Risk Factor: Exposure To Toxins
Toxic hepatitis happens when exposure to certain toxins or chemicals causes inflammation in the liver. Over time, this can do serious damage. Overuse of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugsibuprofen, naproxen, acetaminophencan also damage the liver, as can certain prescription medications, including statins and certain antivirals. Anabolic steroids and some herbs and supplements can also damage the liver, which is why its important to always run any supplements by your doctor before taking them. If you are exposed to chemicals regularly as part of your job, you may also be at risk of liver disease.
Who Is At Risk Of Having Hepatitis A
Anyone who has come in close contact with someone who has HAV or who has eaten food or drank water polluted by HAV is at risk.
- Have ever lived with an infected person
- Have ever been a sexual partner of an infected person
- Are a man who has sex with men
- Have ever used drugs
- Have ever traveled to countries where HAV is common
HAV is most commonly spread by:
- Not washing hands before preparing or eating food
- Not washing hands after using the bathroom or changing a diaper
- Eating raw or undercooked shellfish that came from waters polluted by sewage
What Is Hepatitis A
Hepatitis A is a viral infection that causes liver inflammation and damage. Inflammation is swelling that occurs when tissues of the body become injured or infected. Inflammation can damage organs.
Viruses invade normal cells in your body. Many viruses cause infections that can be spread from person to person. The hepatitis A virus typically spreads through contact with food or water that has been contaminated by an infected persons stool.
Hepatitis A is an acute or short-term infection, which means people usually get better without treatment after a few weeks. In rare cases, hepatitis A can be severe and lead to liver failure and the need for an emergency liver transplant to survive. Hepatitis A does not lead to long-term complications, such as cirrhosis, because the infection only lasts a short time.
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What Are The Symptoms Of Autoimmune Hepatitis
People with autoimmune hepatitis may have some of the following symptoms
- pain over the liver, in the upper part of the abdomen
- yellowish color of the whites of the eyes and skin, called jaundice
- darkening of the color of urine
- lightening of the color of stools
- skin conditions, such as rash, psoriasis, vitiligo, or acne
When symptoms of autoimmune hepatitis are present, they can range from mild to severe.
Some people with autoimmune hepatitis have no symptoms. In such cases, doctors may find evidence of liver problems during routine blood tests that leads to a diagnosis of autoimmune hepatitis. People without symptoms at diagnosis may develop symptoms later.
Some people with autoimmune hepatitis dont have symptoms until they develop complications due to cirrhosis. These symptoms include
- feeling tired or weak
- bloating from a buildup of fluid in the abdomen, called ascites
- swelling of the lower legs, ankles, or feet, called edema
Hepatitis A And B Vaccines
There are vaccines to protect against hepatitis A and B. The CDC recommends hepatitis A vaccination for all children ages 12 to 23 months and for adults who plan to travel or work in areas with hepatitis A outbreaks or who have other risk factors. People with chronic hepatitis B or C should also get the hepatitis A vaccine if they don’t already have immunity to the disease. The hepatitis B vaccine is recommended for all infants at birth and for adults who have any of the risk factors we discussed earlier. There is no vaccine for hepatitis C.
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What Is Chronic Hepatitis
Hepatitis is an inflammation of the liver. In chronic hepatitis, liver inflammation continues for at least six months. This condition may be mild, causing relatively little damage, or more serious, causing many liver cells to be destroyed. Some cases lead to cirrhosis and liver failure.
Chronic hepatitis from infection is most often caused by these viruses:
- Hepatitis B and C. Often the person infected is unaware of any initial symptoms. Or the symptoms were so mild that the person did not seek medical attention. This is especially true for chronic hepatitis C. Over time, perhaps a decade or more, both types may lead to the serious complication of cirrhosis due to ongoing destruction of liver cells and resultant scarring. A minority of patients with cirrhosis develop liver cancer over time.
- Hepatitis D. Hepatitis D infects only patients already infected with hepatitis B, and it generally results in a flare of active hepatitis.
This information helps to determine the best treatment and to assess your risk of developing cirrhosis and liver failure. A liver biopsy also can help to check for other disorders, such as alcoholic liver injury or fatty liver.
Main Causes Of Chronic Liver Disease
According to Shahid M. Malik, M.D., clinical assistant professor of medicine and co-director of the Liver Outreach Program at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, about 80% of liver disease in the United States is caused by one of three things: nonalcoholic fatty liver disease , alcohol overuse, and viral hepatitis. Alcohol overuse is the number one cause of liver transplant. And then there are another dozen or so liver-specific diseases we see commonly as specialists, but they make up a minority of cases, Dr. Malik adds. Well break down these risk factors for you.
