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Hepatitis

Inflammation of liver cells is known as hepatitis. The condition is commonly caused due to viral infection. The other reasons for hepatitis include autoimmune disease and exposure to toxins and medications. Drinking a huge quantity of alcohol may also cause hepatitis. Some people do not have symptoms while in others the condition presents certain symptoms.

What Are The Types Of Hepatitis?

The virus is the most common cause of hepatitis. Based on the type of virus responsible for causing hepatitis, the condition can be divided into the following 5 types:

Hepatitis A: The infection caused by Hepatitis A virus is mild in most cases. Sometimes the disease progresses to cause life-threatening complications. The condition occurs due to poor hygienic conditions when the person consumes water or food contaminated with hepatitis A virus. The condition can be prevented through vaccination.

Hepatitis B: Hepatitis B is a serious condition causing the liver to swell. The condition is transmitted through various ways including unprotected sex, sharing personal items, coming in systemic contact with the blood of an infected person and sharing a needle with an infected person. Caused by Hepatitis B virus, the condition may also be passed from the mother to baby during breastfeeding.

Hepatitis C: Caused by Hepatitis C virus, the condition may lead to liver cirrhosis and liver cancer. Blood used for transfusion is tested for the Hepatitis C virus. Although there is no vaccine for preventing Hepatitis C, it can be effectively cured through optimum medical intervention.

Hepatitis D: Hepatitis D infection is a serious condition. However, it only occurs along with Hepatitis B because the Hepatitis D virus is unable to replicate in the absence of the Hepatitis B virus. This condition is also known as delta hepatitis.

Hepatitis E: Hepatitis E is caused due to poor hygienic condition. It is a waterborne disease and occurs when feces infected with Hepatitis E virus contaminates the water supply.

What Are The Causes Of Hepatitis?

Some of the causes that lead to hepatitis infection are:

  • Viral infections caused due to Hepatitis A, B, C, D, and E virus.
  • Drinking too much alcohol
  • Exposure to certain medications
  • Prolonged contact with toxic substances
  • Autoimmune diseases in which the immune system attacks the liver cells and causes inflammation

What Are The Symptoms Of Hepatitis?

You may have hepatitis if you experience symptoms such as:

  • Fatigue
  • Loss of appetite
  • Muscle or joint pain
  • Vomiting
  • Jaundice in which the skin and eyes of the patient becomes yellow
  • Unintentional weight loss
  • Abdominal pain
  • Diarrhea
  • Nausea

The above symptoms may be due to acute hepatitis. Although effectively treated, acute hepatitis may sometimes cause liver failure and death. Chronic hepatitis may lead to jaundice, confusion, and blood in feces.

How The Diagnosis Of Hepatitis Is Done?

Following are the methods through which hepatitis can be diagnosed:

  • Liver function tests to evaluate the functional capacity of the liver
  • The nucleic acid test for confirming viral hepatitis
  • Biopsy to analyze the extent of liver damage and the presence of cancer
  • Ultrasound to reveal liver enlargement and fluid retention

What Is The Treatment Of Hepatitis?

Treatment options for hepatitis depend upon the cause of this condition.

For treating viral hepatitis, proper bed rest, hydration and nutrition are required. Antiviral medications are required for treating chronic hepatitis B infection. Combinatorial antiviral therapy is generally recommended for hepatitis C infection.

Corticosteroids and immunosuppressants are the preferred treatment option for managing autoimmune hepatitis.

What Are The Preventive Measures For Hepatitis?

Hepatitis can be prevented through:

  • Maintaining proper hygiene
  • Vaccination
  • Reducing the quantity of alcohol