What is hepatitis?

Hepatitis is an inflammation of the liver. Usually, hepatitis is caused by a virus. But in some cases usage of drugs, alcohol, medications, or other toxins can also cause hepatitis.

Hepatitis can also be a result of autoimmune disease (a condition where the body starts making antibodies against its own liver tissues).


What are the types of hepatitis?

All kinds of hepatitis are caused by virally transmitted germs. Following are the five different kinds of hepatitis:

Hepatitis A: Hepatitis A virus is present in the faeces of infected people and is often transmitted through consumption of contaminated food or water. Sometime HAV can also be transferred through sex.

Even though in most cases the infection is not severe and people recover well within a few days. But HAV has a tendency to become life threatening.

According to a General Physician in Lahore people living in countries with poor sanitation are more prone to getting infected with hepatitis A.

Upset stomach, itchy skin, stomach pain, diarrhoea, fever, pale eyes and skin, fatigue and dark urine are the signs and symptoms of hepatitis A.

The disease can be diagnosed with the help of blood tests. No medication is prescribed to treat hepatitis A, doctors prescribe medication to treat your symptoms which is known as supportive care.

Immunisation from Hepatitis A is possible with the help of vaccinations.

Hepatitis B: Hepatitis B is caused when a person comes in contact with infectious body fluids like blood, semen,or vaginal secretions.

Some infants are also infected with hepatitis B virus because their mothers are HBV positive. Blood transfusions or usage of contaminated razor blades or injections during medical procedures can also expose you to the risk of getting hepatitis B.

Health care practitioners are also at the high risk to getting infected with hepatitis B because they’re constantly in contact with infected needles and syringes.

Vaccines must be used by everyone to prevent the spread of the hepatitis B virus.

Hepatitis C: Hepatitis C is a liver infection caused by hepatitis C virus HCV.

Hepatitis C is transmitted when a person comes in direct contact with infected blood through usage of injections or sharing razors and blades. Sexual contact can also be a reason for transmission of hepatitis C. Organ transplants and getting a piercing or tattoo with non-sterile equipment can also cause hepatitis C.

Hepatitis C causes dark urine, fever, fatigue, joint pain, nausea, stomach pain, vomiting, and loss of appetite. Hepatitis C can be diagnosed with the help of blood tests and liver function tests.

Initially no treatment is given to people diagnosed with hepatitis C but if your hepatitis C turns into acute hepatitis then medication will be prescribed to you.

Hepatitis D: Hepatitis D or Delta virus is an infection that causes inflammation in the liver. This swelling disrupts the liver function and is likely to cause long-term liver problems.

Unlike other forms of hepatitis, hepatitis D can’t contract on its own. It infects people who are already infected with Hepatitis B.

Hepatitis D is contagious and can spread through infected urine, semen, blood, and vaginal fluids. Babies born to mothers infected with hepatitis D are also prone to getting infected with the disease.

Hepatitis D causes jaundice, fatigue, loss of appetite, vomiting, joint pain and abdominal pain.

Hepatitis D can be diagnosed with the help of blood tests.

Unfortunately hepatitis D is not curable. If diagnosed early liver damage can be prevented. But in some cases where the condition is left untreated Hepatitis D causes liver cancer, cirrhosis and diseases in the liver.

Vaccines to prevent hepatitis B also work in preventing hepatitis D so all children should receive hepatitis B vaccination during their immunisation period.

Hepatitis E:  Hepatitis E is caused by hepatitis E virus HEV. People infected with hepatitis E start getting better within a few months.

Unlike other forms of hepatitis, hepatitis E doesn’t cause any long-term damage to the liver.

Hepatitis E is caused when you eat or drink something that has been contaminated with the stool of a person infected with the virus. Hepatitis E is more common in areas of the world where there is lack of proper sewerage systems.

Mild fever, belly pain, rashes on the skin, joint pain, nausea, tiredness, and yellow skin are the symptoms of hepatitis E. If your body is symptomatic of hepatitis E don’t hesitate visiting a General Physician in Karachi.

Hepatitis E can be diagnosed with the help of a blood test or stool test.

If you rest adequately, eat healthy food, avoid alcohol and drink plenty of water your symptoms of hepatitis E will start getting better and the disease will go away on its own within 4 to 6 weeks.


What is alcoholic hepatitis?

Excessive consumption of alcohol can lead to severe liver damage and inflammation. This condition is called alcoholic hepatitis. Alcohol damages the cells of your liver over time and causes permanent damage which leads to liver failure, cirrhosis or scarring of the liver.

Overdosage of certain medications and exposure to poison can also cause non infectious hepatitis.


What are some common complications caused by hepatitis?

Hepatitis can cause some serious complications in the human body like:

  • liver cancer
  • bleeding disorders
  • fluid buildup in the abdomen
  • high blood pressure in the veins that enter your liver
  • hepatic encephalopathy
  • hepato-cellular carcinoma
  • kidney failure

Hepatitis can also be deadly if it’s not diagnosed or treated timely.


How can hepatitis be prevented?

Transmission of hepatitis can surely be prevented by following these steps:

  • Practicing good hygiene habits is the key to avoiding transmission of hepatitis.
  • Don’t share your needles with anyone.
  • Don’t share your facial or body razors with anyone.
  • Never touch any kind of spilled blood.
  • Never use anyone else’s toothbrush.
  • If you’re travelling to a not so developed country then try avoiding local water, ice, raw or undercooked oysters and shellfish. Also avoid raw fruits and vegetables.
  • Practising safe sex can also help reducing the transmission of hepatitis. What is hepatitis
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