Hepatitis is an infectious disease of the liver that can have viral, bacterial, or toxic etiology.
The liver plays a crucial role in the body. It is responsible for detoxifying harmful substances and producing essential compounds needed by the body, such as bile for digestion.
The primary cause of hepatitis is viral infection, hence the term „viral hepatitis.” The most common forms of hepatitis are hepatitis A, B, and C, but there are also hepatitis D, E, and G.
Hepatitis can have two forms:
– Acute: This is an infection that manifests clinically within 21 days to 6 months after the time of infection and lasts for a maximum of 6 months.
– Chronic: This is an infection that lasts for more than 6 months.
The signs and symptoms of hepatitis can include:
– Decreased appetite
– Nausea and/or vomiting
– Abdominal pain
– Sensitivity or discomfort under the right rib cage, in the liver area
– Dark-colored urine
– Diarrhea and pale stools
– Joint pain
– Jaundice (yellowing of the skin and/or eyes)
– Pale-colored stools
Risk categories for hepatitis include:
– Individuals who have direct contact with an infected person
– Contaminated hands, food, and water are the main sources of infection for viral hepatitis A and E
– People traveling to areas with a high infection rate
– Individuals engaging in unprotected sexual intercourse with hepatitis-infected individuals
– People who share injectable drugs, needles, syringes, or other non-injectable drug equipment
– Family members or caregivers of individuals with hepatitis or cirrhosis
– Individuals with coagulation disorders, such as hemophilia
– Newborns born to infected mothers
– People living with someone who has hepatitis
– Healthcare workers exposed to blood at their workplace
– Patients requiring hemodialysis
Diagnosis of hepatitis is based on symptoms and serological blood tests.