What is hepatitis?
Hepatitis is a disorder or an inflammatory state of the tissues or cells of the liver. This inflammation of the liver cell is often caused by a viral infection. However, there are other possible causes or triggers of hepatitis. They are auto-immune hepatitis which is the primary cause (occurs as a result of the antibodies formed by the body against the liver cells), and the second type which occurs as a result of overeating, medications, too much alcohol consumption, and harmful toxins.
Hepatitis disrupts the ability of the liver to detoxify the blood, store vitamins, and produce hormones. Therefore, causing serious discomfort and health issues to the body.
The human liver is positioned in the upper right area of the abdomen and performs all the functions stated above and many other complex functions that affect metabolic activities throughout the body. The functions of the liver range from the production of bile(enzyme for digestion), filters harmful and unwanted toxins, excretes drugs, hormones, bilirubin, and cholesterol. It is effective in fats, proteins, and carbohydrates breakdown, stores sugar as glycogen, vitamins A, D, E, and K, and other minerals. The lever synthesizes albumin(blood proteins) and clotting factors
Hepatitis which is the inflammation of the liver tissue/cells shows no symptoms in some persons while in some, it displays signs like jaundice, fatigue, frequent stooling, the coloration of the skin, loss of appetite, pains, and vomiting. Acute hepatitis Lasts for several months, while the chronic type can last for a very long time. At times, the Acute type might progress into the chronic type where it results in cirrhosis and cancer of the liver or liver failure.
Based on research at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Trusted sources, scores of Americans live with the chronic type of hepatitis B and C, whereas some who have it don’t know they do. In this article, I will tell you a lot you need to know about this disorder of the liver.
Types of Hepatitis
Various types of hepatitis appear in different ways according to the causative viruses. Although, they tend to display similar traits or symptoms. The five types of hepatitis include types A, B, C, D, and type E.
The A-type Hepatitis is usually acute and short-termed, while the hepatitis types B, C, and D are often likely to become progressive or long-termed and chronic. The E type Hepatitis is often acute and short-termed, although harmful especially to pregnant women.
- Hepatitis type A
The type-A kind of Hepatitis is usually an infection caused by a virus known as HAV. Hepatitis A in most cases is cheaply transmitted when one consumes feces contaminated food or water from a source that is infected by a carrier of hepatitis A. Individuals in areas of the world where there is a poor level of sanitation are prone to having the hepatitis A virus.
In 2015, over a thousand was reported by the Trusted Source of Hepatitis A, in the US to be infected with this disease. Although this type of hepatitis is usually mild with a short-termed duration, people who have it are treated and cure of it, and thereafter, become immune to HAV. Vaccines are available to treat and protect against its infection.
- Hepatitis type B
Hepatitis B can be acute or chronic. It is a disease transmitted through bodily contact with the fluid of an infected person, either through blood contacts, breast milk, contacts with vaginal discharge, or semen of a person having the HBV. This virus stands a high chance of being transmitted also through sharing unsterilized blades like razors, needles, injection, and or unprotected sex, sharing or toothbrush, or being bitten by an infected person.
Trusted sources of hepatitis B, estimated that millions of people live with chronic hepatitis B. They also stated that the world death cases resulting from the chronic type range in hundreds of thousands yearly.
This chronic type of hepatitis B can also lead to a severe case like cirrhosis and cancer of the liver called hepatocellular carcinoma.
- Hepatitis type C
The C type of Hepatitis is caused by the HC virus. Hepatitis C is transmitted through contact with the contaminated fluid of a person carrying this disease. It can be through transmitted blood, unprotected sexual intercourse, unsterilized needles, razor, contaminated injection during medical treatment. It is a blood-borne infection. Medical sources said that over 3 million people are living with chronic hepatitis B in the US. The chronic HBV can lead to cirrhosis which further develops into cancer of the liver.
It is therefore important to check for HCV during blood transfusion and organ transplants to avoid being infected with the virus. The good news is that it can be cured.
- Hepatitis type D
Hepatitis D can also be known as delta hepatitis. This disease is a severe liver infection which is caused by a virus known as HDV. This type of hepatitis develops as a result of the presence of hepatitis B. It is a rare virus that is transmitted through direct fluid contact with a person who is suffering from this infection.
- Hepatitis type E
This type of Hepatitis is caused by a hepatitis B Virus. It is a waterborne disease, resulting from messy environments. According to Trusted sources, this disease is found mostly in Central America, Asia, Africa, and the Middle East. Fecal ingestion and poorly sanitized environment contaminate water bodies and water supply, thus leading to the presence of hepatitis B in water which when taken in causes infection.
