Infections resulting from the hepatitis virus are a common cause of liver inflammation. It is expected that one in every twenty people will contract hepatitis at some point in their lives. The infection is classified into three main categories: hepatitis a, b, and c. There does exist a hepatitis d, e, and f, but these variations are much rarer. Hepatitis A is most commonly found in developing countries due to its proliferation in areas with poor sanitation. In western populations, most cases of this type of infection result from travel to these developing countries. Hepatitis a does not cause permanent liver damage. Hepatitis b, on the other hand, does cause permanent liver damage and can progress to cirrhosis and cause death. A third of the world’s population is thought to be infected. Spread by blood to blood contact, hepatitis c affects 300 million people worldwide.
Hepatitis and Viral Infections
However, these viral infections are not the only cause of hepatitis. It can also be caused by prolonged alcohol consumption as well. Symptoms of hepatitis a usually appear as soon as two weeks after infection and can appear in the following forms: fatigue, abdominal pain, diarrhea, depression, weight loss, fever, nausea, loss of appetite, jaundice, and dark urine or light stools. Hepatitis B has primarily the same set of outward manifestations. For many victims of both types of infection, it is quite possible for the disease to go undetected as it can be asymptomatic. Most people who have contracted acute hepatitis c display no symptoms and for those who do, the signs are relatively minor. If a patient has been infected with hepatitis c for over six months, they are rediagnosed as having chronic hepatitis c. The symptoms of this variation can differ wildly between patients, but commonly include the above signs as well as itching, insomnia, unusual bleeding or bruising, and enlarged veins.
What to do when contacted by hepatitis?
Hepatitis a has no treatment, but infected patients should get plenty of rest and water and avoid high-fat foods and alcohol consumption. Acute hepatitis b cases do not often need and form of health treatment because fully developed immune systems are capable of dealing with the infection without outside help or interference. However, chronic hepatitis b should be treated to prevent the disease from worsening into cirrhosis or cancer of the liver. While no medications are capable of completely eradicating chronic hepatitis b, many antiviral drugs can stop the infection from spreading. A hepatitis vaccine can be used to combat both a and b varieties provided it has been caught soon enough. In hepatitis c patients, medical intervention is almost always required. Twenty percent of cases that do not receive hepatitis treatment result in death. Most commonly, a regimen of medications is taken to stop the growth of the virus. In addition to drugs, many new treatment options have been discovered. One such new method is the Hemopurifier, a device which eliminates infectious viruses directly from the bloodstream. There is no hepatitis vaccine for the c variation.
If a patient feels that they have contracted hepatitis, a local physician should be alerted immediately. The doctor will run tests to determine the specific type of infection and the best course of hepatitis treatment. Hepatitis virus complications can range from minute to severe, therefore early detection of the disease is of paramount importance.