Hepatitis

Hepatitis is an inflammation of the liver. When the liver is inflamed or damaged, its ability to process nutrients, filter blood, and fight infections is decreased.

The most common types of viral Hepatitis are Hepatitis A, B, and C – all cause similar symptoms, but they are spread in different ways and can affect the liver in different ways. Of these, Hepatitis B and C can be spread by sexual contact. There are vaccines for Hepatitis A and B that most people routinely get when they are children.

Most people who have hepatitis don’t have symptoms, so they can spread the infection without knowing it.

Risks
  • can spread by sex with an infected person – when blood, semen, or certain other body fluids (even in microscopic amounts) enters the body of someone who is not infected
Symptoms
  • most people who have hepatitis don’t have symptoms, so they can spread the infection without knowing it
  • loss of appetite
  • aching muscles and/or joints
  • diarrhea
  • dark urine
  • light-colored stools
  • vague abdominal discomfort
  • nausea and/or vomiting
  • yellowing of the skin and eyes (jaundice)
  • fever
  • fatigue
Testing
  • detected by a blood test
  • results of the blood test can confirm the type of viral hepatitis, the severity of the infection, whether an infection is active or dormant, and whether someone is currently contagious
  • blood test can also confirm whether a virus is acute, meaning short-term, or chronic, meaning long-term.
Treatment
  • for acute (short-term) hepatitis B, rest, adequate nutrition and fluids to relieve symptoms; no medication is available
  • for chronic (long-term) hepatitis B, anti-viral drugs and monitoring for signs of liver disease
  • for hepatitis C, medication for 8-12 weeks will cure 95% of people with minimal side effects
  • the sooner treatment starts, the better to prevent liver damage
  • vaccines are available for hepatitis B
Source and more info: CDC – Hepatitis
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