An inflammatory disorder of the liver is referred to as hepatitis. Hepatitis can have other probable origins besides viral infections, which are often what cause it.
These include autoimmune hepatitis and hepatitis brought on by drugs, alcohol, poisons, and other medications. When your body produces antibodies against the tissue in your liver, it develops an illness called autoimmune hepatitis.
Hepatitis A, B, C, D, and E are the five primary hepatitis virus subtypes. Each kind of viral hepatitis is caused by a distinct virus.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), 354 million people worldwide today suffer from chronic hepatitis B and C.
Types of Hepatitis, Symptoms, and Treatments
1. Hepatitis A
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), there are around 24,900 new hepatitis A infections in the United States each year.
Vaccination has played a significant role in the overall drop in incidence in the United States during the past 20 years, but outbreaks still occasionally happen.
Hepatitis A is primarily spread through contaminated food or drink that has been in touch with the feces of an infected person. It is widespread, especially in nations with inadequate sewage infrastructure.
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Symptoms usually appear in a person between 14 and 28 days. These signs include malaise, stomach pain, diarrhea, black urine, fever, and lack of appetite.
However, a lot of folks have no symptoms at all. The majority of patients recover fully in a few weeks to many months. After that, they are protected from it. Children under the age of 6 typically don’t exhibit any symptoms.
Hepatitis A can occasionally be lethal. But there are secure and reliable vaccines that offer defense against this infection.
People who are at risk
People with a higher risk of contracting hepatitis A include:
- worldwide travelers
- sex partners who are males
- people who have little or no access to clean water people who reside in unsanitary places
- Hepatitis A patients’ sexual partners
- those who are homeless and those who indulge in toxic and illicit substance usage
Diagnosis and treatment
The diagnosis of hepatitis A is made by medical professionals using blood testing. These examinations can find hepatitis A-specific antibodies.
Hepatitis A has no known therapy, but most individuals recover and treatment can help manage symptoms. It could take weeks or even months for you to recover.
In a small percentage of instances, hepatitis A may not go away, and sufferers may develop consequences like acute liver failure. Liver transplantation may be life-saving in several situations.
According to the CDC, there are presently 862,000 hepatitis B carriers in the United States.
Hepatitis B infection is often acute or transient, but it can develop into a chronic condition, especially in youngsters.
About 15–25% of persons with chronic hepatitis B may develop long-term consequences such as liver cancer or cirrhosis. Although there is no therapy for the illness, it can be managed.
Hepatitis B normally spreads when a carrier’s blood or sperm enters the body of an uninfected individual. Risk elements consist of:
- having sexual relations without using restraints
- sharing syringes
- tattooing with non-sterile needles
- unintentional skin piercings from medical equipment sharing of personal goods like a toothbrush or razor
- nursing by an infected person giving birth to a child by an infected person
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The symptoms are comparable to those of other hepatitis kinds. People may not show any symptoms at all or may be asymptomatic at first.
Hepatitis B symptoms that a person may experience include
fever, rash, joint pain, arthritis, fatigue, abdominal pain, biliary obstruction, nausea, and anorexia
Diagnosis and treatment
To diagnose hepatitis B, medical practitioners will follow numerous steps. These include discussing sexual activity and needles used with the individual. Testing blood samples for antibodies and antigens is another step in the diagnostic procedure.
Hepatitis B has no known treatment; it usually goes away on its own in 95% of cases. Symptom management may be aided by supportive treatment. Antiviral medicine may be prescribed by a doctor in chronic sickness instances, and the liver will be periodically checked for long-term damage.
A person should abstain from alcohol, narcotics, and liver-toxic substances while receiving treatment and recovering. Globally, the most frequent source of chronic hepatitis and end-stage liver disease is hepatitis B.
A blood-borne virus called hepatitis C is typically spread by persons exchanging needles or other drug-related supplies.
According to the CDC, 2.4 million persons in the United States are believed to be infected with this virus. Since 2010, the number has been increasing.
Children born to infected mothers and healthcare personnel who handle sharps are among the groups at risk for exposure.
