Hepatitis is a class of diseases that impact the liver. Hepatitis can cause inflammations of the liver and can cause its function to diminish. When this happens liver scarring can occur, which is known as cirrhosis, and in severe cases, cancer can develop. Hepatitis can be attributed to certain types of medication, toxins, alcohol, hereditary conditions, viruses, and autoimmune disorders. Hepatitis can be classified as viral or non viral.
Non viral hepatitis is broken down into four types: hepatitis caused by hereditary issues, autoimmune hepatitis, alcoholic hepatitis, and toxin or drug induced hepatitis. Alcoholic hepatitis is the result of drinking too much alcohol. Toxin or drug induced hepatitis is caused by reaction to certain medications or toxins. Ingesting or inhaling the following toxins can cause hepatitis: vinyl chloride, poisonous mushrooms, white phosphorous, and carbon tetrachloride.
There are also several medications that can lead to hepatitis. These include: acetaminophen, erythromycin, anabolic steroids, hormonal contraceptives, indometacin, ibuprofen, azathioprine, ketoconazole, nifedipine, allopurinol, nitrofurantoin, amitriptyline, chlorpromazine, zidovudine, phenytoin, amiodarone, minocycline, isoniazid, methyldopa, halothane, and certain types of supplements and herbs.
If you or someone you love have developed hepatitis because of inhaling toxins or because of medications, you should consult with a personal injury attorney to discuss your legal rights.
Hepatitis in the viral and non viral forms may show mild, moderate, or severe symptoms. Some patients may not show any symptoms at all. Fatigue is usually the only symptom in very mild cases. Other symptoms include: jaundice, headaches, fever, joint pain, muscle aches, a lack of appetite, pale feces, dark urine the color of tea, vomiting, nausea, abdominal pain, diarrhea, drowsiness, circulatory problems, and dizziness.
There are five main types of viral hepatitis, and each has their own transmission methods, effects, and symptoms. These five types are categorized, A, B, C, D, and E. The most common of these types are A, B, and C.
Hepatitis A is the most common form of the disease found in the United States. It is so common that the Centers for Disease Control reports that as many as one third of the population has some sign of immunity from a past infection.
Hepatitis A is located in the fecal matter of an infected person and is often spread through contamination with items that have come in contact with the stools of an infected person.
Hepatitis A can be acquired by eating food or drinking water that has been contaminated with fecal matter that contains the virus. This often happens when an infected person does not wash his or her hands before preparing food. Eating raw fish that has been harvested from water contaminated with hepatitis A can also spread the disease.
Unclean diaper changing stations can spread hepatitis A, as can oral-anal contact with someone who has the disease.
Hepatitis A does cause the liver to become swollen; however it does not usually cause any type of permanent liver damage or scarring.
Hepatitis B affects roughly sixty thousand people in the United States each year. People who are between the ages of twenty and forty nine have the highest rates of acquiring the disease. It is estimated that one and a quarter million people in the United States are chronically infected with this form of hepatitis.
Hepatitis B is acquired by being in contact with someone who has the disease. This can be through sexual contact, by living with a person with a chronic infection, by sharing needles, and by transmitting the virus to a newborn baby from a mother who is infected.
Hepatitis B causes liver swelling and can lead to liver damage. Some patients can recover from the disease in a few months time, but some people will never be rid of the disease. Chronic cases happen in ninety percent of newborns who acquire the disease at birth, thirty percent of children infected between the ages of one and five years, and six percent of people who become infected after the five years of age. Of all cases of chronic hepatitis B, fifteen to twenty five percent are deadly.
Over four million Americans have been infected with the virus that leads to hepatitis C. Of these people, more than three million experience chronic infections.
Hepatitis C is mainly spread through blood contact with a person who is infected. This is most often the case when sharing needles. The disease can also be passed to a child from the mother during birth.
Hepatitis C causes the liver to swell, and it usually causes liver damage. People with chronic cases of hepatitis C, liver failure, cirrhosis, and liver cancer can develop as well.
Hepatitis D is much less commonly seen in the United States. To acquire hepatitis D, a current hepatitis B infection must already be experienced. Sharing needles, having unprotected sex, and passing the disease to a child from the mother during birth are the three main ways to get hepatitis D.
Hepatitis D can be prevented by getting the hepatitis B vaccine, by avoiding contact with contaminated needles, not sharing personal items with someone who has the disease, and always having protected sex.
Finally, hepatitis E is fairly rarely seen in the United States. This form of the disease is usually acquired by traveling to other areas of the world that have higher incidents of hepatitis E. Hepatitis E can be spread through food or water that has been contaminated with fecal matter that contains the virus. It can be prevented by avoiding foods that are not cooked when traveling overseas, and not drinking tap water.
No matter what form of hepatitis you or someone you know may have acquired, it is important that you understand that you do have legal rights, and you may be able to file a claim to seek compensation for various types of damages including medical bills, and pain and suffering. You should not delay in seeking the advice of a personal injury attorney who specializes in this area of the law. He or she will handle every aspect of your case, and help you to obtain the justice you deserve.