What is hepatitis? 5 Types, causes, symptoms, diagnoses, treatment, prevention

Hepatitis is inflammation of liver cells. (Liver cells are known as hepatocytes, and these cells are important for numerous functions in digestion and absorption such as bile production, etc. so the term used as hepatitis). Hepatitis is caused by viruses called hepatitis virus but it can be caused by other reasons such as autoimmune response or frequent use of alcohol. Hepatitis was first discovered in mid 19s by an American physician and microbiologist Dr. Baruch Samuel Blumberg. He first discovered the hepatitis B virus in Australian Aborigine while studying Jaundice. Later own he developed a vaccine against hepatitis B in 1969 and got a Nobel Prize in 1976 for the discovery he had. Today, researchers have discovered the answer for what is Hepatitis? types of hepatitis and explained these types in detail. Let’s have look at my detailed study.

What is hepatitis
What is hepatitis

Types of Hepatitis:

Hepatitis is classified as Hep A, Hep B, Hep C, Hep D, and Hep E based on their antigen causing the disease. Hepatitis A is caused by HAV. Similarly, Hepatitis B is caused by HBV and Hepatitis C is caused by HCV.  Hepatitis D and E are caused by HDV and HEV respectively. The most dangerous hepatitis virus that had several cases throughout the world is hepatitis B and Hepatitis C because they are only chronic viruses.

Causes and Transmission of hepatitis: 

Let have a look at the causes of hepatitis:

Hepatitis A:

Hepatitis A is caused by a non-enveloped virus known as Hepatitis A Virus. This virus is transmitted by the fecal-oral route. This virus moves to the liver within a brief viremic period from the GI tract. (the viremic period is also known as the infective period in which a virus causes infection).

Hepatitis B:

Hepatitis B is caused by an Enveloped virus having double stranded DNA known as Hepatitis B Virus. Hepatitis B has three main antigens i.e. hepatitis B Surface antigen, Core antigen, and E antigen. This virus is transmitted from one another through contact of body fluids, blood, sexual contact, semen, and vaginal secretions. It is also caused by using infected needles, razors, and blades.

Hepatitis B can be chronic as well and an average estimation according to NIH 0.862 million people in the US are facing Chronic hepatitis complications. Worldwide Asians and Africans are most affected with hepatitis B.

Hepatitis C:

 The most chronic of all hepatitis is Hepatitis C. It is caused by a Single stranded RNA enveloped virus. Hepatitis C virus is also known as a Silent killer.it is because 70% of diagnoses are done when the liver is already damaged its half of the cells. It is also transmitted via blood to blood contact, syringes, and blades or by body secretion. Transmission can also spread through sexual contact but it’s less common.

Since 2006 the cases of hepatitis c is increased in people aged less than 30 due to the use of drugs that have to be injected into the body via the use of needles. According to the National Institute of Health and US department of health, 2.7 to 3.9 million people have affected with chronic Hepatitis

Hepatitis D: 

Hepatitis D is caused by a Single stranded RNA virus called the Hepatitis D virus which is also known as delta virus. This is the only virus that never had direct contact with a healthy patient but it infects the patient which already infected with the hepatitis B virus. It’s due to the virus need proteins to replicate that are present in the Hepatitis B virus. It can be transmitted by blood contact and from mother to baby.

 Hepatitis E:

 Hepatitis E is caused by a non-enveloped Single stranded RNA virus called Hepatitis E Virus. Likewise Hepatitis A hepatitis, hepatitis E is also spread or transmitted through the fecal-oral route. Contaminated water is the only reservoir for hepatitis E. Hepatitis E is not the chronic one but it can be fatal in pregnant women and children under the age of 6.

Other causes of the transmission for hepatitis are

  • Excessive intake of alcohol produces toxins and damages the hepatocyte’s normal function.
  • Autoimmune responses that are against the hepatocytes cause hepatocellular carcinoma.

Symptoms 

  1. Acute hepatitis Symptoms: 

Typically when hepatitis occurs and can be treated easily it is referred to as acute hepatitis virus. Most acute symptoms occur within three months of exposure.

These are some of the most common symptoms in all types of hepatitis until it gets chronic hepatitis. Sign and symptoms of acute hepatitis are:

  • Fever
  • Fatigue
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting in most cases (there is a lot of difference in pain of abdomen in typhoid and Hepatitis. so tell your physician clearly).
  • Pain in abdomen
  • Undefined weight loss
  • In the case of hepatitis A, yellowish-colored eyes and skin. (a sign of jaundice)
  1. Chronic Hepatitis Symptoms:

In most cases of hepatitis B and Hepatitis C Chronic symptoms occur. This is because these viruses have more strength to act against the immune system causing hepatocellular carcinoma.

Symptoms are:

  • Liver damage
  • Persistent Low grade fever
  • Upper abdominal pain (due to liver injury)
  • Chronic liver disease such as inflammation of the spleen and retention of fluid.
  • Jaundice
  • Grey colored stool.
  • Pail or reddish color urine

Diagnoses

Hepatitis is diagnosed by the symptoms a patient has. Doctors may advise a routine examination of your body but mainly it is diagnosed by the results shown by blood and urine test. With the advancement of medical sciences and diagnostic laboratories virus is detected is now easier.

