Everything you must know about Hepatitis

  • The author of this article is Dr Gowri Kulkarni, Head of Medical Operations, MediBuddy

Hepatitis is a medical condition that results in causing inflammation of the liver, which can either be caused by infections or other non-infectious causes.  

Infectious hepatitis is caused mainly by viruses, bacteria, fungus, and parasitic organisms accounts for the maximum cases reported. It is contagious in nature and can spread from one person to another.

Non-infectious hepatitis can result from factors such as excessive drinking, drugs, metabolic diseases, and autoimmune diseases. In such cases, the body starts producing antibodies against your own liver, causing damage and resulting in inflammation.

Types of Hepatitis

Hepatitis A –  IT is an acute illness caused by Hepatitis A virus (HAV) that can be treated over a course of a few months. It is highly contagious in nature and can easily be spread through ingestion of contaminated food that has been in unsanitary conditions.

Hepatitis B – It is caused by the hepatitis virus (HBV) and can be life-threatening in some instances. The infection spreads through bodily fluids of a person infected and by sharing needles and razors with an infected person. Chronic Hepatitis B infection is associated with Liver cirrhosis and Hepatocellular Carcinoma

Hepatitis C – The hepatitis virus (HCV), previously referred to as virus ‘non-A, non-B hepatitis is usually spread through shared needles and blood transfusion. With rare instances through the exchange of bodily fluids during sexual contact. The acute infection can easily develop into a chronic condition, putting HCV-infected patients are at a high risk of developing liver failure and liver cancer.

Hepatitis D – Also known as delta hepatitis, it is caused by the hepatitis virus (HDV). The instances of cases reported are rare but are still a cause of concern and can have serious implications on your health. Hepatitis D only infects a person who is already infected by Hepatitis B, as the virus required HBV in order to amplify.

Symptoms

•           Nausea

•           Vomiting

•           Jaundice

•           Dark urine

•           Weight loss

•           Aching joints

•           Loss of appetite

•           Stomach pain and bloating

•           Fatigue

Diagnosis

Your doctor, based on your symptoms and his assessment will further recommend conducting a test to examine the severity of the infection. This may include blood tests to detect the presence of the virus and for liver function tests to check the level of enzymes. The doctor will also conduct an ultrasound to examine the inflammation of the liver and surrounding organs. It will also help in revealing the presence of fluids in the abdomen region. In certain instances, the doctor may also need to conduct a biopsy of the liver, taking a tiny sample of the tissue for an in-depth examination.

Treatment & Prevention

In case you are infected with Hepatitis, consult with your doctor for the best appropriate treatment. The doctor based on the type of virus and your current medical condition will help curate a course of treatment for you.  Usually, Hepatitis A and E are treated symptomatically and resolves in a few weeks. Those suffering from Chronic hepatitis may require antiviral therapy and prolonged treatment, especially if Hepatitis B/C. For prevention, it is recommended to maintain utmost personal hygiene, practice safe sex, avoid using needles and razors which may seem dubious in matters pertaining to sterilization. Wash your hands regularly and ensure that the food and water you consume is not contaminated.

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