What is Hepatitis - Learn About the A to E of Liver Inflammation

 

Unless it’s part of your life, the various strains of Hepatitis are only something you hear about when it comes to vaccinations, celebrity causes, or high school sex-ed class.

 

The generic, laymen labels of A B C don’t help either.

 

So, here is a quick, simple review on each virus strain, how you get it, the symptoms, and treatments.

 

 

HEPATITIS IN GENERAL


 

It just means that your liver is inflamed. That’s it. The cause, however, can come from many different reasons (hence the different kinds of Hep).

 

You can get it from a virus (which is the most common), OR you can get it from drinking too much, toxins, medications etc. The end results vary between just feeling like crap for a little or complete liver failure.

 

 

HEPATITIS A


 

The easiest way to remember the difference is the father down the alphabet, the more dangerous or damaging the strain. And since we’re at Hepatitis A, we’re dealing with the mildest.

 

HOW YOU GET IT

 

Usually by eating or drinking something that’s been handled by someone infected. Then there’s needle use, living with an infected person, working in dirty conditions, working in childcare etc.

 

SYMPTIOMS & TREATMENT

 

It shares similar feelings to a cold or flu (from mild to feeling REALLY crappy) – except it might come with abdomen pain and jaundice (which shouldn’t be surprising because it’s your liver). All you can do is rest, drink water, eat right, and take any meds that help reduce the symptoms.

 

If you’re traveling be careful of what you eat and drink. Also, wash your hands often, especially after going to the bathroom.

 

It usually doesn’t turn chronic and will go away on its own.

 

 

HEPATITIS B


 

HOW YOU GET IT

 

HEP B can be acute (short-term) or chronic (forever). It’s also considered a serious STD/STI.

 

So, it comes with all the usual ways of infection – needles use, needles in healthcare, unprotected sex, being born from an infected mother. You can also get it from traveling to areas where HEP B is rampant.

 

Children have around a 50% chance of it going chronic (infants have a 90% chance), while adults have closer to a 5-10% chance of it going chronic.

 

SYMPTIOMS & TREATMENT

 

HEP B feels similar to HEP A – however, if it turns chronic, there’s no cure. Worst case scenarios run all the way to needing a liver transplant.

 

Prevention is simple using common sense towards STD scenarios or travel, having safer sex, or getting a preventative vaccine. If you do think you’re infected, talk to your doctor as soon as possible.

 

 

HEPATITIS C


 

It’s one of the most serious HEP infections, but it’s also one of the most common.

 

HOW YOU GET IT

 

It’s not considered an STD/STI because it’s only through blood transfer (not other bodily fluids) – things like organ donation pre-1992, needles, tattoos, rough sex with micro-tears etc.

 

SYMPTIOMS & TREATMENT

 

If it’s acute, you’ll have the same symptoms as A or B, but if it’s chronic (and here’s the really crappy part) you probably won’t even notice until your liver is really damaged.

 

There have been recent improvements to drugs which help cure acute HEP C, but the chance it will go chronic is still uncomfortably high. The other bad news? Your body doesn’t create an immunity, so you can catch it again and again. There are also no vaccines for it.

 

Prevention comes down to common sense (when it comes to blood contact).

 

 

HEPATITIS D


 

This is a “satellite” infection that you can catch if you have HEP B. You avoid it by making sure you don’t catch HEP B.

 

 

HEPATITIS E


 

It’s nearly the same as HEP A, but with a bit more risk to auto-immune-compromised people or pregnant women.

 

 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

 

If you want a quick comparison table for more information, this site has a decent one.

 

Also, if you want more health-related articles, you might want to check out these…

 

 

Have a healthy day!

Robyn

Mots clésWhat is Hepatitis

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