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What is Hepatitis?

According to The World Health Organization (WHO), about 354 million people around the world are currently living with chronic hepatitis B and C.

What is hepatitis?

Hepatitis is inflammation of the liver. It is commonly caused by a viral infection, although there are other possible causes of hepatitis such as heavy alcohol use, toxins, certain medications, and some diseases. 

How many types of hepatitis are there and what are their symptoms?

There are five main types of hepatitis. Each type can have a different cause and different symptoms. 

  • Hepatitis A is the result of an infection with the hepatitis A virus usually through food or water. It is typically an acute and short-term disease. Symptoms include fatigue, abdominal pain, loss of appetite, and low-grade fever. 
  • Hepatitis B is an ongoing, chronic condition. HBV is spread when bodily fluids from an infected person enter the body of someone not infected. HBV has varying symptoms that include yellowing of the eyes, abdominal pain, and dark urine. Children do not typically experience any symptoms. 
  • Hepatitis C is also transmitted through exposure to infective blood. Most people do not have symptoms when it comes to hepatitis C. Those few that do may have fatigue, nausea, loss of appetite, and yellowing of the eyes and 
  • Hepatitis D infections occur only in those who are infected with HBV. The symptoms of hepatitis D include fatigue, abdominal pain, nausea, and fatigue.  
  • Hepatitis E is transmitted via the consumption of contaminated water or food. Symptoms include jaundice, lack of appetite, and nausea. 

Two other types of common hepatitis are alcoholic hepatitis and autoimmune hepatitis. 

  • Alcoholic hepatitis is inflammation of the liver due to alcohol consumption. Symptoms of alcoholic hepatitis include yellow skin and eyes along with increasing belly size due to fluid accumulation, malnutrition, fatigue, and weakness. 
  • Autoimmune hepatitis is liver inflammation that occurs when your immune system turns against cells. Autoimmune hepatitis occurs due to genetic and environmental factors that occur over time. This disease is more common in females. Symptoms include fatigue, abdominal discomfort, and joint pain. 

How is Hepatitis diagnosed?

Hepatitis can be diagnosed by your symptoms, a physical exam, blood test, CT, MRI, Ultrasound, or a liver biopsy. Chronic hepatitis can lead to severe health problems such as chronic liver disease, cirrhosis, and even liver cancer. 

What are treatments for Hepatitis?

Treatments for Hepatitis vary depending on what type of hepatitis you have and at what stage. Hepatitis A is short term and may not require much treatment. Over the past few years, there have been excellent treatments for both chronic hepatitis B and C have become available. There are medications available for Hepatitis D, and autoimmune hepatitis.  

At Galen Hepatology we offer complete liver care and treat a variety of conditions that affect the liver:  Hepatitis C, Hepatitis B, Hemochromatosis, Cirrhosis, NASH, Fatty Liver, Liver cancer, and lifelong conditions such as Primary Biliary Cholangitis and Auto Immune Hepatitis.