Hepatitis C can be a transient illness, but more than half of those who have it go on to have a chronic, lifelong infection.
A person may not exhibit any symptoms, and around half of those infected with the virus are unaware of their condition. Without realizing it, they could accidentally pass it on to someone else. Hepatitis C symptoms frequently include the following when present:
right upper quadrant discomfort, nausea jaundice, and black urine.
Diagnosis and treatment
Laboratory testing for hepatitis C antibodies is the main diagnosis method for hepatitis C, just like it is for hepatitis A and B.
Around 25% of people will have their bodies completely rid of the virus, according to the National Health Service (NHS) of the United Kingdom. But in other people, it might linger and develop into a chronic condition.
There is no cure for the acute stage of hepatitis C, according to the CDCT. Nine out of ten persons will no longer experience symptoms after taking an oral medicine for 8 to 12 weeks if chronic hepatitis develops. Hepatitis C patients should avoid alcohol, medications, and supplements that are toxic to the liver, much like those with other kinds of hepatitis.
Hepatitis C can, in extreme situations, result in liver cancer, chronic liver disease, and liver scarring (cirrhosis). In the United States, complications from hepatitis C are a major factor in liver transplants.
Another viral hepatitis infection, hepatitis D, can be both acute and chronic. It harms the liver, just like other hepatitis infections do. However, only those with active hepatitis B experience severe diseases. Otherwise, the hepatitis D virus cannot proliferate. Hepatitis D will spread to about 5% of all hepatitis B patients, according to a reliable source.
The majority of hepatitis D patients have no symptoms.
When they do, the symptoms resemble those of other hepatitis infections. They consist of:
stomach ache, nausea, vomiting, fever, jaundice, disorientation, and bleeding.
Diagnosis and treatment
If specific hepatitis D antibodies are detected in a patient’s body fluids, then a diagnosis of hepatitis D will be made. Laboratory testing is a part of this process.
Hepatitis D infection in its acute stage has no recognized cure. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has not yet approved these drugs, despite some experimental research suggesting they may be able to treat chronic hepatitis D. A person may require a liver transplant in some circumstances due to the serious liver damage that the hepatitis D virus can cause.
A viral hepatitis infection called hepatitis E has both acute and chronic forms. The chronic version is more typical in people with immunosuppression. Over 50,000 deaths globally are attributable to the hepatitis E virus, which is the most common source of acute hepatitis infections.
Hepatitis E infections are frequently asymptomatic. When these illnesses manifest symptoms, they usually are rather minor. Hepatitis E signs and symptoms include stomach aches, nausea, vomiting, a fever, lethargy, and anorexia.
Diagnosis and treatment
To diagnose hepatitis E, medical practitioners consider several distinct factors. Because hepatitis E infections are endemic in several regions of the world, these include the patient’s symptoms and travel history. Laboratory testing is significant even if standardized tests for hepatitis E have not yet been created by scientists.
Hepatitis E infections have no established standard of care and typically go away on their own after a few weeks. However, in more extreme and uncommon circumstances, a liver transplant may be required.
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Hepatitis A and E
Food and water that have been in touch with the feces of a person who has the virus are the main sources of transmission for hepatitis A and E.
Among the methods of infection prevention are:
- Drinking only bottled water while traveling,
- washing hands thoroughly after using the restroom and before eating, and ensuring that food is fully prepared and stored properly
- Avoiding or peeling fruits and vegetables that may have been washed or cultivated in unsanitized water
When traveling to a region where the virus is common, people may want to inquire with their doctor about the hepatitis A vaccine.
Hepatitis B, C, and D
The following actions should be taken to reduce the risk of transmission, where applicable:
- Use a barrier method during sex, such as a condom, and only use previously unused, clean needles.
- Be honest with any sexual partners about any viruses they may have.
- Avoid sharing manicure tools, razors, and toothbrushes.
- Verify the sterility of any tattoo or acupuncture equipment.
There is no vaccine for hepatitis C, however, people who have a high risk of exposure to hepatitis B can ask their doctor about it.