What is Hepatitis?
Hepatitis is a disease that decreases or impairs liver functionality. It can be treated, and in some cases, even cured. Only a doctor can determine whether you have Hepatitis A, B, C, or E. A sick liver affects your entire body; therefore, it is critical to be tested if you suspect you have Hepatitis. Note: Certain types of Hepatitis can be contagious and transmitted from person to person.
Hepatitis A Virus (HAV) can be transmitted through sexual activity, contaminated food or water and is present in human feces. People with HAV can experience mild to life threatening outcome with this virus. There is a vaccine that can help prevent HAV.
Hepatis B Virus (HBV) is transmitted through bodily fluids such as blood, and semen and can be sexually transmitted or can be contracted by sharing a toothbrush or razor with trace amounts blood on them. Infected mothers can transmit the virus during birth to infants. It is also passed from blood transfusions of infected people and through sharing needles with drug use. There are vaccines readily available for HBV.
Hepatis C Virus (HCV) is contracted by exposure to infected blood. Although it can be transmitted through sexual contact, it is rare that it happens. Transfusions, medical procedures with injections from unsanitary needles, and drug use can cause HCV. No vaccine exists for HCV to date, but there is treatment available.
Hepatitis D Virus (HDV) infections only occur in those who are already infected with HBV. Hepatitis B vaccines can prevent HDV and HBV, but those infected with both strains generally have a very serious infection and will be very sick.
Hepatitis E Virus (HEV) is generally contracted by those living in developing countries where the lack of a public sewage system and clean drinking water are not readily available. This is among the most common outbreaks within these countries. It is passed on via fecal-oral route from unsanitary drinking water. There is presently a vaccine in China, but no other country has access to this vaccine at this time.
Although each type will have similar symptoms, the following is a list of signs to look for:
Common Signs and Symptoms
- Extreme Fatigue
- Light-colored stools
- Jaundice- yellowing of the eyes or skin
- Dark yellow urine
Chronic Hepatitis C has affected over 3 million U.S citizens to date. Between 75 and 85 out of 100 people will contract Hepatitis C.