What is Hepatitis?

Hepatitis refers to the infection of the liver. It can be due to various factors. One of the causes is viral infections which are also the most common cause.

What are the causes of Hepatitis?

  • Hepatitis A, B, C, D, E viruses
  • Cytomegalovirus
  • Ebstein Barr virus
  • Alcohol
  • Non-alcohol causes like obesity, etc.

Hepatitis A and E are caused due to the consumption of contaminated food and water. While Hepatitis B and C are transmitted through unprotected sexual activity, intravenous drug abuse, and front infected mother to child during pregnancy. Hepatitis D is present only in the presence of Hepatitis B.

What are the risk factors for Hepatitis?

What are the symptoms of Hepatitis?

  • Fever
  • Headache
  • Fatigue
  • Weakness
  • Joint pain
  • Enlargement of liver
  • Yellowish discoloration of skin and eyes (Jaundice)
  • Dark urine
  • Vomiting
  • Nausea
  • Abdominal pain
  • Pain in touching the right part of the abdomen
  • Enlargement of the spleen (seen in some cases only)

Also Read: 8 Things You Need to Know About Liver Diseases

What are the complications of Hepatitis?

  • Chronic Hepatitis: The symptoms persist for more than 6 months in spite of treatment.
  • Acute liver failure: It manifests as damage to the nervous system. There is increased lethargy, drowsiness, behavioral changes, aggressiveness, nausea, vomiting and coma
  • Irreversible damage to the liver (Cirrhosis)
  • Liver cancer

How is Hepatitis diagnosed?

  • Complete blood count
  • HBsAg
  • Anti HAV
  • Anti HCV
  • Anti HEV
  • Anti HDV (only when Hepatitis Bis also present)
  • Liver function tests
  • Urine tests
  • Stool tests
  • Ultrasonography

Also Read: Watch These Signs and Get Your Liver Tested

What is the treatment for Hepatitis?

The mainstay of treatment is symptomatic. Hepatitis A is usually treated symptomatically. Hepatitis B and C require antiviral drugs. In severe cases, liver transplantation may be required.

What are the lifestyle modifications required to prevent Hepatitis?

Prevention is better than cure. To prevent Hepatitis it is important to maintain adequate sanitation and consume clean water and food. Boil the water before consuming.

It is important to use condoms and other safety precautions during sexual intercourse. Avoid multiple partners. Also avoid intravenous drug abuse and alcohol. The patients requiring multiple blood transfusion should ensure that the blood is screened for Hepatitis B and B. It is important to complete the treatment since complications of Hepatitis can be fatal.

Also Read: 9 Things That You Don’t Know Are Damaging Your Liver

Hepatitis Vaccination

Vaccines for Hepatitis A and B are available and can be taken with your physician’s consultation. This may help in preventing as well as decreasing the severity of the infection. There is no vaccination available for Hepatitis C yet.

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