The liver is an organ that processes nutrients, fights infections and filters the blood in our body. When your liver is damaged, its function can be affected and it leads to other health conditions in the body. There are lots of reasons that lead to the inflammation of your liver, such as alcohol, toxins, medications and health conditions. But you may not know that a virus is seen as a common reason of hepatitis. Read this topic for more information about viral hepatitis.
Viral hepatitis: Overview
According to experts, our liver plays important roles in the body, including:
- Change harmful chemicals when they are absorbed in our body into harmless ones.
- Produce many important substances for good health, such as protein.
- Store essential nutrients in our body such as sugars, fats, and vitamins.
When viruses attack our body, few specific viruses attack the liver primarily that we call them as hepatitis viruses; while others don’t, the liver is just one of several organs that are affected. So, they cause inflammation in the liver and the liver is unable to perform its functions.
Viruses hepatitis is seen as the main reason of inflammation of the liver when it causes this condition in the half of patients. There are several types of hepatitis viruses, they include A, B, C, D, E, and G. But the most common viruses are A, B, and C.
All of the hepatitis viruses can cause acute hepatitis, while viral hepatitis types B and C cause chronic hepatitis.
A, B, and C: the common types of viral hepatitis
While hepatitis A virus is an acute viral hepatitis, both B and C viruses lead to chronic viral hepatitis.
Hepatitis A. This acute viral hepatitis is called “infectious hepatitis” when it spreads from person to person easily, even in microscopic amounts. It can spread when you contact with objects, food, or drinks that are contaminated by feces or stool from an infected person. Usually, this condition lasts from a few weeks to several months and patients can be treated with no lasting liver damage.
Hepatitis B. This type of viral hepatitis is the reason lead to liver cancer when it spreads from an infected person’s fluids (such as blood or semen) to others even in microscopic amounts. Besides, hepatitis B can be transmitted from an infected mother to a baby, sex without protection, sharing equipment which is contaminated with blood, sharing personal items, or poor infection control. This chronic condition can lead to chronic liver diseases such as cirrhosis, liver failure, and liver cancer. There are two ways of treatment for patients with hepatitis B. If you have an acute condition, there is no medication available, you are addressed through supportive care. In case you have a chronic condition, your doctor may suggest regular monitoring or using medications.
Hepatitis C. Similar to hepatitis B, hepatitis C is spread from blood of an infected person to the body of someone who isn’t infected. Also, other transmitted ways include sharing equipment or poor infection control. This health condition lasts from a few weeks to a serious life-long infection and it is the reason of liver cancer and liver transplants. Unlike hepatitis A and B, those people who have hepatitis C can’t be vaccinated. They are treated by antiviral drugs or received regular monitoring.
Almost all people with hepatitis don’t have symptoms or don’t know that they are infected. Symptoms of an acute infection can occur from 2 weeks to 6 months, while symptoms of chronic hepatitis can take a long time to develop.
But if you notice any following symptoms, see your doctor soon. The common symptoms of hepatitis are flu-like symptoms, fatigue, dark urine, fever, light-colored stools, and jaundice.
Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.
Review Date: July 22, 2017 | Last Modified: July 22, 2017
Viral hepatitis facts. http://www.medicinenet.com/viral_hepatitis/article.htm. Accessed July 18, 2017
Viral Hepatitis. https://www.cdc.gov/hepatitis/abc/index.htm. Accessed July 18, 2017