Hepatitis is related to inflammation of the liver. A viral infection can cause it, but there are other potential causes. Hepatitis may lead to several serious health problems, including liver damage, cirrhosis, and cancer. There is no cure for Hepatitis, but we can manage it with medication and lifestyle changes.
Types of Hepatitis:
There are several different types of Hepatitis. The most common are hepatitis A, hepatitis B, and hepatitis C.
Hepatitis A can be caused by a virus primarily spread through contaminated food or water.
Symptoms of hepatitis A are fatigue, nausea, vomiting, and jaundice.
Hepatitis B can be caused by a virus that is most often spread through contact with infected blood or bodily fluids.
Symptoms of hepatitis B include fatigue, yellowing of the skin and eyes, dark urine, and abdominal pain.
Hepatitis C can be caused by a virus most often spread through contact with infected blood.
Symptoms of hepatitis C are fatigue, nausea, vomiting, and jaundice.
Less common types of Hepatitis:
There are also less common types of Hepatitis, such as hepatitis D and hepatitis E. Hepatitis D only occurs in people who are already infected with hepatitis B. Hepatitis E is most often spread through contaminated food or water. Symptoms of hepatitis E are fatigue, nausea, vomiting, and jaundice.
Hepatitis can be diagnosed by symptoms, a physical examination, and blood tests. The most common blood tests used to diagnose Hepatitis are the hepatitis A, B, and C antibodies. These tests look for antibodies in the blood that are specific to each virus. Antibodies are the proteins produced by the body in response to an infection.
If you have Hepatitis, your blood will test positive for the presence of these antibodies. Sometimes, a liver biopsy may also be done to confirm the diagnosis. A liver biopsy is a procedure in which a small piece of liver tissue is removed and examined for signs of damage.
If you think you may have Hepatitis, it is essential to see a doctor so that you can be properly diagnosed and treated.
The physical exam may reveal signs of liver damage, such as a yellowing of the skin (jaundice) or a swollen abdomen. Blood tests can measure the levels of liver enzymes, which may be elevated if there is liver damage. Imaging tests, such as ultrasound or CT scan, can be used to look for signs of liver damage or inflammation.
Causes of Hepatitis:
There are many different causes of Hepatitis, but the most common is a viral infection. Other causes include alcohol abuse, certain medications, and autoimmune disease.
Viral infection is the most common cause of Hepatitis and can be transmitted through contaminated food or water, contact with infected blood or body fluids, or sexual contact.
Alcohol abuse is a leading cause of Hepatitis, mainly hepatitis C. Alcohol damages the liver and can lead to inflammation and scarring.
Certain medications, such as acetaminophen, can also damage the liver and lead to Hepatitis.
Autoimmune disease occurs when the body’s immune system attacks healthy liver cells. This can lead to inflammation and damage to the liver. Autoimmune Hepatitis is a serious condition that can be difficult to treat.
There is no specific cure for Hepatitis, but the condition can be managed through a variety of treatments. The goal of treatment is to reduce the amount of virus in the body, relieve symptoms, and prevent complications. Antiviral medications can be used to fight the virus and slow its progression. In some cases, the liver may need to be removed surgically. Liver transplants are usually only for people with severe liver damage who are not responding to other treatments.