Hepatitis – types and contributing factors
Hepatitis is described as an inflammation in the liver. Inflammation is essentially any tissue’s natural response to injury or irritation, and the general effects of inflammation are swelling, redness, and pain.
There is a wide range of causes of the condition, but they differ based on the type of hepatitis that one is affected with. For example, various types of viral hepatitis involve viral infections rather than any other disorder in the body. Hepatitis can be acute or chronic depending on the severity, and there are various types:
- Hepatitis A
This type of hepatitis does not result in chronic infections and typically involves no complications. It is one of the most common food-borne infections, and the liver takes approximately two months to properly heal from hepatitis A. In rare cases, hepatitis A can lead to liver failure, which can be fatal. The most common prevention method for hepatitis A is vaccination.
- Hepatitis B
Above 70% of all diagnosed occurrences of hepatitis B have been found in young people from the age of 15 to 39. It usually takes people 6 months to completely recover from the illness, but some may suffer from a life-long, chronic infection, which leads to ongoing liver damage. If an individual contracts hepatitis B at an early age, it has a higher chance of becoming chronic.
- Hepatitis C
Hepatitis C is among the most common causes of liver disease in the country and also the biggest reason for people to get a liver transplant. Around 80% of patients suffering from hepatitis C develop a chronic liver infection as it is difficult to diagnose hepatitis C because it comes with no noticeable symptoms. Unlike the other types, there is no vaccine to prevent hepatitis C.
Contributing factors to the development of hepatitis
Contributing factors are simple incidents, habits, or occurrences that can increase one’s chances of contracting hepatitis. These factors can range from trivial occurrences to an unhealthy habit or even major existing illnesses. Here are the main contributing factors for hepatitis A, B, and C:
Any person can develop hepatitis A by dietary means, that is, by eating food and drinking water that has been contaminated with the virus. This implies that any person with unhygienic eating or drinking habits could suffer from hepatitis A.
Multiple factors can elevate one’s chances of contracting hepatitis B. Here are the common risk factors of this type:
- Being sexually intimate with a person who is already infected
- Sharing contaminated needles
- Having direct contact with the blood of an infected person
- Suffering injuries from needles
- Inheritance of an unborn child from an infected mother
Any person can contract hepatitis C by the following:
- Sharing contaminated objects like needles
- Having direct contact with infected blood or blood transfusion from an infected person
- Injuries caused by infected needle sticks