REAL Health Information, Resources & Reviews
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Although hepatitis is not an infection as such, most cases of hepatitis are in fact caused by viral infections (viral hepatitis type A, B, C, D, E, F, and GB virus C). The first three of these are the most common causes and are discussed in detail below. Some of these viruses are transmitted through contaminated food, others through direct blood contact, sexually, prenatally or through breast feeding. Hepatitis from viral infection can be acute or chronic, depending on the virus and on some other circumstances.
Symptoms of infectious hepatitis include abdominal pain, dark-
Acute hepatitis produces severe symptoms that go away after the disease runs its course. Chronic hepatitis has the same symptoms as acute hepatitis, but they are usually less severe, and sometimes no overt symptoms present at all, and the disease can only be detected through diagnostic measures such as blood tests and a live ultrasound. Chronic hepatitis, unlike acute hepatitis, doesn't go away, but continues damaging the liver indefinitely.
Alcoholic hepatitis, although not the result of infection, is a form of chronic hepatitis caused by excessive drinking, which is also a symptom or complication of the second stage of cirrhosis of the liver.
Hepatitis A, also known as infectious jaundice, is transmitted through contaminated food or by direct blood contact. The agent is the hepatitis A virus (HAV). Hepatitis A is an acute disease only; no chronic effects exist. After infection and the disease running its course, survivors develop immunity to hepatitis A. A vaccine has been developed that confers full immunity to hepatitis A.
Hepatitis B is caused by a different virus from the one that causes hepatitis A. It is transmitted only by direct blood contact, sexually, and from mother to child via breast feeding. Hepatitis B produces acute symptoms but, unlike hepatitis A, it can also produce chronic hepatitis in about 15 percent of sufferers. Antibodies against the virus are developed as with hepatitis A, but in some cases immunity isn't enough to completely eliminate the disease, although it does prevent reinfection. A vaccine has been developed that confers complete immunity to hepatitis B. The disease can also be treated with anti-
Hepatitis C virus can be transmitted through direct blood contact, sexually, or prenatally. It's an insidious disease compared to hepatitis A and B, in that it normally produces no acute phase but only chronic conditions, which go on with no overt symptoms for years in many cases. Chronic hepatitis caused by the hepatitis C virus can progress to cirrhosis of the liver and eventually to liver failure and death.
Hepatitis C patients are especially prone to severe liver inflammation if they contract hepatitis A or B, so anyone with hepatitis C is usually advised to be vaccinated against those two diseases. Hepatitis C sufferers should also avoid alcohol, as liver damage from alcohol can aggravate the symptoms. Hepatitis C can usually be treated by antiviral medications.
The liver is among the most complicated and important organs of the body, and as
such, many things can go wrong with it. Often the causes of liver disease arise from
lifestyle choices or heredity, but the liver is also subject to infection like other
parts of the body.
Hepatitis is commonly thought of as a viral infection of the liver, but it's actually a liver condition that can arise from various causes. The condition is an inflamed or swollen liver. The inflammation releases chemicals into the liver that damage liver cells.