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How Do Doctors Treat The Complications Of Hepatitis B
If chronic hepatitis B leads to cirrhosis, you should see a doctor who specializes in liver diseases. Doctors can treat the health problems related to cirrhosis with medicines, minor medical procedures, and surgery. If you have cirrhosis, you have an increased chance of liver cancer. Your doctor may order blood tests and an ultrasound or another type of imaging test to check for liver cancer.
If chronic hepatitis B leads to liver failure or liver cancer, you may need a liver transplant.
Role In Aquatic Ecosystems
Viruses are the most abundant biological entity in aquatic environments. There are about ten million of them in a teaspoon of seawater. Most of these viruses are infecting heterotrophic bacteria and infecting cyanobacteria and they are essential to the regulation of saltwater and freshwater ecosystems.Bacteriophages are harmless to plants and animals, and are essential to the regulation of marine and freshwater ecosystems are important mortality agents of , the base of the in aquatic environments. They infect and destroy bacteria in aquatic microbial communities, and are one of the most important mechanisms of and nutrient cycling in marine environments. The organic molecules released from the dead bacterial cells stimulate fresh bacterial and algal growth, in a process known as the . In particular, lysis of bacteria by viruses has been shown to enhance nitrogen cycling and stimulate phytoplankton growth. Viral activity may also affect the , the process whereby is in the deep ocean.
Microorganisms constitute more than 90% of the biomass in the sea. It is estimated that viruses kill approximately 20% of this biomass each day and that there are 10 to 15 times as many viruses in the oceans as there are bacteria and archaea. Viruses are also major agents responsible for the destruction of including ,The number of viruses in the oceans decreases further offshore and deeper into the water, where there are fewer host organisms.
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What Are The Symptoms Of Hepatitis A
Some people have symptoms 2 to 7 weeks after they come in contact with the virus.3 People with hepatitis A typically get better without treatment after a few weeks. In some cases, symptoms can last up to 6 months. These symptoms may include
- yellowish eyes and skin, called jaundice
Some people infected with hepatitis A have no symptoms, including many children younger than age 6.3 Older children and adults are more likely to have symptoms.
Other Causes Of Liver Disease
- Alcohol abuse can lead to cirrhosis. So can nonalcoholic fatty liver disease and long-term cases of hepatitis B and C.
- Drug overdoses. Taking too much acetaminophen or other medications can harm your liver. Make sure you follow the dosing instructions on the label, and be aware that acetaminophen might be in more than one medicine you take.
- Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease is when too much fat has built up inside your liver. The extra fat can inflame your liver. One type of NAFLD is nonalcoholic steatohepatitis . It means you have inflammation and cell damage in your liver, as well as fat. It can scar your liver and lead to other disorders, like cirrhosis.
Dire complications of liver disease include:
- Acute liver failure. This happens when you donât have a long-term liver disease but your liver quits working within a very short time — days or weeks. That may happen because of an overdose of acetaminophen, infections, or because of prescription drugs.
- Cirrhosisis a buildup of scars in your liver. The more scars replace the healthy parts of your liver, the harder it is for your liver to do its job. Over time, it may not work like it should.
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Hepatitis A: Who Is At Risk
A prime risk factor for hepatitis A is traveling to or living in a country with high infection rates. You can check the CDC’s travel advisories to learn about recent outbreaks. Eating raw foods or drinking tap water can raise your risk while traveling. Children who attend daycare centers also have a higher risk of getting hepatitis A.
Urgent Advice: Contact Your Gp If:
- you have any persistent or troublesome symptoms that you think could be caused by hepatitis
- your child develops any symptoms of hepatitis, such as yellowing of the eyes and skin
Long-term hepatitis also may not have any obvious symptoms until the liver stops working . Routine blood tests can help diagnose hepatitis.
In the later stages it can cause:
- swelling in the legs, ankles and feet
- blood in your poo or vomit
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How Can Hepatitis A Be Prevented
The best way to prevent Hepatitis A is by getting vaccinated. Experts recommend the vaccine for all children, some international travelers, and people with certain risk factors and medical conditions. The Hepatitis A vaccine is safe and effective and given as 2 shots, 6 months apart. Both shots are needed for long-term protection.
Frequent handwashing with soap and water – particularly after using the bathroom, changing a diaper, or before preparing or eating food – also helps prevent the spread of Hepatitis A.
Search For A Clinical Trial
Clinical trials are research studies that test how well new medical approaches work in people. Before an experimental treatment can be tested on human subjects in a clinical trial, it must have shown benefit in laboratory testing or animal research studies. The most promising treatments are then moved into clinical trials, with the goal of identifying new ways to safely and effectively prevent, screen for, diagnose, or treat a disease.
Speak with your doctor about the ongoing progress and results of these trials to get the most up-to-date information on new treatments. Participating in a clinical trial is a great way to contribute to curing, preventing and treating liver disease and its complications.
