What is hepatitis?
Hepatitis is a condition in which the liver suffer suffers from inflammation. Hepatitis is commonly caused by a viral infection or as a result of medications, drugs or toxins.
- Hepatitis A is caused by a virus, normally from consuming contaminated food or water. It most often occurs in countries with poor sanitation.
- Hepatitis B is also caused by a virus spread by inflected blood. It is normally spread by pregnant women to babies, injecting drugs and through sexual contact.
- Hepatitis C is caused by a virus and usually spread through infected blood. It is often contracted through sharing needles when injecting drugs.
- Hepatitis D is caused by a virus and only affects those with hepatitis B. It is spread through infected blood and often through sexual contact.
- Hepatitis E is caused by a virus, that is contracted through eating undercooked pork, wild meat and shellfish.
- Alcoholic hepatitis is caused by drinking excessive amounts of alcohol.
- Autoimmune hepatitis is a rare condition where the immune system attacks the liver.
What are the symptoms of hepatitis?
Symptoms vary between each variation of hepatitis, and you may have hepatitis without showing any symptoms. Common symptoms include:
- Lack of energy
- Pale stool
- No appetite
- Abdominal pain
- Flu like symptoms
How is hepatitis diagnosed?
To diagnose hepatitis, you may be required to take a liver function test, blood test, ultrasound or liver biopsy.
How is hepatitis treated?
Treatment for each type of hepatitis varies and will depend on whether the infection is acute or chronic. For some variations like hepatitis A, you may simply require bed rest as it is a short term illness. For others such as autoimmune hepatitis you me required to take medication to help suppress the immune system.