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Hepatitis is a disease caused by inflammation of the liver. The virus is considered to be the primary cause of hepatitis. However, there are a host of other potential causes of hepatitis, such as hepatitis caused by some drugs, narcotics, heavy alcohol intake, and contaminants absorption. The liver is the largest visceral organ known to perform a variety of functions, including the processing of bile, which is needed for food breakdown, hormone production, and bilirubin removal. Furthermore, the liver serves as a repository for vitamins (A, D, E, K), glycogen, and minerals. In addition, the liver filters toxins from the body's processes. The liver synthesizes the factors essential in clotting cascade as well as production of blood proteins like the albumin (Trepo 29). Finally, enzymes activation which are essential for specific functioning of the body is done by the liver. Therefore, considering the functions performed by the liver, its inflammation interferes with several body functions thus affecting the health of an individual. Following the studies conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about 4.4million American citizens have been diagnosed with chronic hepatitis B and C. Therefore, the main objective of this study is to differentiate the various types of hepatitis giving its causes as well as their mode of transmission. Also, the study is aimed at finding out the various ways in which the types of hepatitis condition can be managed and the ways in which the hepatitis can be prevented.
According to research, the main cause of hepatitis disease is various viruses. Therefore, hepatitis is divided into different types considering its cause. As a result, there are five types of hepatitis caused by various viruses namely hepatitis A, B, C, D, and E and described below;
Hepatitis A is a benign, self-limiting disease which is caused following an infection with the hepatitis A virus (HAV) belonging to picornavirus group of enteroviruses. HAV is a known highly infectious virus which is spread through consumption of contaminated water or food by fecal products from an already infected individual with hepatitis A disease. The HAV is shed in the human stool 2-3 weeks prior to and 1 week after jaundice begins (Trepo 29). However, HAV neither leads to chronic hepatitis nor a carrier state although on rare occasions it may cause fulminant hepatitis. Furthermore, case fatalities associated with HAV occurs at a lower rate of about 0.1% and patients with an already pre-existing disease of the liver are the ones prone to its acquisition resulting due to other causes such as alcohol toxicity or hepatitis B virus. Additionally, HAV occurs globally although it is endemic in countries with poor sanitation. Also, the HAV infection occurs most commonly in areas which are overcrowded and experiencing poor sanitation levels.
Hepatitis B is caused by a double-stranded DNA virus which comprises of a core containing both the DNA and a DNA polymerase enzyme which is a necessity for replication of the virus. The core is surrounded by hepatitis B surface antigen which is its surface protein and freely circulates in the human blood. The hepatitis B virus (HBV) is thought to be found in all the pathological effusions as well as the physiological fluids including the saliva, semen, breast milk, sweat, and tears but excluding only the human stool. As a result, coming in contact with the above infected fluids leads to one contacting the disease. In addition, in places reported with hepatitis B endemic, transmission from infected mothers to child is common especially during delivery. Hepatitis B can cause acute hepatitis known to have a good prognosis including virus clearance from the body system and also chronic hepatitis which is non-progressive (Trepo 31).
Furthermore, HBV can lead to a condition known as fulminant hepatitis which is capable of causing huge liver cells death. Moreover, hepatocellular carcinoma is a severe condition of the liver which is majorly caused by a chronic hepatic disease known to be induced by HBV. Despite the fact that the patient may remain asymptomatic in the first weeks of infection, several symptoms may occurs later. For instance, some of the symptoms likely to be experienced by hepatitis B victims include yellowness of the sclera, anorexia, arthritis, fevers, fatigue and even dark urine urination. Additionally, people at great risk of contracting hepatitis B disease are the homosexuals, elderly people of over 60 years of age with diabetic history, people who engage in sexual activities with several sexual partners. Also, individuals touring countries with high HBV prevalence and those with pre-existing kidney illness as well as long-lasting hepatic illness are as well at risk of getting the disease.
Hepatitis C is a condition affecting the liver and is triggered by a flavivirus, single-stranded RNA hepatitis C virus. Hepatitis C virus (HCV) is a known main source of diseases affecting the liver. The main mode of HCV transmission is through inoculation of blood components. As such transmission of blood from an infected person to a non-infected individual is the main means by which the virus is transmitted. For instance, sharing of sharp objects which are contaminated with infected blood or rather receiving unscreened blood for transfusion or infected organ transplantation as was done many years ago, renders a great risk for acquiring the disease. In regards, there are a number of people at a greater risk of getting the disease. For example, individuals who are infected with HIV and AIDS disease and those people who show signs and symptoms of diseases involving the liver organ (Trepo 33).
