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What is Hepatitis? What are symptoms of Hepatitis?

Hepatitis is a medical condition in which the liver cells are inflamed.

Overview
– The word hepatitis comes from the Ancient Greek word hepar (root word hepat) which means ‘liver’, and the suffix Latin itis meaning inflammation.
– Its plural is hepatitides.
– This condition is recognized by the presence of inflammatory cells in the tissue of the organ.
– This condition can progress to cirrhosis and fibrosis.
– Hepatitis may occur with limited or no symptoms.
– It often leads to jaundice, anorexia (poor appetite) and malaise.
– Hepatitis is acute when it lasts less than six months.
– It is chronic when it persists longer.
– A group of viruses known as the hepatitis viruses cause most cases of hepatitis worldwide.
– It can also be due to toxins (notably alcohol, certain medications, some industrial organic solvents and plants).
– It can also be due to other infections and autoimmune diseases.

How many types of hepatitis are there?
There are five main types of hepatitis that are caused by a virus, A, B, C, D, and E – plus types X and G.
– Hepatitis A
This is caused by eating infected food or water.
– Hepatitis B
This is an STD (sexually transmitted disease).
– Hepatitis C
Hepatitis C is usually spread through direct contact with the blood of a person who has the disease.
– Hepatitis D
Only a person who is already infected with Hepatitis B can become infected with Hepatitis D.
– Hepatitis E
A person can become infected by drinking water that contains HEV (Hepatitis E Virus).
– Hepatitis X
If hepatitis cannot be attributed to the viruses of hepatitis A, B, C, D, or E, it is called Hepatitis X.
– Hepatitis G:
This is a type of hepatitis caused by the Hepatitis G virus (HGV).

Causes of Hepatitis
– Non-viral infection
– Autoimmune hepatitis
– Non-alcoholic steatohepatitis
– Alcoholic hepatitis
– Drug induced
– Other toxins
– Metabolic disorders
– Obstructive
– Autoimmune

What are the signs and symptoms of hepatitis?
The four main symptoms of hepatitis are:

1. Jaundice
– This is the classic symptom of hepatitis.
– This is an accumulation of a chemical called bilirubin in the body’s tissues.
– The liver usually processes this chemical as a waste product but during this condition it is not able to do that job.
– This chemical accumulates in the blood and starts to leak out into body tissue.
– When enough of this chemical accumulates it’s possible to see a yellow color in the skin, urine and especially around the whites of the eyes.

2. Loss of Appetite
– Loss of appetite is also called anorexia.
– It is often the first symptom of acute hepatitis.
– It is being replaced by nausea and vomiting on further progress

3. Fatigue
– Fatigue is a debilitating tiredness.
– It is a big source of frustration for people with liver disease.
– The liver is a vital organ in metabolizing and storing energy.
– When the liver is damaged, extreme weakness is common.

4. Muscle and Joint Aches
– Pain in the muscles and joints can last from days to weeks.
– These are more common in acute hepatitis than in chronic hepatitis.

Symptoms of Acute phase of Hepatitis
The initial phase of hepatitis is called the acute phase. The symptoms are like a mild flu, and may include:
– Diarrhea
– Fatigue
– Loss of appetite
– Mild fever
– Muscle or joint aches
– Nausea
– Slight abdominal pain
– Vomiting
– Weight loss

As the patient gets worse, these symptoms may follow:
– Circulation problems (only toxic/drug-induced hepatitis)
– Dark urine
– Dizziness (only toxic/drug-induced hepatitis)
– Drowsiness (only toxic/drug-induced hepatitis)
– Enlarged spleen (only alcoholic hepatitis)
– Headache (only toxic/drug-induced hepatitis)
– Hives
– Itchy skin
– Light colored feces, the feces may contain pus
– Yellow skin, whites of eyes, tongue (jaundice)

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