Hepatitis

Table of Contents

The term Hepatitis is used to describe inflammatory conditions in the liver. This medical condition usually arises from a viral infection or liver damage from alcohol consumption.

There are 5 types of Hepatitis, with each type caused by different factors. All the types of Hepatitis have one thing in common: infection and inflammation of the liver.

Some types of Hepatitis can be cured after going through the treatment process without any serious effects on one’s health. However, there are also certain types of Hepatitis that can become chronic or long-term, cause liver injury, decrease in liver function, and in some cases, may lead to liver cancer.

Symptoms, causes, and treatment for each type of Hepatitis vary. 

The types of Hepatitis include:

  • Hepatitis A, this is caused by the hepatitis A virus from eating unclean food.
  • Hepatitis B, this can be spread during intercourse or passed from mother to child after birth.
  • Hepatitis C, this occurs when a person is exposed to contaminated blood or needles when using illegal drugs or getting tattooed.
  • Hepatitis D,  this only occurs if the patient has been infected with hepatitis B.
  • Hepatitis E,  this commonly occurs in Asia, Mexico, India and Africa. The virus strikes when when consuming food or drink contaminated by the virus

Causes of Hepatitis

Each type of hepatitis has different causes and triggers. 

  • Hepatitis A

Hepatitis A occurs due to the hepatitis A virus. The hepatitis A virus is transmitted from food or drinks that are unsanitary and contaminated by various viruses and bacteria. Hepatitis A is common in countries with poor sanitation.

Hepatitis A is considered to be the safest and most harmless among its types. Although it does not cause dangerous symptoms, people with hepatitis A may feel very sick and need to be hospitalised for a duration of time.

Consuming food contaminated with feces from people with hepatitis A can also spread the hepatitis A virus.

  • Hepatitis B

Hepatitis B may attack in various ways. Transmission occurs through body fluids infected with the hepatitis B virus, such as blood, vaginal fluids, and semen. An individual has the potential to get hepatitis B if they have unprotected sex or use the same needle with a hepatitis B carrier.

In some cases, hepatitis B is also spread by pregnant women to their babies after birth or delivery. This type of hepatitis B infection is common in Asia and Africa.

  • Hepatitis C

Similar to Hepatitis B, Hepatitis C also occurs as a result of direct contact with blood or needles contaminated with the hepatitis C virus, for example, syringed needles or tattoo needles.

Hepatitis C is considered dangerous and chronic or long-term. Other causes of hepatitis C include infection during blood transfusions and blood donation, sharing of toothbrushes and razors, and needle injuries.

  • Hepatitis D

Hepatitis D will only occur if a person has had Hepatitis B before. Symptoms of Hepatitis D mirror those of Hepatitis B’s, only worse. 

The hepatitis D virus will only survive in a person who has the hepatitis B virus. Similar to Hepatitis B, Hepatitis D can occur through sexual contact and can be passed from mother to baby.

  • Hepatitis E

According to research, consumption of offal and raw meat is the main cause of the spread of the hepatitis E virus, especially wild boar meat, venison and shellfish.

Hepatitis E is considered to be acute or short-term. The symptoms of Hepatitis E are not dangerous, but will have a fatal impact on people who have low or weakened immune systems.

Hepatitis E may also develop from consuming food or drinks contaminated with the hepatitis E virus.

When to See a Doctor for Hepatitis?

When symptoms of hepatitis appear, patients can consult with an internist or internal medicine specialist. Hepatitis can be chronic or acute. Therefore, early treatment with a specialist doctor is important in order to prevent dangerous developments.

Hepatitis caused by viruses, such as hepatitis A, B, and C, will be diagnosed via recognition of the patient’s symptoms. The diagnostic process is also supported by physical tests and blood tests.

An example of a physical test is by pressing the patient’s stomach to detect swelling of the liver. In addition, there are also skin and eye tests to confirm yellow discoloration, which is a symptom of hepatitis.

