Hepatitis is one of the deadliest diseases that are known to claim scores of lives since time immemorial. So, what is hepatitis? It is a medical terminology that is used to refer to swelling (inflammation) of the liver. There are different types of hepatitis. Below are a couple of them.

1. Hepatitis A

What is hepatitis A?

Hepatitis A is a common liver disease that is occasioned by hepatitis A virus. The disease can vary in severity, ranging from a mild sickness that can last for a couple of weeks to a chronic illness that can last for several months. Below are some of the common symptoms of hepatitis A.

· Jaundice (yellowing of the skin)

· Nausea and vomiting

· Loss of appetite

· Muscle pain

· Low-grade fever

· Discomfort that is sometime accompanied by abdominal pain

· Dark urine

It is worth noting that the signs and symptoms that are associated with hepatitis A may last for up to 6 months. However, not everyone with hepatitis A virus will develop symptoms of this disease in the early stages.

What causes hepatitis A?

The liver disease is typically caused by infection resulting from hepatitis A virus. The virus is highly contagious and it can easily be spread when a person comes into close contact with contaminated fecal matter. The deadly virus causes inflammation of the liver and also infects the liver as well. The virus can be transmitted in various ways such as drinking contaminated water, coming into contact with an infected person or having sex with a hepatitis A virus carrier. It is hence prudent to visit the doctor the moment you develop symptoms of this disease.

2. Hepatitis B

What is hepatitis B?

Hepatitis B is a serious liver disease that is brought about by hepatitis B virus. For some patients, hepatitis B can get worse leading to liver cancer or liver failure. Below are some of the common symptoms of hepatitis B.

· Abdominal pain

· Weakness and fatigue

· Jaundice (yellowing of the skin)

· White patches on the eyes

· Loss of appetite

· Dark urine

· Joint pain

· Fever

· Nausea and vomiting

It is important to note that most of the common symptoms that are associated with hepatitis B normally appear 3 months after the patient is infected with hepatitis B virus.

What causes hepatitis B?

The main cause of this disease is hepatitis B virus. This virus can easily be transmitted from one person to the other via the blood, body fluids or semen. Once the virus attacks the liver cells, it begins to multiply hence causing inflammation in the process. This consequently leads to signs and symptoms that are linked to hepatitis B infection. The virus can also be transmitted through other ways such as having unprotected sex with an infected person or sharing needles and syringes with infected persons. Make sure you have an appointment with your doctor as soon as you develop symptoms of hepatitis B.

3. Hepatitis C

What is hepatitis C?

Hepatitis C is a lung disease that is as a result of viral infection by hepatitis C virus. The disease doesn’t cause any noticeable symptom until the liver has been ruined significantly. Even though the symptoms of this disease may occur, they are normally vague and worse still is that they can easily be mistaken for other types of hepatitis. Below are some of the common symptoms of hepatitis C.

· Jaundice (yellowing of the skin) and it can at times be accompanied by white patches on the eyes

· Poor appetite and nausea

· Joint and muscle pains

· Fatigue

· Fever

Hepatitis C doesn’t produce symptoms during the early stages. In fact, a good number of people discover they have this condition later on when their livers have ceased functioning.

What causes hepatitis C?

The primary cause of this liver condition is hepatitis C virus. There are a number of ways through which this virus can be spread from one person to the other. Among the various ways through which hepatitis C can be transmitted include.

· Sharing needles and syringes with infected person

· Having sexual intercourse with an infected person

· Coming into contact with infected fecal matter

Testing, diagnosing and treating hepatitis C

The best way of detecting this condition is having a screening for hepatitis C virus. The screening is important since it help doctors recommend lifestyle changes that slow liver damage. It also enables doctor begin treatment as early as possible.

Treating hepatitis C

At times, a diagnosis of this liver condition doesn’t necessary mean that a patient needs treatment. Simple lifestyle changes can be recommended for purposes of countering the liver damage occasioned by hepatitis C virus. However, antiviral medications can be prescribed when necessary. Liver transplant can also be recommended particularly if the liver is severely damaged.

4. Hepatitis D

What is hepatitis D?

This is a type of hepatitis that is caused by hepatitis D virus. The virus is also referred to as delta virus. It normally leads to swelling and inflammation of the liver. Some of the common symptoms of this disease include joint pain, nausea and vomiting, fatigue, loss of appetite and dark urine. Hepatitis D is also known to worsen the symptoms of hepatitis B. You are at greater risk of chronic hepatitis D if you have chronic hepatitis B. There are currently no known effective treatments for chronic hepatitis D, but hepatitis D can be cured at its earliest stages using antiviral medications.

5. Hepatitis E

What is hepatitis E?

It is a liver disease that is caused by hepatitis E virus. The virus is mainly transmitted through drinking contaminated water or eating contaminated foods. The self-limiting infection normally resolves within 4-6 weeks. There are instance when this condition become worse hence leading to death due to acute liver failure. Among the most common symptoms of hepatitis E include clay-colored stool, vomiting, joint pain, nausea and loss of appetite. Since the condition can’t be easily differentiated from other types of chronic hepatitis, its diagnosis can only be confirmed by testing the presence of antibodies to Hepatitis E virus. It can be treated by antiviral therapy and medications.

Now that you know what is hepatitis, make sure you seek medical attention before the condition takes a toll on your health. As such, you should visit your doctor not only for purposes of diagnosing different types of hepatitis, but most importantly for purposes of earlier treatment prior to the condition becoming worse.