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What is hepatitis and how does one combat it

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By - 30 July 2022

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What is Hepatitis?

 

Hepatitis is a term to describe an inflamed liver. Inflammation refers to the swelling of bodily tissues, caused by an injury or infection. This can result in damage to your liver. This swelling and damage can affect how well your liver functions.

Hepatitis can be an acute (short-term) infection or a chronic (long-term) infection. Some types of hepatitis cause only acute infections, whereas other types can cause both acute and chronic infections.

What causes Hepatitis?

 

There are different types of hepatitis, with different causes:

  • Viral hepatitis is the most common type. It is caused by one of several viruses -- hepatitis viruses ABC, D, and E. In the United States, A, B, and C are the most common.
  • Alcoholic hepatitis is caused by drinking excessive amounts of alcohol over many years.
  • Toxic hepatitis can be caused by certain poisons, chemicals, medicines, or supplements
  • Autoimmune hepatitis is a rare type of long-term hepatitis in which the immune system attacks and damages the liver. The cause is not known, but genetics and your environment may play a role.

 

How is viral Hepatitis spread?

 

Hepatitis A and hepatitis E are usually spread through contact with food or water that was contaminated with an infected person's stool. You can also get hepatitis E by eating undercooked pork, deer, or shellfish.

Hepatitis B, hepatitis C, and hepatitis D spread through contact with the blood of someone who has the disease. Hepatitis B and D may also spread through contact with other body fluids. This can happen in many ways, such as sharing drug needles or having unprotected sex.

Who is at risk for Hepatitis?

 

There are different risks for the different types of hepatitis. For example, with most of the viral types, your risk is higher if you have unprotected sex. People who drink a lot over long periods of time are at risk for alcoholic hepatitis.

What are the symptoms of Hepatitis?

 

Some people with hepatitis do not have noticeable symptoms and do not know they are infected. If symptoms do develop, they can include the following:

 

If you have an acute infection, your symptoms can start anywhere between 2 weeks to 6 months after you get infected. If you have a chronic infection, you may not have symptoms until many years later.

How is Hepatitis diagnosed?

 

To diagnose hepatitis, visit your healthcare provider. Your healthcare provider will ask about symptoms and medical history, conduct a physical exam, and do blood tests, including tests for viral hepatitis. They may also do imaging tests, such as an ultrasoundCT scan, or MRI, and a liver biopsy to get a clear diagnosis and check for liver damage.

 

What are the treatments for Hepatitis?

 

The treatment for hepatitis depends on which type you have and whether it is acute or chronic. Acute viral hepatitis often goes away on its own. To feel better, you may just need to rest and get enough fluids. In some cases, it may be more serious and you might even need treatment in a hospital.

There are different medicines to treat the different chronic types of hepatitis. Possible other treatments may include surgery and other medical procedures. People who have alcoholic hepatitis need to stop drinking. If your chronic hepatitis leads to liver failure or liver cancer, you may need a liver transplant.

 

Can Hepatitis be prevented?

 

There are different ways to prevent or lower your risk for hepatitis, depending on the type of hepatitis. For example, avoiding excessive alcohol can prevent alcoholic hepatitis. In addition, there are vaccines to prevent hepatitis A and B. However, autoimmune hepatitis cannot be prevented.

As written by -

Doctor: Kakarla Viswa Charan

MBBS, MD

Be Leaf Hospital

Vijayawada

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