5 Different Types of Hepatitis – Causes & Treatment

Although hepatitis disease can be looked at broadly as so, there are five different types of the disease. Below are the different types of hepatitis, their different symptoms, causes, prevention and treatment if any:

Hepatitis A

This type of hepatitis is caused by hepatitis A virus (HAV). You can contract this type of hepatitis by ingesting contaminated food, water or contact with an infected person. The virus is common in regions of the world with poor hygiene standards where lack of safe drinking water is common. The virus infects all age groups including babies. Compare to other types of hepatitis, this type is less destructive. While children may not show any symptoms at all, adults experience body weakness, nausea, loss of appetite and fever amongst other symptoms. HAV has no cure. You recover after obtaining rest and adequate fluid intake. Hepatitis A vaccine and high standard of hygiene are the only prevention measures. However, being infected with HAV means that you are unlikely to be infected again. Your body will have build immunity against the virus.

Hepatitis B

This type of hepatitis is caused by Hepatitis B virus (HBV). It is one of the most destructive of types of hepatitis. You can transmit the virus in several ways including through unprotected sex, being exposed to contaminated blood and other body fluids. The virus can cause permanent scarring of the liver (cirrhosis). Its symptoms include jaundice, nausea, loss of appetite and body aches amongst other symptoms. The virus can serious liver disease and can be fatal. Contracting this virus puts you at a great risk of developing liver cancer because of the scarring of the liver. Unlike HAV, HBV can recur and you may actually live the rest of your life with the virus. No definite cure is available and HBV vaccination and safe practices are the only ways of preventing the virus. Infection with HBV means that you are highly likely to be infected with HDV.

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Hepatitis C

This type of hepatitis is caused by Hepatitis C virus (HCV) and is one of the most lethal. It is transmitted through contaminated blood and other body fluids. HCV does not show any symptoms until it reaches a very advanced stage. Like HBV, it causes liver cirrhosis. HCV has no vaccine and those diagnosed with the virus have been given a combination of HAV and HBV vaccinations instead. However, The US Food and Drug Administration last month (MAY 2011) gave its approval for boceprevir and telaprevir medications to be used in the treatment of HCV.

Hepatitis D

This type of hepatitis is caused by Hepatitis D virus (HDV). You will only develop this type of hepatitis in case you already have HBC, which makes this type of hepatitis a very serious viral infection. Of all types of hepatitis, HDV is the most fatal. You can contract or transmit HDV in the same way as you would HBV. The only way of preventing HDV is by receiving HBV vaccination and employing safe practices at all times.

Hepatitis E

This type of hepatitis is caused by Hepatitis E virus (HEV), which is transmitted in the same way as HAV. The virus is common in regions of the world with hot temperatures with poor hygiene standards. Unlike HAV, you can be infected by the virus after initial infection. It is only recently that HEV vaccine was availed and trials are underway in Central Africa, India and other hot region countries where lack of safe drinking water is common. The effectiveness of the vaccine is yet to be ascertained although positive results have already been reported. So far, proper sanitation remains the best way of preventing HEV.

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The presence of any hepatitis virus point towards unhealthy environment coupled with unsafe practices. It is only important that you undertake measures to ensure that your environment is safe and clean, in addition to employing safe practices, including safe sex.

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