Hepatitis may start and get better quickly (acute hepatitis), or cause long-term disease (chronic hepatitis). In some instances, it may lead to liver damage, liver failure, or even liver cancer.
How severe hepatitis is depends on many factors, including the cause of the liver damage and any illnesses you have. Hepatitis A, for example, is usually short-term and does not lead to chronic liver problems.
Many people with hepatitis B or C do not have symptoms when they are first infected. They can still develop liver failure later.
"Hepatitis" means inflammation of the liver and also refers to a group of viral infections that affect the liver . The most common types are Hepatitis A, Hepatitis B, and Hepatitis C.
Viral hepatitis is the leading cause of liver cancer and the most common reason for liver transplantation. An estimated 4.4 million Americans are living with chronic hepatitis; most do not know they are infected.
There are five main hepatitis viruses, referred to as types A, B, C, D and E. These five types are of greatest concern because of the burden of illness and death they cause and the potential for outbreaks and epidemic spread. In particular, types B and C lead to chronic disease in hundreds of millions of people and, together, are the most common cause of liver cirrhosis and cancer.
Hepatitis A and E are typically caused by ingestion of contaminated food or water. Hepatitis B, C and D usually occur as a result of parenteral contact with infected body fluids. Common modes of transmission for these viruses include receipt of contaminated blood or blood products, invasive medical procedures using contaminated equipment and for hepatitis B transmission from mother to baby at birth, from family member to child, and also by sexual contact.
Hepatitis A is the most common of the seven known types of viral hepatitis. Infection with the hepatitis A virus leads to inflammation of the liver, but complications are rarely serious.
HAV is tested for using a blood test. A positive test result means the patient has either had a past infection or is currently infected. The type of antibody detected in the test will indicate whether the infection is current or has been cleared. A patient who tests positive may be asked about recent contacts and sexual partners that may need to be tested too. A patient who has already had the infection and fought it off is naturally immune to HAV.
Your liver helps your body digest food, store energy and remove poisons. Hepatitis is a swelling of the liver that makes it stop working well. It can lead to scarring, called cirrhosis, or to cancer.
Approximately 90% of transfusion-associated hepatitis is caused by hepatitis C. Transmission of the virus by sexual contact has been reported, but is considered rare. An estimated 50-70% of patients with acute hepatitis C infection develop chronic HCV infection.
Patients with chronic hepatitis C infection can continue to infect others. Patients with chronic hepatitis C infection are at risk for developing cirrhosis, liver failure, and liver cancer. It is estimated that there are about 3.5 million people with chronic hepatitis C infection in the United States.