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Hepatitis – Symptoms, Diagnosis and Treatment

Hepatitis Introduction

Hepatitis is the inflammation of the liver which is mostly caused by the viruses and also due to the chemicals, drugs, alcohol, inherited diseases or autoimmune disease. The hepatitis is diagnosed by the presence of inflammation cells in the tissues of the organs and the hepatitis may occur with limited or no symptoms.

Hepatitis Overview

The overview of the hepatitis states that this is the disease which leads to Jaundice, anorexia and malaise and it is the high risk disease which becomes acute when it lasts for more than six months. The most cases of hepatitis around the world are caused by the group of viruses which are known as the hepatitis viruses.

The liver is the most important organ located in the upper right hand side of the abdomen and it performs many functions such as processing the body’s nutrition, manufacturing bile which helps in fat digestion, synthesizing proteins, regulating blood clotting, and breaks the toxic substances into harmless substances which the body can use. The virus when affected by the inflammation causes the hepatitis disease which is a serious health problem when discovered at an advanced stage.

Types of Hepatitis

There are several types of hepatitis and the most common types are as follows

  • Hepatitis A
  • Hepatitis B
  • Hepatitis C
  • Hepatitis D
  • Hepatitis E

Hepatitis A

Hepatitis A is one of the most common types of Hepatitis which is caused by eating food and drinking water that are infected with virus.

Hepatitis B

This type of hepatitis caused by the specific virus called HBV and it is caused by the contact with the infected person’s blood, semen and etc. The hepatitis B is also caused by sharing the drug needle which has been used for an infected person and even by getting a tattoo or body piercing with an unsterile needle.

Hepatitis C

This is one of the common types of hepatitis which is similar to Hepatitis B which is caused by the virus HCV and also through contact with the infected person. The hepatitis C is the disease which causes swelling in the liver and damage the liver which leads to liver cancer. Most of the people who were affected with hepatitis C develop a chronic infection and this develops the scarring of the lever which is well known as cirrhosis.

Hepatitis D

This type of hepatitis is caused by the HDV virus and this can cause only when a person is already affected with the hepatitis B. This is the disease which is caused by the same factors as hepatitis B and the Hepatitis D causes swelling of the liver.

Hepatitis E

The Hepatitis E is caused by drinking the infected water and the disease is spread through the HEV virus. This is the rare type of hepatitis which causes swelling of the liver but no long term damages.

Symptoms of Hepatitis

The symptoms of Hepatitis cannot be diagnosed very easily as the symptoms are similar to most of the diseases and in some cases the patient does not show any signs or symptoms.

The most common symptoms of Hepatitis are

  • Loss of Appetite
  • Fatigue
  • Mild fever
  • Muscle or joint aches
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Abdominal pain

If the Hepatitis develops its symptoms begin to point to the liver and the chemicals secreted by the liver start to build up in the blood and this causes

  • Jaundice
  • Foul Breath
  • A bitter taste in the mouth
  • Dark or tea colored urine
  • White, light or clay colored stools

The most common symptoms of the hepatitis are the abdominal pain which focus below the right ribs or below the left ribs.

Symptoms of Hepatitis A, B, C, D and E

All types of hepatitis have same or different symptoms and the hepatitis A develops mostly between 2 to 6 weeks after infection and the symptoms are usually too severe.

The most common symptoms of all types of hepatitis are as follows

  • Nausea
  • Diarrhea
  • Low grade fever
  • Loss of appetite
  • Rash
  • Tiredness

Causes of Hepatitis A

The hepatitis A is caused by the consumption of infected food and water and is mostly spread through HAV virus. The causes of Hepatitis A are also through the consumption of Shellfish, fruits, vegetables, and water that are not properly cleaned and fertilized.

Causes of Hepatitis B

The causes of Hepatitis B are from the transmission of an infectious substance from the person who is already affected and the infection can spread through air, saliva, cough, surfaces, blood, needles, blood transfusions, and etc.

Causes of Hepatitis C

The hepatitis C is caused by the virus HCV and caused mostly by contact with blood or blood product.

The hepatitis C is generally contagious and the most common causes include

  • Sharing of contaminated needles between the IV users
  • Transfusion with infected blood
  • Transplantation of organs from infected person
  • From mother to infant

Treatments for Hepatitis

The treatments for hepatitis are based on the type and stage of the disease and also there are no treatment for hepatitis A but for past few years the treatments for Hepatitis B and C are available.

Take Rest

Some types of hepatitis such as acute viral such as Hepatitis A and B are self limited diseases which means the patient’s immune system is able to destroy any type of viruses which are developed by the hepatitis disease. Hence medicines are rarely provided for such self limited hepatitis diseases but the supportive therapies are provided to treat nausea or aches. The people are advised to take rest and provide time for body to fight against the viruses.

Interferon

The interferon is the treatment which is made up of proteins that are made by the body’s immune system to fight against the viruses. The interferon has anti viral properties which play a vital role and act as a powerful weapon against the hepatitis B and C. This synthetic interferon drug helps to control the levels of hepatitis virus in the body but this treatment is so expensive and also causes side effects.

Antiviral drugs

The patients who are affected by hepatitis are advised to take different anti viral drugs to fight better against the virus. The patient with Hepatitis B are treated with interferon with the other anti viral drug called lamivudine but the patient with hepatitis c are treated with interferon along with Ribavirin anti virus drug.

Liver Transplantation

In some cases hepatitis causes serious symptoms which leads to liver damage and for such patients liver transplantation is the only treatment. Liver transplantation is a complex surgery which involves a transformation of failing liver with a donor liver.

There are no specific treatment for Hepatitis D and E and the only treatment for non viral hepatitis is removing the harmful substance by making the patient to vomit by flushing out the stomach. Scientist are working to provide an efficient treatment for specific type of hepatitis and to offer new anti viral drug which helps to prevent viral replication in the liver cells.

Prevention of Hepatitis

Preventing hepatitis helps in destroying any type of viral infection in the body and some of the prevention procedure for hepatitis disease includes

  • Follow good hygiene and avoid unhealthy living condition
  • People should take extra care while drinking water and in swimming and specially during the travel
  • Do not eat shellfish from the water infected from sewage
  • Wash your hands thoroughly before eating and after toilet.
  • Always use antiseptic cleanser to clean toilet, sink, or the bed pan which is used by any of the family member who are already infected by hepatitis.
  • Don’t share needles, razors, tooth brushes, manicure tools from the affected person.
  • If a person is found to be at a high risk to develop hepatitis then he / she is advised to take hepatitis A vaccines
  • Cover open wounds
  • Drink only commercially bottled water during travel.

Conclusion

Hepatitis is the viral inflammation of the liver which is caused by viruses, medicines, or toxic agents. Generally the hepatitis is classified as acute and chronic where acute is the condition which develops severe symptoms and chronic are the hepatitis which develops slowly which has a long course. The hepatitis can be cured without any medicine when diagnosed in the early stage but when hepatitis is discovered in the advanced stage it may be sever and may lead to liver cancer. Prior prevention and leading a healthy life always helps to avoid hepatitis to a great extend. 


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