What Is Viral Hepatitis? Types Of Viral Hepatitis

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Hepatitis is an inflammation of the liver. Patients with hepatitis develop an enlarged liver as a result of the disease. Inflammation or injury to the liver can impair its capacity to filter blood, fend off infections, and digest meals. A crucial organ is the illness can sometimes cause hepatitis, viral infections are the most prevalent cause of the illness.

Most Common Types Of Hepatitis: Symptoms, Prevention And Treatment

Viral hepatitis is a liver infection of six types, with the most common being hepatitis A, B, and C. Acute hepatitis usually improves without treatment, while B and C can cause chronic liver disease. Although there is a vaccine for hepatitis A and B, no vaccine is available for hepatitis C.

Common Types Of Hepatitis

Hepatitis A

The hepatitis A virus (HAV) is the infection cause of hepatitis A, a liver illness. Although contaminated food and water are the main ways that the virus spreads, it can also be transmitted through intimate personal contact, such as domestic or sexual contact with an infected individual. The most prevalent vaccine-preventable illness contracted when traveling is hepatitis A.

Symptoms Of Hepatitis A

Adults are more likely than children to have symptoms of hepatitis A, however, not everyone will experience any. Should symptoms materialize, they typically do so two to seven weeks following infection and may comprise:

  • Fever
  • Fatigue 
  • Loss of appetite
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Abdominal Pain

Prevention Of Hepatitis A

The greatest defense against HAV infection is hepatitis A immunization. The vaccination has a 94%-100% success rate in preventing hepatitis. Approximately 2-4 weeks following the initial injection, protection starts. Long-term protection is achieved with a second injection. After recovering from hepatitis A, you acquire antibodies that permanently protect you from contracting the disease.

Treatment Of Hepatitis A

Hepatitis A does not have a specific medicine or therapy. The major goal of care is to ensure comfort and sufficient nourishment. 

Hepatitis A

Hepatitis B

Hepatitis B, a serious liver disease, is brought on by the hepatitis B virus (HBV). All age groups are vulnerable to the infection. Some people who get the virus may carry it for the rest of their lives as a chronic infection that can lead to fatal conditions, including liver cancer and cirrhosis. Hepatitis B can spread when bodily fluid or blood from an infected person enters the body of an uninfected person. Sharing syringes or needles, having intercourse, or transferring the infection from an infected mother to her fetus during pregnancy or delivery can all lead to this.

Acute infections can become chronic infections in certain individuals. Chronic HBV infections may not cause symptoms for many years, but they can lead to catastrophic problems from hepatitis B, such as liver cancer or cirrhosis. Even if an infected individual shows no signs or feels unwell, they might still infect others. Getting vaccinated is the best way to avoid contracting hepatitis B.

Symptoms Of Hepatitis B

Acute hepatitis B virus (HBV) may not always cause symptoms, and symptoms might change with age. Acute HBV infection in infants, kids fewer than five, and immune-compromised adults usually have no symptoms. Acute HBV infection symptoms might include:

  • Fatigue and fever
  • Loss of appetite
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting

Prevention Of Hepatitis B

Vaccination is the strongest line of defense against HBV infection and its potential negative effects, including liver cancer. It is recommended that everyone seeking protection from hepatitis B, including newborns, older children and teens who have never received a vaccination, people between the ages of 19 and 9, adults 60 years of age or older who have risk factors, and everyone else, get vaccinated against hepatitis B.

Treatment Of Hepatitis B

There isn’t currently an approved medication available to treat acute hepatitis B. For individuals with mild symptoms, doctors often recommend plenty of water, a good diet, and rest. For individuals with more severe symptoms, hospitalization may be required. Individuals with long-term hepatitis B should be evaluated for liver damage often and may benefit from treatment.

Hepatitis B

Hepatitis C

Blood-borne hepatitis C virus (HCV) is the cause of hepatitis C, a liver disease. Hepatitis C can cause a little infection that goes away in a few weeks or a major infection that can be lifelong. A persistent infection, which can cause major health issues or even death in the future, is experienced by more than half of HCV patients. Since they do not exhibit clinical symptoms, many infected people are unaware that they are sick. Hepatitis C treatment is a viable alternative, but it is unavoidable. Preventing hepatitis C mostly involves avoiding acts that might potentially transmit the infection, such as sharing needles and injecting drugs. 

Symptoms Of Hepatitis C

Hepatitis C patients typically develop chronic liver disease gradually over several decades without any symptoms or indicators.

Prevention Of Hepatitis C

Hepatitis C cannot presently be prevented by vaccination. Avoiding contaminated blood contact and high-risk behavior such as intravenous drug use and unprotected e are the best ways to prevent HCV infection. Testing and screening are also crucial.

Treatment Of Hepatitis C

Treatment for an acute or fresh HCV infection is typically not necessary. Treatment is required, nevertheless, if HCV infection develops into a chronic condition. For persistent HCV infection, there are many drug options. Eight to twelve weeks of oral medication are sufficient to cure more than 90% of hepatitis C patients.  

Hepatitis D

Hepatitis D is a liver condition caused by the hepatitis D virus (HDV). Only those who have contracted the hepatitis B virus can develop hepatitis D. This can cause fatality as well as irreversible liver damage if left untreated. Although hepatitis B immunization protects hepatitis D, hepatitis D cannot be avoided.

Hepatitis D

Hepatitis E

The hepatitis E virus (HEV) is the source of hepatitis E, a liver illness. The majority of HEV infections result in complete recovery from the illness and no long-term consequences. As of right now, there is no hepatitis A vaccination that can prevent the disease. When traveling to a place where hepatitis E is prevalent, one can reduce their chance of contracting HEV by limiting their water intake to filtered water and steering clear of undercooked food.

Also Read:- What Do You Mean By Granulomatous Hepatitis? Causes & Treatment

The Bottom Line

Many people with hepatitis may not show any symptoms and are not aware that they are afflicted. The signs of chronic viral hepatitis may not show up for decades. Effective vaccines can help avoid contracting either hepatitis A or hepatitis B. Despite the lack of a vaccine, hepatitis C is already curable, so early infection diagnosis and testing are crucial. Most people with chronic viral hepatitis are not aware they have the illness. 

References:

  1. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. What is viral hepatitis? (https://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/liver-disease/viral-hepatitis/what-is-viral-hepatitis) Accessed 1/13/2020.
  2. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Viral Hepatitis (http://www.cdc.gov/hepatitis/). Accessed 1/13/2020.
  3. World Health Organization. What is Hepatitis? (http://www.who.int/features/qa/76/en/) Accessed 1/13/2020.

Dr. David G Kiely is a distinguished Medical Reviewer and former General Medicine Consultant with a wealth of experience in the field. Dr. Kiely's notable career as a General Medicine Consultant highlights his significant contributions to the medical field.

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