Doctor Speaks

Hepatitis Awareness Month: Hepatitis Types, Symptoms, Diagnosis and Treatment

DayToDay Team
May 25, 2021

May is Hepatitis Awareness Month. Hepatitis is a viral infection caused by Hepatitis A, B, C, D, or E. The virus attacks the liver and can cause severe inflammation. The damage can affect the functioning of the liver, and if not diagnosed on time, can cause liver scarring and even liver cancer.

According to WHO, Hepatitis affects close to 300 million people worldwide. Hepatitis B and C cause the greatest chaos by causing lifelong infections without any early signs or symptoms. Even though vaccination for Hepatitis A and B are available, its administration has yet not gained popularity among developing countries.

A conscious effort, thus, has to be made to educate people about Viral Hepatitis. Let’s get into more details.

What are the types of Viral Hepatitis?

There are five types of hepatitis infection. This viral infection is classified as Hepatitis A, B, C, D, and E. Hepatitis A and E are often acute. Hepatitis B, C, and D are chronic and may have prolonged treatment journies.

Hepatitis A - Hepatitis A is a highly contagious infection and affects the liver. One gets Hepatitis A by consuming contaminated water or food or by coming in contact with an infected individual or object.

Hepatitis B - Hepatitis B is present in the blood, semen, or any other body fluids from an infected individual. It spreads through infected needles, sexual transmission, from mother to baby during birth, or any drug-injection equipment.

Hepatitis C - Hepatitis C causes liver infection. It is present in the blood and body fluids of an infected individual. It spreads through sharing infected needles, drug-injection equipment, or from mother to baby during childbirth.

Hepatitis D - This type is common among individuals who already suffer from Hepatitis B. Hepatitis D virus causes inflammation in the liver, leading to scarring and cancer. It spreads through infected blood and body fluids.

Hepatitis E - Often spread through contaminated water or food with fecal matter, Hepatitis E can infect a large number of people. The virus is treated using medications, oral hydration, and rest.

What are the common signs and symptoms of Viral Hepatitis?

Some common symptoms have been identified, even though they depend on the type of hepatitis virus infecting the individual. Acute infection may start showing within two to four weeks. Chronic hepatitis infection may show no symptoms for almost a few years.

Hepatitis symptoms include

  • Abdominal pain
  • Fever
  • Body aches and joint pain
  • Fatigue and dizziness
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Dark urine
  • Yellowing of skin or eyes, also known as Jaundice
  • Clay-colored stool

How is Viral Hepatitis diagnosed?

The diagnosis of Viral Hepatitis includes noting detailed medical and family history, general physical examination, urine tests, blood tests, and other lab tests. Imaging tests like ultrasound, CT scan, or MRI scan are also done.

Specific blood tests for identifying Viral Hepatitis are available for making a diagnosis. If the liver is infected, a liver biopsy can confirm and examine the extent of the damage.

How is Viral Hepatitis treated?

The treatment of Viral Hepatitis will depend on its type and severity. Usually, an acute Hepatitis infection requires no serious interventions. Medications, electrolytes, and rest for four to six weeks are sufficient. For hepatitis patients with mild liver damage, continuous medical management and checkup are advised.

For patients with chronic hepatitis, antiviral therapy, and in some cases, hospitalization with surgery is the treatment of choice. With severe liver damage, a liver transplant may be the only treatment option available.

DayToDay Health makes virtual care available to patients who have undergone surgeries and require post-surgical care at home. Programs that cover doctor and physiotherapist consultations, dietary consultations, wellbeing guidance and psychologist support, around-the-clock virtual nurse support, and informative videos and articles are made available.

Contact DayToDay Health at http://bit.ly/39YfFLw for more information.

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