Archive for the ‘Hepatitis’ Category

Hepatitis: Overview

Saturday, November 4th, 2006

Hepatitis means inflammation of the liver, an irritation or swelling of the liver cells. There are many causes of hepatitis which include viral infections A, B and C that most of us have heard of, but also the disease also includes auto-immune hepatitis, fatty liver hepatitis, alcoholic hepatitis and toxin induced hepatitis. Globally, it is estimated that around 250 million people are affected by hepatitis C. Moreover, an estimated 400 million people are chronic carriers of hepatitis B.

Each type of viral hepatitis is different. They have different characteristics and are known by alphabetical names – hepatitis A through to E. Four other types exist F, G, TTV and S.E.N-V. Behavioral precautions and treatment depends on the type of hepatitis.

Symptoms of Hepatitis

Saturday, November 4th, 2006

Hepatitis produces an initial “acute phase,” often with few if any symptoms. If there are symptoms, they tend to mimic “flu-like” symptoms such as:

  • mild fever
  • muscle or joint aches
  • nausea
  • vomiting
  • loss of appetite
  • slight abdominal pain
  • diarrhea
  • fatigue

The acute phase and its symptoms is rarely serious or fatal, although occasionally a so-called fulminant or rapidly progressing form leads to death.

As the condition worsens, the person also may experience these additional symptoms:

  • jaundice (yellowed skin, mucous membranes and eye-whites)
  • dark urine
  • light colored stools that may contain pus
  • itching
  • enlarged spleen (symptom of alcoholic hepatitis only)
  • hives
  • headache (symptom of toxic/drug-induced hepatitis only)
  • dizziness (symptom of toxic/drug-induced hepatitis only)
  • drowsiness (symptom of toxic/drug-induced hepatitis only)
  • circulation problems (symptom of toxic/drug-induced hepatitis only)

The course of the hepatitis and the different outcomes after the acute phase that distinguish the various types.

Types of Hepatitis

Saturday, November 4th, 2006

Hepatitis is a serious disease that affects the liver and can cause long-term damage. Hepatitis B is the most common but there are several other types and associated virus.

Hepatitis A – Caused by the hepatitis A virus, Hepatius A is often spreads because of poor personal hygiene habits. You can also get hepatitis A by eating foods or drinking beverages contaminated with the virus.

Hepatitis B – The Hepatitis B virus may be found in blood and can be spread through contact with infected blood or blood products. You can get hepatitis B by injecting drugs with a dirty needle used by someone who is infected with hepatitis B virus. You can get hepatitis B by sharing razors or toothbrushes with an infected person. Hepatitis B is also spread through blood-bearing body fluids of an infected person, such as semen and vaginal secretions.  It can be spread by having sex with someone who has the disease.

Hepatitis C – The Hepatitis C virus is spread through contact with contaminated blood or by having sex with an infected person. Less commonly, hepatitis C is passed on through household contact. People who receive blood transfusions or dialysis treatments or who inject illegal drugs are most likely to get this disease. 

Hepatitis D – The Hepatitis D virus needs the Hepatitis B virus to infect the liver. People who are immune to hepatitis B virus are safe from hepatitis D. When hepatitis D becomes active, it can be extremely dangerous. In regions where the disease is less common, hepatitis D is spread by contact with infected blood and blood products. 

Hepatitis E – Hepatitis E is usually spread through impure drinking water. Outbreaks of hepatitis E have caused high death rates in pregnant women.

Hepatitis C & its causes

Friday, August 25th, 2006

Hepatitis CThe hepatitis C virus (HCV) is spread by direct contact with an infected person’s blood. The symptoms of the hepatitis C virus can be very similar to those of the hepatitis A and B viruses. However, infection with the hepatitis C virus can lead to chronic liver disease and is the leading reason for liver transplant in the United States.

The hepatitis C virus can be spread by:

sharing drug needles
getting a tattoo or body piercing with unsterilized tools
blood transfusions (especially ones that occurred before 1992; since then the U.S. blood supply has been routinely screened for the disease)
transmission from mother to newborn
sexual contact (although this is less common)

 

Hepatitis B – serum hepatitis

Friday, August 25th, 2006

Hepatitis B (also called serum hepatitis) is caused by the hepatitis B virus (HBV). HBV can cause a wide spectrum of symptoms ranging from general malaise to chronic liver disease that can lead to liver cancer.

The hepatitis B virus spreads through:

Hepatitis B infected body fluids, such as blood, saliva, semen, vaginal fluids, tears, and urine
a contaminated blood transfusion (uncommon in the United States)
shared contaminated needles or syringes for injecting drugs
sexual activity with an HBV-infected person
transmission from HBV-infected mothers to their newborn babies

Hepatitis A

Friday, August 25th, 2006

In children, the most common form of hepatitis is hepatitis A (also called infectious hepatitis). This form is caused by the hepatitis A virus (HAV), which lives in the stools (feces or poop) of infected individuals. Infected stool can be present in small amounts in food and on objects (from doorknobs to diapers).

The hepatitis A virus is spread:

when someone ingests anything that’s contaminated with HAV-infected stool (this makes it easy for the virus to spread in overcrowded, unsanitary living conditions)
in water, milk, and foods, especially in shellfish

Someone with hepatitis – several disorders

Friday, August 25th, 2006

hepatitisSomeone with hepatitis may:

have one of several disorders, including viral or bacterial infection of the liver
have a liver injury caused by a toxin (poison)
have liver damage caused by interruption of the organ’s normal blood supply
be experiencing an attack by his or her own immune system through an autoimmune disorder
have experienced trauma to the abdomen in the area of the liver

Hepatitis

Friday, August 25th, 2006

Hepatitis means “inflammation of the liver”, and the most common cause is infection with one of 5 viruses, called hepatitis A,B,C,D, and E. All of these viruses can cause an acute disease with symptoms lasting several weeks including yellowing of the skin and eyes (jaundice); dark urine; extreme fatigue; nausea; vomiting and abdominal pain. It can take several months to a year to feel fit again.