ABCs of Viral Hepatitis: Types, Symptoms and Prevention

By Dr Guru N Reddy, Founder, Promoter, Director & Sr. Consultant Medical Gastroenterologist & Hepatologist, Continental Hospitals, Hyderabad

Hepatitis refers to a condition of inflammation of the liver. The primary cause of this disease is a viral infection, however, there are other possible causes including poor hygiene, drugs and alcohol abuse, etc. There are about 325 million people in the world suffering from hepatitis and 95% of them are unaware of their condition.

Types of Viral Hepatitis

Hepatitis A (HAV): The virus remains in the stool and blood of an infected person and can spread by consuming contaminated food or drinks. It can also spread through close personal contact with an infected person. Hepatitis B (HBV): This type of hepatitis can be transmitted when one comes in contact with infectious body fluids like blood, vaginal secretions, or semen containing the hepatitis B virus. Sexual intercourse, sharing razors, or sharing syringes with an infected person could also be a reason. Hepatitis C (HCV): Hepatitis C virus spreads through direct contact with infected body fluids like HBV. Hepatitis D (HDV): It is a rare form of hepatitis that is caused by the hepatitis D virus. It occurs in conjunction with hepatitis B and cannot multiply without it. Hepatitis E (HEV): It is a waterborne disease that is caused by the hepatitis E virus, which is mainly found in areas with poor sanitation.

Symptoms Of Hepatitis

Some commonly known symptoms of acute hepatitis include:

  • Fatigue
  • Flu-like symptoms
  • Dark urine
  • Pale stool
  • Abdominal pain
  • Loss of appetite
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Yellow skin & eyes (indicating jaundice)

Prevention Of Hepatitis

  1. Hygiene:Good hygiene practice goes a long way in preventing hepatitis. If you are traveling to a place you know lacks hygiene and sanitation, avoid local water/ice, raw or uncooked fruits, vegetables, and seafood.
  2. Personalize Things: Never share any personal hygiene items like razors, toothbrushes, etc.
  3. Practice Safe Sex: Using a condom while having sex will not only protect against hepatitis, but also against several other
  4. STDs. Vaccines: There are vaccines available to prevent and cure hepatitis A and B. Hepatitis C can be prevented with antivirals and other treatment measures. Since hepatitis D doesn’t exist without hepatitis B there is no vaccine for it. There is no vaccine for hepatitis E either.

Who Treats Hepatitis?

If you think you show signs of hepatitis, or if you simply want to get yourself checked for it, you must visit your nearest Hepatologist or Gastroenterologist.

Dr Guru N Reddy, Founder,
Promoter, Director & Sr. Consultant Medical Gastroenterologist & Hepatologist
Continental Hospitals, Hyderabad

Disclaimer: : The views and opinions expressed in this article belong solely to the author. They do not reflect the opinions or views of the organization.

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