Hepatitis: Types, Symptoms, Causes, Diagnosis and Treatment

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What is Hepatitis?

Hepatitis is a severe liver disease that a virus can cause. Hepatitis viruses are classified as A, B, C, D, and E. Hepatitis A, and E are typically spread through contaminated food or water. When an infected person’s blood enters the body of an uninfected person, hepatitis B, C, and D can occur.

Hepatitis A and E are generally short-lived, but hepatitis B, C, and D can become long-term disorders if they are not treated. Chronic hepatitis can cause scarring of the liver and liver cancer. There is no cure for hepatitis; however, there are therapies that can help control the illness. Hepatitis A and B are preventable with vaccines, while drugs exist to treat Hepatitis C.

You should consult a doctor as soon as you suspect you have hepatitis since it can be deadly. The earlier the disease is diagnosed and treated, the better the chances of avoiding severe complications.

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Types of Hepatitis

A variety of hepatitis exists, each with its own signs and symptoms and underlying reasons. A, B, and C strains are the most frequent, followed by HBV and HCV.

1. Hepatitis A: To get hepatitis A, you’re most likely to get it from contaminated food or water. Fatigue, nausea, and yellowing of the skin are all signs of hepatitis (yellowing of the skin).

2. Hepatitis B: Hepatitis B is a more dangerous strain of the virus that can cause irreversible damage to the liver and even death in some cases. Sharing needles or having unprotected sex are the most common ways to spread the disease. Fever, exhaustion, and a loss of appetite are all signs of the illness.

3. Hepatitis C: Because it is the most severe type of the virus, hepatitis C, it may cause liver failure in some people. Infected blood, such as sharing needles or engaging in unprotected sex, is the most common method of transmission. Fever, exhaustion, and jaundice are all symptoms of hepatitis (yellowing of the skin).

Hepatitis symptoms

People with hepatitis are rarely diagnosed since they don’t show any symptoms. Symptoms typically begin to show between two and six weeks following infection. Following are the possible symptoms:

  • Fever
  • Fatigue
  • Loss of appetite
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Dark urine
  • Clay-colored stools
  • Joint pain

Symptoms can continue for weeks or months at a time. They may disappear for a time and then reappear. See your doctor right away if you see any of these signs.

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Diagnosis of Hepatitis

Hepatitis comes in a variety of forms, each with its own set of symptoms. To properly diagnose your issue, your doctor can place an order for the necessary tests.

Hepatitis can be diagnosed in a variety of ways. Diagnosing hepatitis is most commonly done by a blood test. An antibody test can reveal whether or not you are immune to the virus. Proteins known as antibodies are produced by your body to help fight illness. Antibodies to hepatitis will be formed in your body if you have the disease.

Your physician may also recommend a liver function test. Enzymes in your blood are measured with this test. Proteins are known as enzymes that aid chemical reactions in the body. Enzymes such as these can seep into your bloodstream if your liver has been damaged. By doing a liver function test, you can determine if your liver is damaged and how much damage there is.

Hepatitis can be diagnosed with imaging tests such as an ultrasound or CT scan, performed under ultrasound or CT guidance. These tests might reveal if your liver is inflamed or damaged.

Causes of Hepatitis

Viral infection is the most prevalent cause of hepatitis; however, numerous other reasons exist. Autoimmune disease, alcoholism, and certain drugs can all be contributing factors.

1. Viral hepatitis: When it comes to the most prevalent type of hepatitis, viral hepatitis, which is what most people think of when they hear the word “hepatitis,” there are five different viruses that can cause it. Contact with tainted blood or body fluids, such as saliva, semen, or blood, can spread viral hepatitis. Food and water infected with E. coli can also spread the disease.

2. Autoimmune hepatitis: As the name suggests, autoimmunity happens when your body’s immune system assaults your liver cells, resulting in hepatitis. The symptoms of this type of hepatitis are similar to those of other types of hepatitis, making it challenging to identify.

3. Alcohol abuse: Hepatitis and liver damage can be caused by excessive alcohol consumption. The liver can be damaged by alcoholism, which makes it more vulnerable to viral infections.

4. Medications: In some cases, hepatitis can be caused by certain drugs. Prescription pharmaceuticals, over-the-counter medications, and herbal supplements fall within this category. Hepatitis can be caused by medicine, so talk to your doctor about adjusting your dosage or prescription.

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Hepatitis Vaccination

Vaccines are available for the most common hepatitis A, Havrix, and Vaqta. A longer-lasting vaccination, Havrix, is the most widely utilized. If you work with or travel to locations where hepatitis A is prevalent, you should get a hepatitis A vaccination. Pregnant women and anyone at risk of developing severe complications from hepatitis A should take Vaqta.

There are fewer vaccinations available for different kinds of hepatitis. The vaccine for hepatitis B is administered in a three-dose series over six months to protect against the disease. All adults and children under 18 without this vaccine are encouraged. There isn’t a vaccine for hepatitis C, although research is being done.

For the best protection against hepatitis, you should get vaccinated regularly. In most cases, the immunizations are safe and efficient at preventing the infection.

Transmission of Hepatitis

Viral hepatitis can cause liver damage and even death. Transmission of the virus occurs when

  • Contaminated blood or bodily fluids come into contact with the virus-infected body fluids.
  • Injecting drugs with the aid of a shared needle or other equipment.
  • Sexual activity
  • Contact with potentially infectious bodily fluids
  • Vertical transmission of infection from a pregnant woman to her unborn infant.

To avoid the spread of hepatitis, it is necessary to adopt preventative measures. Talk to your doctor about being vaccinated if you’re at risk for hepatitis. By avoiding contact with infected people’s blood and bodily fluids and by not sharing needles or other injecting equipment, you can help prevent the spread of the virus.

Treatment of Hepatitis:

It’s critical to seek treatment for hepatitis as soon as you suspect you have it. You can feel better, and the sickness will not worsen if you receive treatment. Both medication therapy and a liver transplant are options for those suffering from hepatitis C.

1. Medical therapy: Regarding hepatitis treatment, medical intervention is always the first port of call. Doctors hope to halt the virus from reactivating and minimize liver inflammation due to medical treatment. Antiviral medicines and immunosuppressive drugs are two forms of hepatitis treatments.

2. Antiviral drugs: Antiviral medications prevent the virus from re-infecting itself. Both pills and injections are available for these medications. Interferon is the most often used antiviral medication for treating hepatitis. Some of the adverse effects of interferon include exhaustion, flu-like symptoms, and sadness.

3. Immunosuppressive drugs: Drugs that inhibit your immune system are known as immunosuppressives. In most cases, this medication is administered intravenously. Prednisone is the most commonly prescribed immunosuppressive medication for the treatment of hepatitis. Weight gain, acne, and mood swings are all possible adverse effects of Prednisone.

4. Liver transplant: People with hepatitis who fail to respond to medical treatment may be eligible for a liver transplant. A liver transplant is performed after the damaged organ is removed and replaced with a healthy organ donated by another person. Having your liver transplanted is a severe operation that comes with several dangers.

You will need immunosuppressive medicines to keep your body from rejecting your new liver. Weight gain, acne, and mood fluctuations are possible side effects of these medications.

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Infection with hepatitis can be dangerous. It’s critical to seek treatment for hepatitis as soon as you suspect you have it. You can feel better, and the sickness will not worsen if you receive treatment.

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