Hepatitis Causes, Symptoms & Treatment

Hepatitis Causes, Symptoms & Treatment

World Hepatitis Day 2015 (WHD) Theme – Prevention Of Viral Hepatitis. – July 28th is recognised across the globe as World Hepatitis Day (WHD). This question comes in our mind that What is Hepatitis? so this article will give an overview about the Causes, Symptoms, Treatment  and Types of Hepatitis.

World Hepatitis Day is one of only eight designated health days endorsed by the World Health Organization as mandated by the World Health Assembly. Over 400 million people worldwide are living with hepatitis B or C. Every year, 1.4 million people die from viral hepatitis. With better awareness, understanding and management many of these deaths can be prevented.

Learn More About Hepatitis B

What is Hepatitis?

Hepatitis is a medical condition defined by the inflammation of the liver and characterized by the presence of inflammatory cells in the tissue of the organ. Hepatitis may occur with limited or no symptoms, but often leads to jaundice (a yellow discoloration of the skin, mucous membrane, and conjunctiva), poor appetite, and malaise. Hepatitis is acute when it lasts less than six months and chronic when it persists longer.

Acute Hepatitis: Symptoms

Initial symptoms are non-specific and flu-like, common to almost all acute viral infections, and may include malaise, muscle and joint aches, fever, nausea or vomiting, diarrhea, and headache. More specific symptoms, which can be present in acute hepatitis from any cause, are profound loss of appetite, aversion to smoking among smokers, choluria (dark urine), jaundice (yellowing of the eyes and skin), and abdominal discomfort. Before patients develop jaundice, physical findings are uncommon. However, 5-10% of people with hepatitis develop tender enlargement of the liver, enlarged lymph nodes, and enlargement of the spleen. Acute viral hepatitis is more likely to be asymptomatic in children. General symptoms may last for 1–2 weeks before jaundice develops, with the total illness lasting weeks.

A small proportion of people with acute hepatitis progress to acute liver failure, in which the liver is unable to remove harmful substances from the blood (leading to confusion and coma due to hepatic encephalopathy) and produce blood proteins (leading to peripheral edema and bleeding).

Chronic Hepatitis: Symptoms

Chronic hepatitis may cause nonspecific symptoms such as malaise, tiredness, and weakness, and often leads to no symptoms at all. It is commonly identified on blood tests performed either for screening or to evaluate nonspecific symptoms. The presence of jaundice indicates advanced liver damage. On physical examination there may be enlargement of the liver.

Extensive damage to and scarring of liver (i.e., cirrhosis) leads to weight loss, easy bruising and bleeding, peripheral edema (swelling of the legs), and accumulation of ascites (fluid in the abdomen). Eventually, cirrhosis may lead to various complications: esophageal varices (enlarged veins in the wall of the esophagus that can cause life-threatening bleeding), hepatic encephalopathy (confusion and coma), and hepatorenal syndrome (kidney dysfunction).

Acne, abnormal menstruation, lung scarring, and inflammation of the thyroid gland and kidneys may be present in women with autoimmune hepatitis. Hepatitis associated aplastic anemia may occur 2-3 months after an acute attack of hepatitis.

Causes of Hepatitis:

Viral hepatitis is the most common cause of hepatitis worldwide. Other common causes of non-viral hepatitis include toxic and drug-induced, alcoholic, autoimmune, fatty liver, and metabolic disorders. Less commonly some bacterial, parasitic, fungal, mycobacterial and protozoal infections can cause hepatitis. Additionally, certain complications of pregnancy and decreased blood flow to the liver can induce hepatitis. Cholestasis (obstruction of bile flow) due to hepatocellular dysfunction, biliary tract obstruction, or biliary atresia can result in liver damage and hepatitis.

Types Of Hepatitis:

hepatitis A, hepatitis B, hepatitis C, hepatitis D, and hepatitis E.

Alcoholic hepatitis

Excessive alcohol consumption is a significant cause of hepatitis and liver damage (cirrhosis). Alcoholic hepatitis usually develops over years-long exposure to alcohol. Alcohol intake in excess of 80 grams of alcohol a day in men and 40 grams a day in women is associated with development of alcoholic hepatitis

Prevention : Vaccines – Treatment

Vaccines are available to prevent hepatitis A and B. Hepatitis A immunity is achieved in 99-100% of persons receiving the two-dose inactivated virus vaccine. The hepatitis A vaccine is not approved for children under one year of age. Vaccines to prevent hepatitis B have been available since 1986 and have been incorporated into at least 177 national immunization programs for children. Immunity is achieved in greater than 95% of children and young adults receiving the three-dose recombinant virus vaccine. Vaccination within 24 hours of birth can prevent transmission from an infected mother. Adults over 40 years of age have decreased immune response to the vaccine. The World Health Organization recommends vaccination of all children, particularly newborns in countries where hepatitis B is common to prevent transmission from the mother to child.

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