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Who Should Get Vaccinated Against Hepatitis A
Vaccination is recommended for certain groups, including:
- Men who have sexual encounters with other men
- Users of recreational drugs, whether injected or not
- People with chronic or long-term liver disease, including Hepatitis B or Hepatitis C
- Travelers to countries where Hepatitis A is common
- People with clotting-factor disorders
Risk Factor: Genetic Conditions
Certain disorders make you more prone to developing chronic liver disease. These include autoimmune conditions like primary sclerosing cholangitis and primary biliary cholangitis , which happen when the immune system attacks the bowel ducts and autoimmune hepatitis, which happens when the immune system attacks the liver. Chronic liver disease can also be caused by genetic disorders, including Wilsons disease, which causes excess copper accumulation in the body alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency, caused by a deficiency in a protein and the most common genetic cause of liver disease in children and hereditary hemochromatosis, a genetic mutation that causes excess iron absorption.
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Risk Factor: You Werent Vaccinated Against Hepatitis B
Hepatitis B is another form of viral hepatitis that causes chronic liver disease. Most infants in the United States are now vaccinated against it, so cases are low, Dr. Malik says. However, widespread vaccination didnt start until 1991. And many people don’t know if they were vaccinated as a child, Dr. Dieterich adds. The most common way its spread is from mother to baby during childbirth the second most common is sexual transmission. If you were never vaccinated, youre at risk for contracting it. Theres no cure for hepatitis B, but it is very treatable, Dr. Malik adds.
How Is Hepatitis A Diagnosed And Treated
A doctor can determine if a person has Hepatitis A by discussing his or her symptoms and taking a blood sample. To treat Hepatitis A, doctors usually recommend rest, adequate nutrition, fluids, and medical monitoring. Some people will need to be hospitalized. It can take a few months before people begin to feel better.
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Dhawan, V. K. . Hepatitis C. Medscape .
Pawlotsky. . Pathophysiology of hepatitis C virus infection and related liver disease. Pubmed .
Samji, N. S. . Viral Hepatitis. Medscape .
Hepatitis A: What Happens
Hepatitis A is highly contagious and can spread from person to person in many different settings. It typically causes only a mild illness, and many people who are infected may never realize they’re sick at all. The virus almost always goes away on its own and does not cause long-term liver damage.
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Should I Be Screened For Hepatitis B
Screening is testing for a disease in people who have no symptoms. Doctors use blood tests to screen for hepatitis B. Many people who have hepatitis B dont have symptoms and dont know they are infected with hepatitis B. Screening tests can help doctors diagnose and treat hepatitis B, which can lower your chances of developing serious health problems.
Your doctor may recommend screening for hepatitis B if you9,14
- were born in an area of the world where 2 percent or more of the population has hepatitis B infection, which includes Africa, Asia, and parts of the Middle East, Eastern Europe, and South America
- didnt receive the hepatitis B vaccine as an infant and have parents who were born in an area where 8 percent or more of the population had hepatitis B infection, which includes sub-Saharan Africa and parts of Asia
- are HIV-positive
- are a man who has sex with men
- have lived with or had sex with a person who has hepatitis B
- have an increased chance of infection due to other factors
What Causes Hepatitis
There are different types of hepatitis, with different causes:
- Viral hepatitis is the most common type. It is caused by one of several viruses — hepatitis viruses A, B, C, D, and E. In the United States, A, B, and C are the most common.
- Alcoholic hepatitis is caused by heavy alcohol use
- Toxic hepatitis can be caused by certain poisons, chemicals, medicines, or supplements
- Autoimmune hepatitis is a chronic type in which your body’s immune system attacks your liver. The cause is not known, but genetics and your environment may play a role.
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Role In Human Disease
Examples of common human diseases caused by viruses include the , , , and . Many serious diseases such as , , , , and are caused by viruses. The relative ability of viruses to cause disease is described in terms of . Other diseases are under investigation to discover if they have a virus as the causative agent, such as the possible connection between and neurological diseases such as and . There is controversy over whether the , previously thought to cause diseases in horses, could be responsible for illnesses in humans.
Viruses have different mechanisms by which they produce disease in an organism, which depends largely on the viral species. Mechanisms at the cellular level primarily include cell lysis, the breaking open and subsequent death of the cell. In , if enough cells die, the whole organism will start to suffer the effects. Although viruses cause disruption of healthy , resulting in disease, they may exist relatively harmlessly within an organism. An example would include the ability of the , which causes cold sores, to remain in a dormant state within the human body. This is called latency and is a characteristic of the herpes viruses, including EpsteinâBarr virus, which causes glandular fever, and , which causes chickenpox and . Most people have been infected with at least one of these types of herpes virus. These latent viruses might sometimes be beneficial, as the presence of the virus can increase immunity against bacterial pathogens, such as .