Hepatitis is a fairly broad term that can refer to any of three distinct diseases of the liver. These diseases are unimaginatively designated hepatitis A, hepatitis B, and hepatitis C, each of which is caused by a different virus. The proper treatment for hepatitis will depend on the specific type. There are technically two other types of hepatitis as well, but hepatitis D is only found in individuals who have hepatitis B, and hepatitis E, although it does effect the liver, is not a chronic condition like the other types of hepatitis.
According to the Top Doctors, Hepatitis A is usually spread by unwittingly ingesting food or water that contains trace amounts of waste from an infected person. For example, if someone does not wash their hands properly after using the bathroom or changing a baby’s diaper, they could accidentally spread the disease. Having oral or anal sex with an infected person can also spread it.
According to the Best Docotrs, Hepatitis A can cause headache, nausea, fever and similar symptoms, although in some cases it may not cause any symptoms. The hepatitis A vaccine can prevent the disease, but if a person does become infected there is no actual cure; their doctor will simply monitor the condition while the virus runs its course.
The Best Doctors advise us that Hepatitis B is similar in many ways to hepatitis A. Any body fluid from an infected person can pass the disease on, including blood and semen. It may cause the same flu-like symptoms that hepatitis A causes, although it, too, may not cause any symptoms. Although hepatitis B will usually go away by itself within several months, in some cases it may last for the rest of the infected person’s life. It is then known as chronic HBV, which can lead to even more serious conditions like liver cancer. However, like hepatitis A, a vaccine is available for hepatitis B.
Hepatitis C, according to the Top Physicians, is the final type of hepatitis liver disease, is most often spread through the blood of an infected person. Other bodily fluids, though, can also spread the condition. Drug abusers sharing needles is one of the most common methods of spreading the disease, although having sex with an infected person is also a possible method.
Additionally, the Top Physicians advise that a pregnant mother who is infected with hepatitis C can pass the disease to her child. Hepatitis C sufferers often go many years without showing any symptoms of the condition. Unfortunately, there is currently no vaccine for hepatitis C. Although there are hepatitis C treatments available, success rates for these treatments vary.
Between 15 and 25 percent of all individuals who become infected with hepatitis C remain so for the rest of their lives. Many individuals with hepatitis C will not show any obvious symptoms; those that do show symptoms generally do so about 6 to 12 weeks after they are exposed. Potential symptoms include stomach pain and nausea, dark colored urine and fatigue.