  • Doctors examine the body by pressing the abdomen area to see any inflammation or swelling after examining the symptoms such as vomiting, fatigue, and fever.
  • The presence of the virus is detected with the help of ELISA (Enzyme Linked Immunosorbent Assay) and PCR (polymerase chain reaction). For quick diagnoses, ICT methods are also used.
  • LFT is done of the patient showing symptoms of acute hepatitis. The values of different enzymes of the liver show the activity of the liver. A slight change in liver function indicates the abnormal activity of the liver. “Note, if the values are high that indicates that the liver is in serious discomfort or maybe in stress”. 
  • Urine RE is done for checking the normality of urine formation especially when the patient shows the symptoms of jaundice. I.e. “High level of bilirubin indicates jaundice”.
  • In the chronic stage of hepatitis, when it has started to affect the liver, doctors and pathologists also recommend doing Ultrasounds and liver biopsy. Ultrasound may show the pancreas and spleen that also indicate the functioning of the liver. The biopsy is done to check or confirm the actual reason for liver inflammation such as may be of alcohol consumption or any autoimmune response.

Treatment 

Acute Hepatitis treatment is easier than chronic one just because chronic hepatitis needs more care and has severe complications. So we will see the hepatitis treatment for all hepatitis types differently.

Hepatitis A:

Hepatitis A doesn’t need any antiviral therapy. And also there is no antiviral drug act against it. It can only be treated by comfort. The patient is advised to have complete bed rest and follow up the doctor’s prescription which the doctor has asked to do. Just keep yourself hydrated to prevent dehydration caused by diarrhea and eat plenty of nutrient-rich fruits.

Hepatitis B: 

There is no specific treatment against acute hepatitis B. but chronic hepatitis needs certain types of antiviral drugs with the monetization of symptoms given by the patient of hepatitis B. these antiviral are given for certain months so that virus can be prevented. Other than this Hepatitis can be prevented with the help of Vaccination. 

WHO has recommended that a born baby should be vaccinated within 24 hours of birth so that an immune response can be generated in a born baby.

Hepatitis C: 

Hepatitis C is the only hepatitis type that can be treated by antiviral drug therapy. As chronic hepatitis C mostly causes liver cirrhosis so sometimes Surgeons also recommend liver transplants. That is the reason why hepatitis C is a dangerous viral disease.

According to WHO, there is no vaccination yet discovered to prevent Hepatitis C.

Hepatitis D: 

There is no antiviral drug used against Hepatitis D. The only prevention for hepatitis D is to be vaccinated by Hepatitis B. (hepatitis D is transmitted to the patient having hepatitis B already). 

Hepatitis E: 

Likewise, hepatitis A, hepatitis E doesn’t need antiviral drugs. It is recommended for the patient with hepatitis E to take care of his/her health. Take complete bed rest, use fluids, and eat plenty of fruit. Patients should avoid the use of alcohol.

  • If a person is facing autoimmune hepatitis then doctors advised corticosteroid to use against it as one of the effective drugs against Hepatitis.
  • Immune suppressor such as Imuran is also given to the patient. 

Preventions: 

With vaccination doctors and nutrition also advise some physical prevention for the patient that is suffering from hepatitis.  These preventions have a profound effect on the treatment and help the patient to overcome this disease and complications.

Hepatitis B, C, and D are transmitted through blood and contaminated so:

  • Not share needles
  • Not share shaving blades and Combs
  • Not using someone’s personal things like toothbrushes, razors, towels, etc.
  • Use proper screening of blood and do not touch blood directly with hands.
  • Use gloves and masks if you are medical health professionals. Avoid direct contact with syringes and needles.

By keeping diet such as:

  • Use fresh fruits and juices regularly
  • Use boiled water for drinking.
  • Avoid raw food and barely cooked food
  • Avoid the use of drugs without a prescription from a doctor.

And the most important one, do screening of hepatitis twice in 6 months especially screening of Hepatitis B and C. 

Expert Advice

Doctors and researchers are working keen on developing vaccines and treatable drugs so that it could be easier to tackle hepatitis. According to the Advisory Committee on Immunization practices vaccination should be legalized routine for adults from 2-18 years. WHO gives lots of health practices to avoid such type of contact disease.

They have discovered the idea of using protection so that we can avoid sexual contact. Pathologists and hematologists have made it necessary to screen out the blood before transfusion. WHO also made it clear to burn the hospital disposal burned far away from the residential area so that the fumes did not infect the normal person. Dr. Vishal Gupta is a Gastroenterology specialist in Lake Mary had a clear conversation on a weekly radio show. He mainly discusses hepatitis C treatment and prevention you must listen Listen to the April 11, 2015 episode of The Conversation

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FAQs

How do you get hepatitis C?

Hepatitis C is transmitted through blood to blood contact, body fluids such as Saliva, vaginal fluid, semen, and also through sexual contact. Hepatitis C is also transmitted through sharing drug used needles and also by using the same shaving blades and razors.

What are the symptoms of hepatitis B?

Symptoms of hepatitis B may be variable in different patients but common symptoms are fatigue, fever dark-colored stool, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, and loss of appetite.

Is hepatitis B is curable?

There is no specific treatment against acute hepatitis B. but chronic hepatitis needs certain types of antiviral drugs with keeping an eye on symptoms informed by the patient of hepatitis B. Other than this Hepatitis can be prevented with the help of Vaccination.

Conclusion:

Hepatitis is referred to as inflammation of the liver. This may be due to viral infection, autoimmune response or may be due to frequent alcohol consumption. Based on causative agent hepatitis is divided into 5 types Hepatitis A, B, C, D, and E respectively. A virus can enter into the body or blood via different routes such as the oral-fecal route (Hep A and E), through blood contact, and sexual contact (Hep B, C, and D).

The virus can be treated by the use of antiviral drug therapy such as Hep B and Hep C, especially in the chronic stage. Vaccines are also available for the prevention of hepatitis virus except for hepatitis C. Prevention and home remedies make it easier to overcome hepatitis. Once if it is in the acute stage can be easier to treat than in the chronic stage.

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