Hepatitis: Causes, Symptoms, And Types

Lifestyle & Health

Hepatitis is a disease in which the liver becomes inflamed. It is most commonly caused by viruses (hepatitis A, B, C, D, and E), but excessive alcohol consumption, use of certain drugs, and autoimmune response can also result in the disease. Hepatitis can be acute, but some types of it often become chronic. Chronic hepatitis can lead to serious complications, such as cirrhosis (liver scarring), liver failure, or liver cancer. In any case, it is better to take care of your liver in advance. Here are some recommendations:

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Hepatitis often shows no symptoms, but if it does, they are usually the following:

- fever of 38C (100.4F) and higher;

- muscle and joint pain;

- constant, unexplained tiredness;

- nausea and vomiting;

- loss of appetite;

- pain in the abdomen;

- dark urine;

- pale, grey-colored stool;

- itchy skin;

- jaundice.

If you have all or some of the symptoms mentioned above, contact your doctor.

Hepatitis A and E usually develop when a person ingests contaminated food or water. Hepatitis B, C, and D can be transmitted by blood. Hepatitis B and D can also be spread by contact with other body fluids.

Hepatitis A is not very common in the US; it’s more widespread in developing countries. This type of hepatitis rarely becomes chronic. The vaccine against this type of hepatitis is available and is recommended to people who are at a high risk of complications and those who are traveling to areas where the risk of exposure to the virus is high.

Hepatitis B is more common in the US. It is usually transmitted from mothers to babies during childbirth, or by child-to-child contact, less commonly by having unprotected intercourse with an infected person, or by injecting drugs. If an adult person becomes infected, he or she will be able to recover within a few months, in most cases. However, most people who were infected in childhood develop a chronic form of the disease. There are vaccines available against this type of hepatitis.

Hepatitis C is usually transmitted by sharing needles with an infected person to inject drugs. About a quarter of people recover from this type of hepatitis; in others, it becomes chronic. It can be treated with antiviral medications, but there’s currently no vaccine available against hepatitis C.

Hepatitis D only affects people who are infected with hepatitis B. This type of hepatitis is more common in Africa, South America, the Middle East, and some parts of Europe than in the US. Getting hepatitis B vaccine can help protect you from hepatitis D.

Hepatitis E is usually short-term and not severe, but it can cause serious complications in some people, especially those with compromised immune system. It is often caused by consuming raw or undercooked pork meat or offal, wild boar meat, venison, and shellfish. If you travel to the area where hepatitis E is common, you should take precautions, such as drinking only bottled water and eating food you’re sure is safe for consumption.

Alcoholic hepatitis is caused by drinking too much alcohol. In many cases, it causes no symptoms until the liver is already damaged beyond repair. If someone with alcoholic hepatitis stops drinking altogether, the liver may be able to recover (depending on the degree of the damage). Hepatitis can also be caused be using illicit drugs.

Autoimmune hepatitis is not very common. It happens when the immune system mistakenly attacks the liver. This form of hepatitis is usually treated with anti-inflammatory medications and drugs that suppress overactive immune system.

Sources: NHS, HealthLine, WebMD


This post is solely for informational purposes. It is not intended to provide medical advice. Fabiosa doesn’t take responsibility for any possible consequences from any treatment, procedure, exercise, dietary modification, action or application of medication which results from reading or following the information contained in this post. Before undertaking any course of treatment, the reader should consult with their physician or other health care provider.

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