Hepatitis – What is it, Causes, Symptoms and Treatments!

Hepatitis – What it is, Causes, Symptoms and Treatments. Also, hepatitis refers to an inflammatory condition of the liver . It is commonly caused by a viral infection, but there are other possible causes of hepatitis . These include autoimmune hepatitis and hepatitis that occurs as a secondary result of medications, drugs, toxins, and alcohol. Autoimmune hepatitis is a disease that occurs when your body makes antibodies against liver tissue .

Your liver  is located in the upper right part of your abdomen. It performs many critical functions that affect metabolism throughout your body, including:

  • Bile production, which is essential for digestion
  • Filtering toxins from your body
  • Excretion of bilirubin (a product of broken red blood cells), cholesterol, hormones, and drugs
  • Degradation of carbohydrates , fats and proteins
  • Activation of enzymes, which are specialized proteins essential for bodily functions.
  • Storage of glycogen (a form of sugar), minerals, and vitamins  (A, D, E, and K)
  • Synthesis of blood proteins such as albumin
  • Synthesis of clotting factors

When your liver stops working normally, liver failure can occur. Complications of liver failure can cause various disorders. So, check out  Hepatitis – What it is, Causes, Symptoms and Treatments.

The 5 Types of Viral Hepatitis: Viral  infections of the liver  that are classified as hepatitis include hepatitis A, B, C, D and E. A different virus is responsible for each type ofvirally transmitted hepatitis .

Hepatitis A is always an acute, short-term illness, while hepatitis B, C and D are more likely to become ongoing and chronic. Hepatitis E is usually acute, but it can be particularly dangerous in pregnant women.

Hepatitis A:  Hepatitis A is caused by an infection with the hepatitis A virus (HAV). This type of hepatitis is most commonly transmitted by consuming food or water contaminated by the feces of a person infected with hepatitis A.

Hepatitis B :  Hepatitis B is spread through contact with infectious body fluids, such as blood, vaginal secretions ,  or semen, that contain the hepatitis B virus (HBV). Using drugs by injection, having sex with an infected partner, or sharing shavers with an infected person increases your risk of contracting hepatitis B. The CDC estimates that 1.2 million people in the United States and 350 million people all over the world live with this chronic disease.

Hepatitis C:  HepatitisC comes from the hepatitis C virus (HCV). Hepatitis C is spread through direct contact with infected body fluids, typically through injecting drug use and sexual contact. HCV is among the most common viral blood infections in the United States. Approximately 2.7 to 3.9 million Americans are currently living with a chronic form of this infection.

Hepatitis D:  Also called hepatitis delta, hepatitis D is a serious liver disease caused by the hepatitis D virus (HDV). HDV is contracted through direct contact with infected blood. HepatitisD is a rare form of hepatitis that only occurs in conjunction with hepatitis B infection. The hepatitis D virus cannot multiply without the presence of hepatitis B. It is very uncommon in the United States.

Hepatitis E:  HepatitisE is a waterborne disease caused by the hepatitis E virus (HEV). Hepatitis E is mostly found in areas with poor sanitation and usually results from ingesting fecal matter that contaminates the water supply. This disease is uncommon in the United States. However, cases of hepatitis E have been reported in the Middle East, Asia, Central America and Africa, according to the CDC.

Causes:  Causes ofnon-infectious hepatitis

Alcohol and other toxins: Excessive alcohol consumption can cause liver damage and inflammation. This is sometimes referred to as alcoholic hepatitis . Alcohol directly damages the liver cells. Over time, it can cause permanent damage and cause liver failure and cirrhosis, a thickening and scarring of the liver. Other toxic causes of hepatitis include overuse or overdose of medications and exposure to poisons.

Autoimmune System Response:  In some cases, the immune system freezes the liver  as a harmful object and starts attacking it. It causes ongoing inflammation that can range from mild to severe, often hampering liver function. It is three times more common in women than in men.

Common Symptoms:  If you have infectious forms of hepatitis that are chronic, such as hepatitis B and C, you may not have symptoms at first. Symptoms may not occur until the damage affects liver function. Signs and symptoms ofacute hepatitis appear quickly. They include:

Chronic hepatitis develops slowly, so these signs and symptoms can be too subtle to notice.

Treatments: It is treated terminated by the type of hepatitis you have and whether the infection  is acute or chronic.

Hepatitis A:  Hepatitis A usually does not require treatment because it is a short-term illness. Bed rest may be recommended if symptoms cause great discomfort. If you experience vomiting or diarrhea , follow your doctor’s orders for hydration and nutrition.

Hepatitis A vaccine is available to prevent this infection . Most children start vaccination between 12 and 18 months of age. It is a series of two vaccines. Hepatitis A vaccination is also available for adults and can be combined with the hepatitis B vaccine.

Hepatitis B:  Acute hepatitis B does not require specific treatment.

Chronic hepatitis B is treated with antiviral drugs. This form of treatment can be expensive because it must continue for several months or years. Treatment for chronic hepatitis B also requires regular medical evaluations and monitoring to determine whether the virus is responding to treatment.

Hepatitis B can be prevented with vaccination. The CDC recommends hepatitis B vaccination for all newborns. The series of three vaccines is normally completed within the first six months of childhood. The vaccine is also recommended for all healthcare professionals and physicians.

Hepatitis C:  Antiviral drugs are used to treat both acute and chronic forms of hepatitis C. People who develop chronic hepatitis C are typically treated with a combination of antiviral drug therapies. They may also need additional tests to determine the best course of treatment.

People who develop cirrhosis  (scarring of the liver ) or liver disease as a result of chronic hepatitis C may be candidates for a liver transplant . There is currently no vaccination for hepatitis C.

Hepatitis D:  There are no antiviral drugs to treat hepatitis D at this time. According to a 2013 study, a drug called interferon alpha can be used to treat hepatitis D, but it only shows improvement in about 25 to 30 percent of people. HepatitisD can be prevented by vaccinating against hepatitis B, as hepatitis B infection is necessary for hepatitis D to develop.

Hepatitis E : Currently, there are no specific medical therapies available to treat hepatitis E. Because of the often acute infection , it usually resolves on its own. People with this type of infection  are often advised to get adequate rest, drink plenty of fluids, get enough nutrients, and avoid alcohol. However, pregnant women who develop this infection  need close monitoring and care.

Autoimmune  Hepatitis A : Corticosteroids such as prednisone or budesonide are extremely important in the early treatment ofautoimmune hepatitis . They are effective in about 80% of people with this condition. Azothioprine (Imuran), a drug that suppresses the immune system , is often included in the treatment. Can be used with or without steroids.

Other immunosuppressive drugs such as mycophenolate (CellCept), tacrolimus (Prograf) and cyclosporine (Neoral) can also be used as alternatives to azathioprine for treatment.

Tips to Prevent:  Practicing good hygiene is a key way to avoid contracting hepatitis A and E. If you are traveling to a developing country, you should avoid:

Hepatitis B , C and D contracted through contaminated blood can be prevented by:

  • Not sharing drug needles
  • Not sharing razors
  • Not using  someone else ‘s toothbrush
  • Not touching spilled blood

Hepatitis B and C can  also be contracted through sexual intercourse and intimate sexual contact. Practicing safe sex using condoms and dental teeth  can help lower your risk of infection

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