What is Hepatitis?
What are the causes of Hepatitis?
- Hepatitis A, B, C, D, E viruses
- Ebstein Barr virus
- 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?
- Male gender
- Multiple sexual partners
- Unprotected sexual intercourse
- Intravenous drug abuse
- Multiple blood transfusions
- Alcohol abuse
- Diseases which weaken the immunity like HIV-AIDS
What are the symptoms of Hepatitis?
- Joint pain
- Enlargement of liver
- Yellowish discoloration of skin and eyes (Jaundice)
- Dark urine
- Abdominal pain
- Pain in touching the right part of the abdomen
- Enlargement of the spleen (seen in some cases only)
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
- Anti HAV
- Anti HCV
- Anti HEV
- Anti HDV (only when Hepatitis Bis also present)
- Liver function tests
- Urine tests
- Stool tests
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.
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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