abdominal pain.
- Loss of appetite.
- Unexplained weight loss.
- Yellow skin and eyes, which may be signs of jaundice.
As chronic hepatitis develops slowly, these signs and symptoms can be very subtle.
Tips To Prevent Viral Hepatitis
Practicing good hygiene is one key way to avoid contracting hepatitis. If you’re traveling to a developing country, you should avoid:
- Drinking local water.
- Raw fruit and vegetables.
Contracted hepatitis can be prevented through contaminated blood:
- Do not share drug needles.
- Do not share another person’s razor.
- Not using someone else’s toothbrush.
- Not touching spilled blood.
The use of vaccines is a crucial key to preventing hepatitis. Vaccinations are available to stop the event of hepatitis A and B. Experts are currently developing vaccines against hepatitis C. A vaccination for hepatitis E exists in China, but it isn’t available within us.