Hepatitis

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Overview of Hepatitis

Hepatitis is a disease characterized by liver inflammation. It effects and damages the liver tissue and devoid the liver of its critical functions. The liver damage and inflammation can be caused by number of reasons, including use of certain drugs, intake of toxins, bacterial or viral infection and autoimmune disorder. There are different forms of hepatitis when the agent damaging the liver is a virus. There are five main types of viral infection of liver, they are referred as A, B, C, D and E. There are two main types of hepatitis, progressive and self-limiting. Among the five types of viral infections, HBV and HCV are characterized as progressive and life threatening. Millions of people all over the world suffer from liver cirrhosis, liver cancer and eventual death due to the progressiveness of these hepatitis viruses. HAV and HEV cause mild form of hepatitis and is self-limiting in most cases. The mode of transmission of HBV, HCV and HDV is through infected body fluid (blood, semen, saliva), while HAV and HEV are transmitted through oral route by ingestion of contaminated water or food.

Causes and Risk Factors of Hepatitis

The autoimmune hepatitis is caused due to defect in the immune system of the body which fails to recognize self from non–self and attack the tissue of the body. Antibodies are produced against the liver tissues that lead to cirrhosis and damage to the liver. The underlying cause of autoimmune hepatitis involve complex interaction of environmental and genetic factors. There are two types of autoimmune hepatitis, type 1 and types 2. Type 1 hepatitis is more prevalent and can affect individual with any age. While Type 2 is more common in young people and children.

Signs and Symptoms of Hepatitis

The symptoms of all types of hepatitis can common and include abdominal pain, dark urine, fatigue, fever, yellowing of eyes and skin, nausea, loss of appetite, vomiting, pain in joints, enlargement of liver, spider angiomas (appearance of blood vessels on skin that resemble spider) and rash on skin.