What You Need to Know About Hepatitis
Did you know that millions of people in the United States have been diagnosed with some type of hepatitis? In honor of World Hepatitis Day, we’ve compiled the facts you need to know about this liver condition.
What is Hepatitis?
Hepatitis is a disease that causes inflammation of the liver. Most of the time it is caused by viral infections, but it can also be a result of drug and alcohol use or other medical conditions. There are several different forms of hepatitis, but the most common types are hepatitis A, B, and C. While some types will resolve themselves without the need for medicine, others can progress into other issues and even become fatal.
Hepatitis A is contracted by eating or drinking something that contains the virus. Fortunately, there is a vaccine you can get in order to protect yourself from Hepatitis A and if diagnosed, this form doesn’t lead to any long-term infections. In most cases, there are no complications and your body heals itself within a few months.
Hepatitis B is transmitted through sexual intercourse, dirty needles, or direct contact with blood or body fluids from someone who is infected. There is also a vaccine for this type. Most people who contract hepatitis B find that they recover within six months, however some patients develop long-term infections that can have a negative impact on their liver health. It is important to remember that even if you don’t feel sick, you can still spread the virus.
Hepatitis C is transmitted by the same methods as hepatitis B, but many people find that they don’t have any symptoms. Additionally, this type does not have a vaccine. This is the most dangerous type; around 80% of people diagnosed develop a long-term infection that often leads to cirrhosis.
Although there are three different types, all forms have some common symptoms that you can look out for. These signs include:
- Dark urine
- Yellow skin or eyes
- Pale stool
- Stomach pain
- Loss of appetite
- Low fever
If you find yourself suffering from any of these hepatitis symptoms, speak with your doctor today. Visit the World Hepatitis Day website to learn more about this condition and the other types that exist.