Hepatitis is usually caused by the inflammation of the liver. There are multiple reasons which can cause inflammation of the liver but the most common cause of inflammation is the viral infection usually passed on from another patient already suffering from the disease. There are secondary reasons which can lead to severe liver damage and hepatitis in the long run. These reasons include, prolonged used of certain medications, drugs, toxins and alcohol. The body starts making antibodies which damage the liver tissue causing permanent damage and hepatitis in patient.
Our liver, located in the upper abdomen of our body is a vital organ responsible for the following critical body functionalities of the body:
- Produces bile
- Filters toxins
- Excrete bilirubin
- Synthesizes fats, proteins and carbohydrates
- Produces and activates uses protein based enzymes
- Glycogen storage
A recent spike in the number of patients suffering from different types of hepatitis have been noticed in the past decade or so due to increased use of drugs, alcohol and polluted diet in certain parts of the world. While hepatitis A is treatable both type B and C are still considered difficult to treat in most of the chronic cases. Type D and E are still quite rare and unknown in our part of the world.
Common Symptoms of Hepatitis
Short term or acute hepatitis usually has no noticeable symptoms but following are the symptoms of chronic hepatitis:
- Joints and muscles pain
- Loss of appetite
- Abdominal pain
- Dark color urine
- Dark stool
- Itchy skin
- Yellow eyes and skin
Hepatitis A is usually caused by consuming contaminated food and drinks. Sometimes contact with the infected person’s feces might also be the reason of the spread of infection in countries where the system of sanitation is quite poor. When the system of sanitation is poor, usually the drainage pipelines get in contact with the fresh water supplies and hence the germs of Hepatitis A contaminate the water infecting the consumers.
Hepatitis A is an acute disease and the treatment is not that rigorous in nature because the disease is occasionally severe or life threatening. Mostly medication is given to relieve just the common symptoms of Hepatitis A like pain, nausea and itching just to provide relief to the patient. Vaccination for Hepatitis A is available in the market and doctors recommend that everyone should get vaccinated to avoid catching the infection especially people who travel frequently or live in countries with poor sanitary conditions.
The most common source of the spread of hepatitis B virus is through the infected person’s blood. Hepatitis B virus can also be transmitted from infected pregnant mother to her child. In some rare cases, hepatitis B can also spread through unprotected sex.
In most cases, Hepatitis B can be treated and the patient can recover completely within couple of month of treatment. However, those infected as children can develop chronic infection over time without proper treatment which can lead to cirrhosis and liver cancer. Antiviral medications are used to treat these types of infections and hepatitis infection. Hepatitis B vaccination is highly recommended for people who are at high risk of catching the disease from different sources to avoid complications.
Hepatitis C is also only caused by blood contact with the person already infected with the hepatitis C virus. Sharing needles by drug addicts is the most common cause in most third world countries. Poor healthcare practices and unsafe medical injections are other leading reasons for the spread of Hepatitis C in the third world countries.
Since Hepatitis C has no noticeable symptoms therefore most of the time patients are unaware of the presence of the infection in their blood stream and rule out hepatitis as common flu. Although in some patients the immune system is strong enough to fight off the infection but in most of the cases, the virus remains in the blood stream forever. Chronic Hepatitis C causes rapid cirrhosis and ultimately liver failure. Despite advancements in the medical field, there is still no vaccination for Hepatitis C. Precautionary measures need to be taken to avoid catching the Hepatitis C infection.
For further consultation and expert advice myZindigi recommends you book an appointment with expert doctors in your city because prevention is better than cure and early diagnosis is better than later complication. Enjoy better health. Check out the our recommended doctors
- Dr. Suleman Naseem (Agha Khan Hospital)
- Dr. Mohammad Khursheed (Agha Khan Hospital)
- Dr. Javed Iqbal Butt (PIMS Hospital)
- Dr. Saira Hassan (Shifa International Hospital)