What is Hepatitis?
Hepatitis refers to a condition in the liver caused due to inflamed liver cells. It is majorly caused due to viral infection; however, there could be other reasons as well. There are several different types of hepatitis, such as Hepatitis B, Hepatitis C, Hepatitis D, and autoimmune hepatitis. Sometimes, they are also a secondary result of medications, toxins, drugs, or alcohol in the body. Autoimmune hepatitis is when antibodies are formed against your liver tissue causing the damage.
Your liver performs several critical functions that are in-charge of the metabolism of your body. Thus, damage caused to this organ should be considered a serious issue. Gastroenterologists can treat everything from irritable bowel syndrome to hepatitis C.
Hepatitis B and C are infectious forms of the disease that are chronic. In these cases, the symptoms do not show up in the earlier stages and may only occur much later until the damage affects the functioning of the liver. The symptoms of chronic hepatitis develop very slowly over a long period of time and thus might be too subtle to even notice.
However, symptoms for acute hepatitis most likely show up at a much earlier stage. Some of the common symptoms of acute hepatitis are:
- Feelings of fatigue
- Symptoms similar to flu
- Dark-colored urine
- Pale stools
- Severe abdominal pain
- Loss of appetite
- Unexplained weight loss
- Jaundice – causing yellow skin and eyes
Hepatitis Risk Factors
Each hepatitis occurs due to different reasons. Individuals who are most at risk for hepatitis C infection are those who have undergone blood transfusions, blood products, or organ transplants. Similarly, those who share syringes, drug injections, or equipment and are involved with sexual partners with Hepatitis B are at risk of the infection type of Hepatitis B. Unfortunately, infants born to mothers with this infection also carry the same in their bodies.
The causes of hepatitis may vary depending on the type of hepatitis. Here are some of the causes of each type:
- Hepatitis A: Commonly transmitted through consuming water or food that has been contaminated by the feces of a person infected by the same infection.
- Hepatitis B: Commonly transmitted through coming in contact with infectious bodily fluids such as semen, blood, or vaginal secretion.
- Hepatitis C: transmitted through direct contact of infected bodily fluids, typically through sexual activities or drug syringes.
- Hepatitis D: Though rare, a serious disease transmitted through direct contact of infected blood.
- Hepatitis E: Found mostly in poorly sanitized areas, it is transmitted through water supply that has been infected with ingesting fecal matter.
However, the causes of autoimmune hepatitis are alcohol and other toxins. However, sometimes it could even be an underlying reason for autoimmune system response.
There are several steps and ways that hepatitis can be diagnosed. Some of which are:
- History and physical exam: Your doctor may ask for your history to determine any contact with related infections. They may also look for physical symptoms such as yellow eyes and skin or an inflamed liver by pressing down your abdomen.
- Liver function test: Using blood samples to determine the efficiency of the functioning of your liver.
- Blood tests: these are taken if your liver function hepatitis test results in normal. Additional blood tests can determine any viruses causing autoimmune hepatitis.
- Ultrasound: helps to determine the functioning of the liver and other organs and check for any abnormality.
- Liver biopsy: an invasive procedure where tissue from your liver is taken out to determine any infection or inflammation in the area.
Again, each type of hepatitis needs to be treated in different ways due to the different underlying reasons that caused it in the first place. Gastric surgeons treat different conditions that affect the organs of the digestive system. here are some of the basic hepatitis cure treatments for each:
- Hepatitis A: Not much treatment is required as it is a short-term illness. The doctor might prescribe hydration and nutrition orders if facing any discomfort.
- Hepatitis B: Treated with anti-virus medications.
- Hepatitis C: treated with antiviral medicines for hepatitis
- Autoimmune hepatitis: treated with drugs that suppress the immune system
Hygiene practice is extremely important in preventing Hepatitis A and E, especially when traveling to a developing country. Avoiding local water and raw and uncooked food is essential.
Hepatitis B, C, and D are contracted through blood and thus, can be prevented by not sharing needles or razors, not touching spilled blood, etc.
Hepatitis Doctors at Carefit can help guide you, diagnose, and treat you if you show symptoms of the disease.