Hepatitis Can Be A Life Threatening Illness

The liver is one of the most complex organs in the body. Besides the manufacture of cholesterol and certain proteins used by the body and storing glycogen (sugar), which is released into the bloodstream, as glucose is needed, the liver also has a main function to detoxify harmful substances that have been taken into the body. 

Hepatitis is a serious inflammation of the liver and is usually caused by certain types of viruses, however there are some types of bacteria that can also cause hepatitis. Hepatitis can be either acute or chronic. Acute is the rapid onset with severe symptoms and for a short time. Chronic is long standing and can come on slowly, with or without any symptoms and last for a long time.

There are many conditions that can cause an inflammation of the liver, most notably non-viral causes such as drugs, alcohol, chemicals, and autoimmune diseases and there are some viruses that can also cause inflammation the liver.

Most of the known viruses do not affect the liver. When doctors speak about hepatitis, they are usually referring to any of the five viruses identified that primarily attack the liver and are referred to as types A, B, C, D and E.

Each of these viruses can result in the sudden onset of symptoms (acute), which varies from several days to a few weeks and can include jaundice (yellowing of the skin and white part of the eyes), dark colored urine, feeling very fatigued, abdominal pain, nausea and vomiting. It can take several months to a year for you to experience normal health again.

Current advances in medicine now list five viruses that can cause hepatitis and each of the types are very serious and can cause extensive damage to your liver. Hepatitis A virus is spread through both water and food. The hepatitis A virus is also found in one’ s fecal material. If by some means, this material contaminates either water or food, the virus can be spread very easily.

Hepatitis A symptoms are very similar to those of the flu. You can experience vomiting, nausea, fatigue, abdominal pain, dark urine and possibly jaundice. In you have any of these symptoms, you should see your a doctor right away. Your doctor will  order some tests to determine if have hepatitis A or not. If you are diagnosed with hepatitis, then your treatment will begin, mainly plenty of rest and avoiding sexual contact.

The effects of Hepatitis A can last anywhere from a few weeks to several months. There are currently two vaccines that are available for hepatitis A. One of the vaccines is used for anyone that has already been exposed to the virus and the second vaccine is for preventing hepatitis A.

Hepatitis B is spread through the blood and by sexual contact. Hepatitis B causes almost identical symptoms as hepatitis A. You may also experience a loss of appetite. You may actually have hepatitis B, but have no symptoms.

Hepatitis C, like hepatitis B is also spread by contaminated blood.  You may experience similar symptoms of loss of appetite, fatigue, nausea, and jaundice. There is currently no vaccine for Hepatitis C.

Hepatitis D is also spread through blood, like types B and C. Hepatitis D needs the Hepatitis B virus to replicate and develop, so in for you to develop Hepatitis D, you either have to be suffering from Hepatitis B or get infected with Hepatitis B at the same time.

Hepatitis E has no current treatment or vaccines for it.

Hepatitis may produce flu-like symptoms, in its primary stages and include: feeling of debility, mild fever, appetite loss, muscle or joint pains, nausea, diarrhea, vomiting, Slight abdominal pain and fatigue. As the illness progresses, you may also experience jaundice, foul breath, dark or tea-colored urine and light colored stools. 

Although there is no current or specific remedy for Hepatitis A, in the majority of cases, it will resolve itself. The best course of treatment for Hepatitis is rest, combined with a high protein diet, which helps to repair the damaged liver cells and protect the liver.

Be advised that if you are ever in a situation where you administer CPR (cardio-pulmonary resuscitation), specifically mouth-to-mouth, and the person vomits and you are unlucky enough to ingest it, you could easily become exposed to Hepatitis, if it turns out the person had it. I know this from personal experience, as it happened to me many years ago, while working as a Respiratory Therapist in a hospital and responded to a Code-Blue. Two weeks after this happened, blood tests revealed that I had become infected with Infectious Hepatitis and it was not a fun thing to go through.