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Viral hepatitis is often caused by viral infection, but there are also other causes of disease. Can be among them mentioned, autoimmune hepatitis, as well as hepatitis, resulting from secondary reactions to drugs, toxins or alcohol.
Viral infections of the liver classified as viral hepatitis, include type A, B, C, D and E. The first is the mildest form of the disease, while types C and D represent the most severe. Treatment options for the various types differ depending on the severity and factors influencing the infection.
The types of viral hepatitis:
- Hepatitis A – the hepatitis is a type associated with the consumption of food or water contaminated by the virus.
- Hepatitis B – is transmitted through blood and body fluids, such as saliva or semen. Sexual intercourse with an infected person, the use of a razor or use one needle, increases the risk of contracting hepatitis B. This is a chronic disease.
- Hepatitis C usually is transmitted through direct contact with a sick person, because it can infect through body fluids and blood. The disease belongs to the most transmissible infections.
- Hepatitis D is a serious illness that is transmitted through infected blood as a result of contact with a sick person. Hepatitis D is a rare form of liver inflammation, which occurs in conjunction with hepatitis B.
- Hepatitis E is most common in areas with poor sanitary conditions and is usually caused by exposure (including intake) of faecal infected with the disease.
Hepatitis A and E is the most common illness associated with the consumption of contaminated food or drinking contaminated water that passes. Viral Hepatitis B, C, and D are typically transmitted by contaminated blood, and their form may be acute or chronic.
The causes of viral hepatitis
Among the leading causes of hepatitis, other than contact with infected blood, body fluids or foods and water, should be distinguished:
- alcohol – inflammation of the liver, can be caused by liver damage resulting from excessive drinking, often called alcoholic hepatitis; alcohol causes swelling and causing inflammation;
- toxic drug abuse or exposure to poisons,
- autoimmune disease – the immune system can confuse the liver from the harmful object and attack it impedes its functioning.
The symptoms of hepatitis in a chronic (hepatitis B and C), may not show symptoms at the outset. Symptoms often appear when severe liver damage occurs.
The symptoms of acute hepatitis appear in turn quickly and feature the following:
- excessive fatigue,
- dark urine and pale stools,
- stomach pain,
- loss of appetite,
- unexplained weight loss,
- yellowing of the skin and eyes (jaundice).
For acute or chronic forms of the disease, the symptoms gradually appear and finely.
Diagnosis of and treatment of viral hepatitis
Diagnosis of illness is based on physical examination, evaluation tenderness, and abdominal pain, as well as the possible enlargement of the liver. The doctor also draws attention to the yellowing of the skin. Subsequently are made as well:
- liver biopsy,
- liver tests – based on blood tests,
- abdominal ultrasound to assess liver enlargement or damage,
- blood tests for antibodies against individual hepatitis types – type antigens allows determining the cause of hepatitis,
- the antibody test for a viral kind of virus.
The treatment of viral hepatitis depends on the type of infection, and whether or not it is a problem of chronic or acute onset of the disease.
Hepatitis A may require only symptomatic treatment when there is vomiting or diarrhea. Sometimes, a special diet is necessary. An alternative is an application enable vaccination to prevent viral infections of this type in the future.
Hepatitis B also does not require special treatment. At the chronic form of the disease antiviral drugs are used. It is recommended to vaccination of newborns against this type of infection.
Hepatitis C requires treatment with antiviral drugs, in both acute and chronic forms of the disease. Further treatment usually requires additional research to determine the best form of therapy, usually consisting of a combination of antiviral medicines. In people who develop cirrhosis or other conditions associated with a chronic form of hepatitis C, it is often necessary liver transplantation.
When viral type D is used a drug called alpha interferon. This kind of disease, however, is problematic, it often relapses despite optimal treatment.
Hepatitis E in principle, left untreated does not belong to the types of acute, so it is advisable to rest, drink plenty of fluids and balancing diet while avoiding alcohol.
For possible complications of viral hepatitis include:
- chronicity of the disease,
- liver tumor
- cirrhosis (scarring)
- and coagulation disorder, ascites, elevated blood pressure or renal failure.