In some cases, the doctor will advise patients to undergo imaging tests such as:

  • Liver function tests, performed by taking a blood sample of the patient to check the performance of the liver. Although it can be used to detect hepatitis, this test can also detect symptoms of other liver disorders.
  • Hepatitis virus antibody test, this test helps determine what type of virus is in the patient’s body. Specific antibodies will be formed when a person is exposed to the hepatitis virus which is useful for destroying the virus.
  • Abdominal ultrasound, this test detects abnormalities in the liver and its surroundings with the help of sound waves. This test can also detect other health problems in the organs around the liver

Symptoms of Hepatitis

Each type of hepatitis has different yet similar symptoms. This is caused by hepatitis attacking the same organ, which is the liver.

The most common symptoms for people with hepatitis are:

  • itching
  • abdominal pain.
  • dark-colored urine.
  • high body temperature.
  • bone and knee pain.
  • feeling sick and weak.
  • loss of appetite.
  • yellowing of the skin and eyes.

In some cases, patients may also experience the following symptoms:

  • Coma
  • Internal bleeding
  • Changes in mental state.
  • Dark and gray-colored stools

Treatment for Hepatitis

Hepatitis treatment is determined by the condition, symptoms, and type of hepatitis.

  • Hepatitis A

Hepatitis A is considered a highly contagious disease but does not cause long-term infection and complications. There is no specific treatment to cure hepatitis A patients other than treating the pain, itching, and nausea.

Patients with hepatitis A usually recover on their own within two months. Treatment for Hepatitis A is usually through vaccination.

  • Hepatitis B

Patients with Hepatitis B, both adults and children, can recover within 6 months. Just like Hepatitis A, Hepatitis B also does not require specific treatment, but can be cured by vaccination.

Treatment of hepatitis B patients is focused on relieving the pain, itching, and nausea. 

  • Hepatitis C

Symptoms of Hepatitis C may be severe and fatal. Researchers believe that the hepatitis C condition can be cured with strong and effective antiviral drugs. Unfortunately, the cure has yet to be found.

The Hepatitis C condition will worsen and cause damage to the liver and cirrhosis, which is liver damage due to the formation of scar tissue.

  • Hepatitis D

The hepatitis D virus survives in the patient’s body because of the existing hepatitis B virus. However, Hepatitis D has a different effect and tends to be more complex than the hepatitis B virus. Similar to Hepatitis C, there is no cure for Hepatitis D. 

Doctors rely more on Hepatitis B medications for Hepatitis D patients. Although it cannot be completely cured, Hepatitis B vaccination can help relieve symptoms experienced by hepatitis D sufferers.

  • Hepatitis E

Hepatitis E is a mild and harmless type of hepatitis. Similar to Hepatitis A, Hepatitis E can heal on its own without having to go through specific treatment.

There is still no vaccination for Hepatitis E patients.

Treatment Cost for Hepatitis

For more information regarding the estimated costs of Hepatitis treatment, contact Smarter Health.

Prevention of Hepatitis

Hepatitis prevention can be undertaken based on the trigger factors and risk factors for each type of hepatitis.

  • Hepatitis A

Vaccination can help prevent a person from getting Hepatitis A. In particular, this vaccination is necessary if a person has taken certain medications, has joined the military, has worked in child care centers and nursing homes, or has long-term liver disease.

  • Hepatitis B

Prevention of Hepatitis B can be done by avoiding contact with contaminated body fluids. Avoid having unprotected sex and doing drugs.

Hepatitis B infection can also be avoided by vaccination, especially for children under 19 years of age.

  • Hepatitis C

Unlike Hepatitis A and B, there is no vaccination to prevent someone from developing Hepatitis C. Therefore, preventive measures include identifying your partner’s sexual history before intercourse and practicing safe sex. 

  • Hepatitis D

Prevention for Hepatitis D can be done by preventing yourself from getting hepatitis B. This is because the hepatitis D virus can only survive if you have the hepatitis B virus. 

  • Hepatitis E

Hepatitis E may arise from consumption of raw meat and offal. Therefore, try to avoid consuming the aforementioned foods.

Home Remedies for Patients Diagnosed with Hepatitis 

For Hepatitis A, B, and E patients, the best thing you can try to do is to consume medication prescribed by your doctor to reduce pain, nausea, and itching.

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