Causes of hepatitis
The major cause of this disease is a virus. Waterborne and blood-borne infection from an infected person. The type of causative virus determines the severity and duration of the disease and also the treatment to be administered.
Here are the causes of hepatitis;
1.Hepatitis A is caused by the HA virus. You get infected with the virus when you consume food or water that has been contaminated with the disease. You could usually get this virus when you have unprotected sexual intercourse with someone who has this disease in them. Fortunately, this type doesn’t last long, it doesn’t affect the liver such that it will lead to cancer, and can easily be treated. However, you could be admitted to the hospital when you get so sick with the disease.
2. Hepatitis B is also gotten through oral or anal sex with a partner who has this disease. An unsterilized needle, razor, or injection is a very common means of getting the infection. It can be transmitted through mother to child breastfeeding. This virus responsible for this disease is the HB virus. You could get it through direct contact with infected persons via their blood, vaginal discharge, semen, and other body fluid. The infection is treatable.
3. Hepatitis C is transmitted from patient to medical workers or others through a bodily fluid like blood and blood products, piercing, use of drugs (injecting narcotics), needle, and razor. It can lead to cancer if the liver and or cirrhosis. Sometimes, the infection might be mild and show no symptoms. Percutaneous infection can cause this disease usually when the HC virus is trapped beneath the skin.
4. Hepatitis D like Said earlier, reacts severely in the presence of hepatitis B. People living with hepatitis B stand the risk of getting this severe hepatitis. This infection is transmitted via open sex and breastfeeding. The causal virus is the hepatitis D virus.
5. Hepatitis E is caused by the hepatitis E virus as a result of a contaminated water source. This waterborne disease is present in food or drink that is contaminated with the virus.
Other causes are;
6. Intake of Alcohol and other toxins
Heavy consumption of alcohol is a common cause of liver damage and inflammation since the liver won’t be able to digest it all at a time. This is at times referred to as alcoholic hepatitis. Excessive intake of alcohol can lead to thickening and injury to the liver, cirrhosis, and liver failure. While toxins from overdose or overuse medication and exposure to poisonous substances.
7. Autoimmune system response
This deals with the immune system’s inability to identify the liver, thus sees it as harmful material and then feeds on it. This can lead to a progressive burn or injury to the liver ranging from gentle to serious cases. It limits liver function and usually occurs in women more than men.
Symptoms of Hepatitis
Lots of persons with this disease may or may not have symptoms at an early stage. This is because the symptoms are usually mild or mistaken for a minor health issue. Other times when the symptoms choose to appear, it takes weeks or months and it may come as a very severe complication like liver failure or severe inflammation.
Know, however, that the first or early stage of hepatitis is the acute stage and signs are normally mild while the last stage is the chronic stage where liver failure might occur or cirrhosis. Although, the acute stage can progress into a chronic stage if not treated early.
Here are the likely signs of hepatitis;
1. Frequent stooling
2. Jaundice (eye coloration)
6. Loss of appetite
8. Dark-colored urine
9. Mild abdominal pain
10. Itching and muscles aches
Here are the general tips on how to prevent hepatitis.
1. Avoid consuming water from a filthy source.
2. Heat your food properly before eating
3. Avoid direct contact with the fluid of persons who have this infection. If you must, wear gloves.
4. Do not share sharp materials with people who you do not know their health status.
5. Avoid sharing toothbrushes.
6. Do not have sex with an infected person. Always have protected sex.
7. Always wash your hands with soap and water.
8. Do not drink heavily and hastily.
9. Ensure you get vaccinated to avoid contracting this disease.
10. Make sure your fruits and vegetables are properly washed or sterilized.
The treatment procedure for hepatitis varies with the type and stage of the infection. People with hepatitis A usually recover fast without much treatment. Victims are asked to stay away from alcohol and certain medications. While for other types, vaccines and antiviral drugs are recommended. These drugs will stop the virus from multiplying. While you are on treatment, the doctor will ask you to stay away from alcohol, filthy and bad water, hard drugs, and sex to have a proper and quick recovery or treatment. Immunization and one’s lifestyle will go a long way in treating and preventing this disease from progressing.
Hepatitis can be managed and prevented if the guide provided in this article is followed. You are advised to see a doctor if the case persists as this information is only given to help you know some things about this viral infection.
Thank you for your time.