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WHAT IS HEPATITIS?

Hepatitis refers to an inflammatory ailment of the liver. It is commonly caused by a viral infection, but there are other possible causes of hepatitis. Other possible causes include hepatitis that occurs as a secondary result of medications, drugs, toxins, and alcohol and via autoimmune hepatitis which occurs when your body makes antibodies against your liver tissue. The hepatitis condition can be self-limiting or can progress to fibrosis (scarring), cirrhosis, or liver cancer.

Treatment options vary depending on which type of hepatitis you have. You can prevent some forms of hepatitis through immunizations and lifestyle precautions.

Myths of Hepatitis

Hepatitis is a genetic/hereditary disease that is passed on from parent to child.
If I got hepatitis A, I am immune to other forms of hepatitis.
There is no treatment available for chronic hepatitis B.
Hepatitis B vaccine prevents liver cancer and enhances healing in infected patients.
It is not safe to breastfeed if I have Hep B
Hepatitis B can be transmitted by mosquito bites
Hepatitis C will go away without treatment
Hepatitis C can affect only the liver
There's a vaccine for Hepatitis C
Once you’ve been treated for Hep C, you can’t get it again

Types of Hepatitis

There is 5 main hepatitis, referred to as types A, B, C, D, and E. A different virus is responsible for each type of virally transmitted hepatitis. These 5 types are of greatest concern because of the burden of illness and death they cause and the potential for outbreaks and epidemic spread.

Hepatitis A is always an acute, short-term disease, while hepatitis B, C, and D are most likely to become ongoing and chronic. Hepatitis E is usually acute but can be particularly dangerous in pregnant women. Types B and C lead to chronic disease in hundreds of millions of people and, together, are the most common cause of liver cirrhosis and cancer.

Hepatitis A and E are typically caused by the ingestion of contaminated food or water, while common cause for Hepatitis B, C, and D is contact with infected body fluids.

Common modes of transmission for these viruses include receipt of contaminated blood or blood products, invasive medical procedures using contaminated equipment and for hepatitis B transmission from mother to baby at birth, from family member to child, and also by sexual contact.

Common Symptoms

Jaundice (yellow eyes & skin)
Belly pain
Dark urine
Loss of appetite
Upset stomach
Vomiting
Itching
Pale-colored poop
Joint pain
Fever
Diarrhea
Fatigue

Hepatitis A

Hepatitis A virus (HAV) is a vaccine-preventable but very contagious and 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.

Diagnosis: Check for symptoms and high levels of liver enzymes in your blood.

Precautions

  • Get some rest as you will have less energy than usual.
  • Manage Nausea and try to keep food down
  • Avoid alcohol and use medication with care

Treatment: There’s currently no cure for hepatitis A, but it normally gets better on its own within a couple of months. You can usually look after yourself at home safe and effective vaccines are available to prevent HAV.

Hepatitis B

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 may also occur through transfusions of HBV-contaminated blood and blood products, contaminated injections during medical procedures, and through injection drug use.

Diagnosis: Check for symptoms and following Tests

  • Blood Test
  • Liver Ultrasound Test
  • Liver Biopsy

Precautions:

  • Get some rest as you will have less energy than usual.
  • Maintain the intake of healthy and well nutrition food.
  • Intake plenty of fluids.
  • Antiviral medication
  • Interferon injections
  • Liver transplant
  • Don’t drink alcohol
  • Don’t take prescription or over-the-counter drugs without consulting your doctor.
  • Get tested for hepatitis A & C and get vaccinated for hepatitis A if you haven’t been exposed.

Treatment for acute hepatitis B infection: It is short-lived and will go away on its own.

  • The rest is recommended.
  • Proper nutrition and plenty of fluids.
  • Antiviral drugs or a hospital stay if needed.

Treatment for chronic hepatitis B infection: Needs treatment for the rest of their lives. Treatment helps reduce the risk of liver disease and prevents you from passing the infection to others.

  • Antiviral medications. Several antiviral medications with the consultation of doctor— including entecavir (Baraclude), tenofovir (Viread), lamivudine (Epivir), adefovir (Hepsera), and telbivudine (Tyzeka) — can help fight the virus and slow its ability to damage your liver.
  • Interferon injections. Interferon alfa-2b (Intron A) is a man-made version of a substance produced by the body to fight infection. It’s used mainly for young people with hepatitis B who wish to avoid long-term treatment or women who might want to get pregnant within a few years, after completing a finite course of therapy. Interferon should not be used during pregnancy. Side effects may include nausea, vomiting, difficulty breathing, and depression.
  • Liver transplant. If your liver has been severely damaged, a liver transplant may be an option.

Hepatitis C

Hepatitis C virus (HCV) is mostly transmitted through exposure to infective blood. This may happen through transfusions of HCV-contaminated blood and blood products, contaminated injections during medical procedures, and through injection drug use. Sexual transmission is also possible but is much less common.

Diagnosis: The followings tests to access liver damage in chronic

  • Magnetic Resonance Elastography(MRE)
  • Transient Elastography
  • Liver Biopsy
  • Blood Tests

Precautions

  • Stop drinking alcohol
  • Avoid medications that may cause liver damage
  • Help prevent others from coming in contact with your blood

Treatment: There is no Vaccine for HCV

  • Antiviral Medications
  • Liver Transplantation

Hepatitis D

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.

Treatment: There is currently no cure for hepatitis D, but treatment can help people manage the condition.

  • For people with chronic hepatitis D, a doctor will often prescribe a medicine called pegylated interferon-alpha, which reduces the risk of the condition worsening and have to be usually taken for at least 48 weeks.
  • Hepatitis B vaccines provide protection from HDV infection.

Hepatitis E

Hepatitis E virus (HEV) is mostly transmitted through the consumption of contaminated water or food.

Precautions: No vaccine can prevent the hepatitis E virus.

  • Don’t drink water or use ice that you don’t know is clean
  • Don’t eat undercooked pork, deer meat, or raw shellfish.

Treatment: In most cases, hepatitis E goes away on its own in about 4-6 weeks. These steps can help ease your symptoms:

  • Take rest as much as possible.
  • Proper intake of nutrition and plenty of fluids.
  • Avoid alcohol intake.
It's not killer disease, but treatable disease.

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