Quick facts about Hepatitis

photo: Corbis.com

What is hepatitis?
Hepatitis is the inflammation of the liver and in some cases, can progress to liver cancer.

What causes it?
The most common causes for hepatitis is hepatitis viruses. Other causes for it include toxins such as alcohol and excessive consumption of alcohol, which damages the liver.

The five types of viral hepatitis
• Hepatitis A & E

You get hepatitis A & E viruses by consuming food or water contaminated by faecal matter. This kind of hepatitis is common in Middle East.

• Hepatitis B

The hepatitis B Virus (HBV) is transmitted through exposure to infected blood, semen and other bodily fluids. Mothers infected with the virus can also pass it on to their babies as well.

• Hepatitis C

The hepatitis C Virus (HVC) is also a blood borne viral infection. You can get this through contaminated injections during medical procedures or drug use.

• Hepatitis D

You can only get the hepatitis D virus if you are infected with HBV. Hepatitis D is particularly unique because it needs HBV in order to replicate. This dual infection can result in you contracting a more serious disease.

Common Symptoms
• Flu – like symptoms
• Fatigue
• Abdominal pain
• Weight loss
• Yellow skin & eyes

Vaccinations for Hepatitis A and B are available, it is recommend for all to get vaccinated from a young age. There is no vaccine for hepatitis C and D, but both viruses can nonetheless be prevented.

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