Hepatitis is a medical condition defined by the inflammation of the liver and characterized by the presence of inflammatory cells in the tissue of the organ. Hepatitis may occur with limited or no symptoms, but often leads to jaundice, anorexia (poor appetite) and malaise. Hepatitis is acute when it lasts less than six months and chronic when it persists longer. A group of viruses known as the hepatitis viruses cause most cases of hepatitis worldwide, but hepatitis can also be caused by toxic substances (notably alcohol, certain medications, some industrial organic solvents and plants), other infections and autoimmune diseases.
There are five main types of hepatitis that are caused by a virus, A, B, C, D, and E - plus types X and G.
1. Hepatitis A - This is caused by eating infected food or water. The food or water is infected with a virus called HAV (Hepatitis A Virus). Anal-oral contact during sex can also be a cause. Nearly everyone who develops Hepatitis A makes a full recovery - it does not lead to chronic disease.
- Unprotected sexual intercourse with an infected person (unprotected sex means without using a condom) Using a syringe that was previously used by an infected person (most commonly happens with drug addicts and people who inject steroids).
- Having your skin perforated with unsterilized needles, as might be the case when getting a tattoo, or being accidentally pricked. People who work in health care risk becoming infected by accident in this way. Sharing personal items, such as a toothbrush or razor, with an infected person.
- A baby can become infected through his mother's milk if she is infected.
- Being bitten by someone who is infected.
The liver of a person infected with Hepatitis B swells. The patient can suffer serious liver damage due to infection, resulting in cancer. For some patients the hepatitis becomes chronic (very long-term or lifelong). Donated blood is always tested for Hepatitis B.
3. Hepatitis C - Hepatitis C is usually spread through direct contact with the blood of a person who has the disease. It is caused by the virus HCV (Hepatitis C Virus). The liver can swell and become damaged. In hepatitis C, unlike hepatitis B, liver cancer risk is only increased in people with cirrhosis and only 20% of hepatitis C patients get cirrhosis. Faeces is never a route of transmission in hepatitis C. Donated blood is also tested for Hepatitis C.
4. Hepatitis D - Only a person who is already infected with Hepatitis B can become infected with Hepatitis D. It is caused by the virus HDV (Hepatitis D Virus). Infection is through contact with infected blood, unprotected sex, and perforation of the skin with infected needles. The liver of a person with Hepatitis D swells.
5. Hepatitis E - A person can become infected by drinking water that contains HEV (Hepatitis E Virus). The liver swells but there is no long-term consequence. Infection is also possible through anal-oral sex.
6. Hepatitis X - If hepatitis cannot be attributed to the viruses of hepatitis A, B, C, D, or E, it is called Hepatitis X. In other words, hepatitis of an unknown virus.
7. Hepatitis G - This is a type of hepatitis caused by the Hepatitis G virus (HGV). Usually there are no symptoms. When there are symptoms they are very mild.
The initial phase of hepatitis is called the acute phase. The symptoms are like a mild flu, and may include:
- Loss of appetite
- Mild fever
- Muscle or joint aches
- Slight abdominal pain
- Weight loss
The acute phase is not usually dangerous, unless it develops into the fulminant or rapidly progressing form, which can lead to death.
As the patient gets worse, these symptoms may follow:
- Circulation problems (only toxic/drug-induced hepatitis)
- Dizziness (only toxic/drug-induced hepatitis)
- Enlarged spleen (only alcoholic hepatitis)
- Light colored feces, the feces may contain pus
- Dark urine
- Drowsiness (only toxic/drug-induced hepatitis)
- Headache (only toxic/drug-induced hepatitis)
- Itchy skin
- Yellow skin, whites of eyes, tongue (jaundice)
At bodhin, Homoeopathy acts by strengthening one's immune system & thereby prevents further complications.
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