Hepatitis : Know The Basics

If Hepatitis would be eliminated by 2030, it is important that we all be aware and informed. Remember: to be forewarned is to be forearmed; also, prevention, they say, is better than cure.

As defined in an earlier post, Hepatitis is a disease of the liver, it causes inflammation of the liver. Viral hepatitis is known to be the most common cause; however, there are different factors that causes hepatitis like certain medications, autoimmune diseases, alcoholic liver disease and non-alcoholic liver disease.

The different types of this virus are Hepatitis A, B, C, D and E; with Hepatitis A, B and C being the most common causes of viral hepatitis.

Many times, hepatitis may occur without symptoms, and may not be noticed until it is too late. Hepatitis can either be acute, fulminant or chronic, depending on the cause.

Also, hepatitis can heal on its own with no significant consequence (acute hepatitis) or it can progress to scarring of the liver, i.e. cirrhosis (chronic hepatitis) .

Acute Hepatitis

Acute hepatitis is self-limiting, i.e. , it can be resolved or recovered from.
It is mostly caused by viral hepatitis and may be without symptoms or it may show flu-like symptoms like headache, vomiting, muscle pain, dark urine color, jaundice (yellowing of the eyes and skin) or a general feeling of being unwell.
This type of hepatitis usually doesn’t last up to six (6) months.
Most times, all cases of hepatitis A and E are expected to fully resolve after 1–2 months, majority of hepatitis B cases are also self-limited and will resolve in 3–4 months, while few cases of hepatitis C will resolve completely.

Fulminant Hepatitis

It is a rare and life-threatening complication of acute hepatitis that can occur in cases of hepatitis B, D, and E. It can result in severe liver failure.
It can be said to be a buildup from viral hepatitis and it is also known as Acute Liver Failure (ALF)
Some symptoms peculiar to this are : disorientation, confusion, easy bruising, and blood – clotting problems.
Hepatitis B is said to be probably the most common viral cause of Fulminant Hepatic Failure (FHF).
It is more likely for people who are under age 40 to recover than older adults or people with chronic liver disease.

Chronic hepatitis

This type is mostly without symptoms and can be detected only by liver laboratory studies for screening purposes or to evaluate non-specific symptoms. As the inflammation progresses, patients can develop symptoms similar to acute hepatitis like joint pain, lack of appetite, nausea, etc., but, jaundice is typically a sign of advanced disease.
Hepatitis A and hepatitis E never progress to chronic hepatitis.
Chronic hepatitis can lead to scarring of the liver over time i.e. cirrhosis which can result in liver cancer.

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