Important Facts About Hepatitis You Must Know
Hepatitis refers to an inflammatory disease of the liver, usually caused by viral infection. However, Hepatitis occurs as a secondary consequence of drugs, toxins, and excessive alcohol consumption. Viral Hepatitis is usually a subtle disease, and its symptoms do not become obvious until the disease causes severe liver damage. Let’s look at some of the FAQs related to Hepatitis.
What are the types of Viral Hepatitis?
Viral liver infections classified as Hepatitis include Hepatitis A, B, C, D, and E. A different virus causes each type of viral Hepatitis.
How do the infections of Hepatitis vary from each other?
- Hepatitis A - Hepatitis A is caused by infection with the Hepatitis A virus (HAV). The most common transmission route of this type of Hepatitis is by eating food or water contaminated with the faeces of a person infected with Hepatitis A.
- Hepatitis B - It is spread by contact with infectious body fluids such as blood, vaginal secretions, or semen that contain Hepatitis B virus (HBV).
- Hepatitis C - Hepatitis C is spread through contact with the blood of an infected person. Today, most people are infected with the Hepatitis C virus by sharing needles or other equipment to prepare and inject drugs. Chronic Hepatitis C can cause life-threatening health problems, such as liver cirrhosis and liver cancer.
- Hepatitis D - Hepatitis D is caused by the Hepatitis D virus (HDV). HDV is spread through direct contact with infected blood. This form is rare and only occurs when infected with Hepatitis B.
- Hepatitis E - Hepatitis E is a water-borne disease mainly occurring in areas with poor sanitation and is caused by the ingestion of faecal matter from contaminated water.
What are the signs of Hepatitis?
If you have chronic infectious Hepatitis such as Hepatitis B and C, you may not have any symptoms at first. This is because symptoms may not appear until it affects the liver function.
What are the common symptoms of Hepatitis?
A few symptoms of Hepatitis may include the following-
- Symptoms that mimic flu
- Darkened urine
- Pale coloured stool
- Abdominal pain
- Appetite loss
- Sudden weight loss
- Jaundice like signs, like yellowed eyes and skin
How is chronic Hepatitis detected?
It is to be noted that chronic level Hepatitis takes time to develop, sometimes even months, so these signs might often be overlooked due to their subtlety.
How to diagnose Hepatitis?
Some methods include getting an abdominal ultrasound done which can reveal any fluid retention, damage to liver, tumours, gallbladder abnormalities, etc. Using an invasive procedure like a liver biopsy also determines whether surgery is required. Liver function tests and other blood tests are also performed for virus detection, enzyme levels and formation of antibodies.
Is there any specific treatment plan for Hepatitis?
The treatment options vary for the type of Hepatitis you have and whether it is an acute infection or a chronic one. Antiviral drug therapies, proper vaccinations, and immune-suppressing drugs often work well.
What can be the treatment option for Acute Hepatitis?
In acute cases, bed rest, constant hydration and following adequate nutrition can also work as the disease would resolve independently. Early treatments work the best for this disease, and it is advisable to visit the doctor at the earliest if you start developing any symptoms of Hepatitis.
What are some of the preventive measures of Hepatitis?
- Hygiene - Good hygiene is a crucial way to avoid contracting Hepatitis. Avoid eating raw or undercooked food, do not share razors or toothbrushes, and don’t touch blood.
- Intimate contact with other individuals can also aid in transmission. Rely on using condoms to lower the risk of infection.
- The biggest factor in prevention is getting vaccinated. For Hepatitis A and B, vaccines can help a lot. Vaccines for the other types of Hepatitis are also being produced, although that will take time.
What are the complications one can develop?
Chronic Hepatitis can often lead to serious health issues. Since the liver is primarily targeted, especially for Hepatitis B or C, the complications are liver damage to a varying degree, including irreversible damage to the liver.
Some of the factors that can affect the outcome are the type of Hepatitis a person has, whether they have symptoms and whether they need treatment. Closely monitoring Hepatitis progression and complications can also improve the condition of patients.
By: 1Tab Desk | on 2021-08-27