Hepatitis is a medical condition that affects the liver. In this condition, the liver undergoes an inflammatory process, involving the cells in its tissues. Hepatitis may be acute if it lasts less than six months and chronic if it is more than six months. The condition may present limited to no symptoms at all; however it usually ends up with liver failure.
There are several types of hepatitis, according to Medicine Net. As per the publication, Hepatitis A is acquired and can be spread through the ingestion of affected food and water, with emphasis on unsanitary conditions that allow food and water to become contaminated by human waste. With a fecal-oral mode of transmission, Hepatitis A is usually spread among household members and contacts through the passage of oral secretions or stool. The condition may also be spread to people dining in restaurants and in children and workers in day care centers in which handwashing and sanitary precautions are not done.
Symptoms of Hepatitis A include body weakness, abdominal discomfort, diarrhea, fever, loss of appetite, jaundice or yellowing of skin, nausea and vomiting, sclera, and dark-colored urine.
Hepatitis B can be spread through blood and serum, the liquid portion of the blood, containing Hepatitis B virus. This type of hepatitis can be transmitted through transfer of blood through shared needles, sexual contact, or blood transfusion procedures. In fact, Hepatitis B can also be transmitted by tattooing, body piercing, and sharing razors or toothbrushes.
Symptoms of Hepatitis B include abdominal pain, jaundice, extreme weakness, nausea, vomiting, and dark-colored urine.
Hepatitis C, which was previously referred to as “non-A, non-B hepatitis,” can be transmitted just like in Hepatitis B. According to Medicine Net, there are chances to spread the virus through sexual contact; however, the probability is low. The publication also noted that an approximate of 50 to 70 percent of people with acute Hepatitis C can develop chronic infection, which can also lead to liver cirrhosis, failure, and cancer.
Symptoms of Hepatitis C include dark-colored urine, nausea and vomiting, fever, decreased appetite, fatigue, abdominal pain, grey-colored stools, jaundice, joint pain.
In case of Hepatitis E, the condition is caused by the Hepatitis E virus, which is said to be similar to Hepatitis A in terms of the pathophysiology. Hepatitis also now has Hepatitis D, which is caused by the Hepatitis D virus or the delta virus, and Hepatitis G, which is caused by the GBV-C virus. Hepatitis D is linked to Hepatitis B while Hepatitis G resembles Hepatitis C.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), Hepatitis A affects developing countries with very poor sanitary conditions and hygienic practices, especially most children, accounting 90 percent of the total cases. The WHO added that an approximate of 240 million people are chronically infected with Hepatitis B and above 780,000 people die every year because of the complications of the condition, which includes liver cirrhosis and liver cancer. With regard to Hepatitis C, the WHO said that 130 to 150 million people have chronic Hepatitis C infection and an estimated 500,000 mortality cases secondary to the disease annually have been recorded. Furthermore, Hepatitis E affects an estimated 20 million people, with 3 million symptomatic cases of Hepatitis E and 56,000 deaths due to the condition.
With the aforementioned symptoms, it is vital to consult a physician for proper assessment and medical advice.