Hepatitis is the inflammation of the liver commonly due to a viral infection, and it is of 5 distinct types: hepatitis A, B, C, D, and E. However, the condition can also be caused by other factors like alcohol consumption, toxins, drugs or medications; in this case, it is called autoimmune hepatitis, where the body creates antibodies against the liver cells.
The liver is responsible for blood filtration, the production of hormones and storing vitamins, along with many other functions. Hepatitis can disrupt these functions, causing severe health issues and liver damage.
The different types of hepatitis, which are hepatitis A, B, C, D, and E, are caused by viral infections from hepatitis A, B, C, D, and E viruses, respectively.
These viruses are transmitted through contaminated water and food, direct contact with blood, open sores, and body fluid of an infected person, unprotected sex and childbearing.
Symptoms of Hepatitis
The different types of hepatitis may have some unique symptoms, but the common symptoms include:
- Dark urine.
- Abdominal pain.
- Flu-like symptoms.
- Unexplained weight loss.
- Pale stool.
- Skin rash.
- Loss of appetite.
The treatment of hepatitis varies with the different types and their stages, whether acute or chronic.
- Hepatitis A doesn’t usually require treatment because it is short-term, but the symptoms may cause great discomfort, so bed rest may be necessary, and dietary supplements may be needed to maintain nutrition and hydration.
- Hepatitis B doesn’t require treatment in its acute stage, but antiviral medication may be recommended for the chronic phase.
- Hepatitis C can be treated with antiviral medications in its acute and chronic stages, but a liver transplant may be necessary if cirrhosis or any liver disease is involved.
- Hepatitis D is often treated with Pegylated Interferon Alpha, but it is not recommended for people with cirrhosis, psychiatric conditions or autoimmune diseases because of its side effects.
- Hepatitis E has no medical remedies because the condition is often acute and resolves on its own with time, good nutrition, adequate rest, and avoidance of alcohol.
- Autoimmune hepatitis is treated with immune-suppressing drugs and corticosteroids.