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What Is Hepatitis - Type, Symptoms, Cause, and Test

Hepatitis - An overview, Type, symptoms, Cause And Test
Health Tips 01 Apr 2024

Hepatitis is a term that describes inflammation in the liver. Liver inflammation occurs due to viral hepatitis (or viruses), drugs, chemicals, genetic disorders, or alcohol. At times, an hyperactive immune system attacks your liver (autoimmune hepatitis), which causes hepatitis. Based on the course, it can be acute or chronic. Welcome to this all-inclusive post that elucidates the causes of hepatitis, its symptoms, tests, and types.

Outlining the Types and Symptoms of Hepatitis

Five viruses are there that can lead to different symptoms in patients. Below-offered are the types of hepatitis:

  • Hepatitis A

It's a food-borne ailment that spreads through unwashed food or contaminated water. This type is the easiest that transmits, more specifically, in children. However, it's least likely to damage your liver. The symptoms are mild and require six months of healing period.

  • Hepatitis B

This type transmits through exposure to contaminated needles, blood, bodily fluids, or syringes. It usually occurs from the mother to the foetus. This chronic disorder may contribute to long-term liver ailment, liver cirrhosis, or liver cancer.

  • Hepatitis C

Among the other types of hepatitis, HCV transmits via infected blood. Sometimes, it transmits from a mother to a newborn infant. This type also leads to cirrhosis or liver cancer.

  • Hepatitis D

The next is hepatitis D, which occurs only in people infected with hepatitis B. Chronic liver infection contributes to last-stage liver ailment.

  • Hepatitis E

People residing in Asia, South America, or Africa usually experience symptoms of hepatitis E. Also referred to as enteric hepatitis, hepatitis E is almost similar to hepatitis A.

Explaining the Symptoms of Hepatitis A, B, C, D, and E

Hepatitis might start and get better with passing days. But in certain situations, it can worsen and become a long-term condition. Do you know hepatitis can also lead to liver damage?

What's worse, more chronic conditions result in cirrhosis, liver failure, liver cancer, or death. There are various parameters affecting the severity of the condition. Through these symptoms, you will get a better understanding of its severity.

The symptoms of hepatitis are almost similar in the acute stage. During the initial stage, patients usually experience the following symptoms:

  • Fever
  • Joint pain or arthritis
  • Rash
  • Edema (swelling)

In more serious cases, you may experience the chronic symptoms as mentioned in the following points:

  • Fatigue
  • Muscle pain
  • Nausea & vomiting
  • Anorexia
  • Cough
  • Fever
  • Abdominal pain
  • Diarrhea
  • Light stool colour
  • Dark urine

During the icteric stage, symptoms include the following:

  • Yellowish skin and eye (Jaundice)
  • Anorexia, vomiting, and nausea
  • Irritated skin lesions

Understanding the Causes of Noninfectious Hepatitis: Things to Note

Note that hepatitis occurs due to an infection, or other factors may also cause this disease. Two of them are below-offered:

  • Autoimmune System Response

When the immune system attacks the liver, it causes ongoing inflammation (it can be severe or mild). This often hinders the liver function. This occurs more in women.

  • Toxins and Alcohol

Excessive consumption of alcohol may result in liver damage or inflammation. In medical terms, it's alcoholic hepatitis. It occurs when the alcohol injures liver cells. Eventually, it causes permanent damage, leading to scarring or thickening of the liver tissue and resulting in liver failure. In addition, exposure to toxins and overusing certain medications can also cause hepatitis.

Acute Fulminant Hepatitis Vs Chronic Viral Hepatitis: What's the Difference?

Individuals with acute HAV or HBV infection rarely develop chronic inflammation. But if they do, they become extremely sick and experience acute hepatitis symptoms. Additional issues of coma can arise because the liver cannot function properly to detoxify chemicals. Symptoms also include bleeding or bruising.

In fact, around 80% of individuals may die due to acute fulminant hepatitis within a few weeks or days. On the other hand, patients with HCV and HBV may develop chronic hepatitis. Medical professionals refer to it as hepatitis lasting more than 6 months.

In severe hepatitis, the virus lives and multiplies in the liver for decades. One thing to mention here is that the immune systems of these patients cannot eliminate the virus due to known reasons. The virus causes chronic liver inflammation.

Diagnoses and Test for Hepatitis: How Doctors Identify and Detect the Type of Hepatitis?

Understanding the causes of hepatitis is imperative as it offers the right treatment. Medical associates progress through a set of tests to diagnose the condition by considering the test for hepatitis:

  • History of the Patient and Medical Exams

During the physical examination, the medical professional detects the tenderness or pain in your abdomen. The specialist checks for liver swelling or skin/eye discolouration to diagnose the type of hepatitis.

  • Liver Function Tests

Liver function screening uses blood samples to assess the condition of the liver. Any abnormal result is an indication that there's a problem. Also, higher liver enzyme levels indicate a damaged or stressed liver.

  • Blood Screening

If the liver function screening is abnormal, the medical professional conducts other blood tests. These tests help determine the condition of the liver and whether the infection has become chronic. Doctors use blood screening to assess autoimmune hepatitis symptoms.

  • Ultrasound

Any abdominal ultrasound utilises ultrasound waves to get an image of the organ within the abdomen. With ultrasound, doctors can get an understanding of the liver and surrounding organs. It reveals the fluid in the abdomen, liver enlargement or damage, tumour, or gallbladder abnormalities.

At times, the pancreas may also come up on the images that determines the root cause of the abnormal liver function.

  • Biopsy

Assessing the liver is important for potential damage. That's where the need for a liver biopsy comes into being. This test requires a sample of liver tissue that the medical associate takes through the skin using a needle. It uses the ultrasound scan and helps determine the process how the inflammation or infection has affected the liver.

With the above tests, the doctor identifies the root causes and offers the best hepatitis treatment.

About the Company: City Imaging & Clinical Labs is a prominent diagnostic clinic in New Delhi. Here, experts conduct accurate screening, such as ultrasound, blood screening, etc., for hepatitis and other diseases.

DISCLAIMER: THIS WEBSITE DOES NOT PROVIDE MEDICAL ADVICE. The information including text, graphics, images, and other material contained on this website is for informational purposes only. No material on this site is intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Contact a health expert if you have questions about your health.

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