Also, there are people who get frequent exposure to hepatitis C. Examples of such kind of people include the health care givers across the world especially following needle pricks or during the procedures entailing handling of blood or body organs that later confirmed positive results for hepatitis C infection. Hepatitis C disease is considered a chronic disease following its higher rate as compared to hepatitis B disease in regards to chronic hepatic disease progression which may eventually lead to liver cirrhosis. Furthermore, acute infection by HCV results in either chronic hepatitis, fulminant hepatitis or may as well resolve from the infection. However, the chronic hepatitis may remain as a stable disease or progress to liver cirrhosis eventually leading to a liver condition known as hepatocellular carcinoma. Liver cirrhosis and hepatocellular carcinoma are chronic liver disease which requires a liver transplant as a definitive treatment of which failure to that ultimately leads to death of the patient.
Hepatitis D & E
Hepatitis D also called hepatitis delta virus (HDV) is a single-stranded RNA virus which is known to be replication defective. The hepatitis delta virus causes an infection only when encapsulated by hepatitis B serum antigens (HBsAg). As such, HDV completely depends on HBV co-infection for its reproduction.
On the other hand, hepatitis E virus is an RNA virus which is acquired through fecal-oral route. The infection is known to be self-limiting as it never progresses to severe cases of hepatic infections or rather cases of insistent viremia have never been reported. Nevertheless, hepatitis E may be dangerous especially in pregnant patients as it is linked to result in acute liver failure which has a record of great death rate (Trepo 35).
Other types of hepatitis include alcohol-induced hepatitis and autoimmune hepatitis.
Alcoholic hepatitis is a condition described as liver inflammation as a result of consuming too much alcohol for quite a prolonged period of time. However, not every individual known to be a chronic alcohol consumer is diagnosed with the illness. Jaundice, nausea, anorexia, and fevers are some of the symptoms that have been associated with alcohol-induced hepatitis. Therefore, it is assumed that abstaining from drinking alcohol is the only way to resolve the problem and failure to do that has been attributed to severe liver destruction and death.
On the same line, autoimmune hepatitis results when ones liver cells are intrinsically attacked by their own immune system. Familial history of autoimmune hepatitis, viral or bacterial infections history, prolonged use of certain drugs and female gender are the associated risk factors of autoimmune hepatitis. Autoimmune hepatitis condition is fatal due to the fact that it leads to liver cirrhosis which leads hepatic failure.
Whether an individual has contracted the hepatitis disease knowingly or unknowingly, proper treatment should be put in place with immediate effect. However, since hepatitis A and B differ in terms of their symptoms, severity and even the effects, the type of treatment administered on the patients with each of them might be slightly different.
Hepatitis A treatment
One of the options for treating hepatitis A therefore is by taking some bed rest. In most instances, this disease can be made more severe by the fatigue of the body and therefore more rest is needed. Other than just making the body relaxed, bed rests help the mind of an individual to be free from some stress that might be caused by overworking the body. The latter can even lead to some dangerous effects and other infections like high blood pressure. These are some of the diseases that might be more costly to manage and even to treat considering the financial status of most individuals (Zuckerman, and D. 799).
Secondly, the infected individuals should abstain from alcohol and all the other drinks associated or rather related to it. Just like it does to other diseases, alcohol can cause the bodies of those patients infected with this disease to resist or rather work against the recommended medications making it hard for the patients to get well faster. Other than being resistant to medication, alcohol can be so severe to hepatitis A patients that it can lead to other diseases like obesity. Finally, medication should be sought by infected individuals in some cases where individuals or relatively the patients with these disease realize that the symptoms are somehow severe.
Hepatitis B treatment
Once an individual gets the feeling that he or she might be infected with the hepatitis disease, a test by a qualified medical professional becomes a necessity. In some cases, the infected individuals might realize the symptoms, which are likely to be those of hepatitis B when they appear to be severe. Hepatitis B can then be treated in two phases; when it is in the acute phase and secondly in its chronic phase.
To begin with therefore is the treatment of acute hepatitis B. however, since it can just go away without treatment, patients with this type of hepatitis B are recommended to take some steps or rather actions to normalize their lives. One of the actions that should be considered is rests, then taking much fluids and finally having proper nutrition on daily basis. However, in order to prevent more complications, hospital stays and drugs are recommended.
However, for patients with chronic hepatitis B, proper medication is highly recommended. This is just in an attempt to reduce the risk of transmission and that of contracting the liver disease. One of the treatments is therefore the antiviral medications, which are usually taken by mouth. These drugs including lamivudine help the body fight with the virus hence slowing its ability to damage the liver (Zuckerman, and D. 769). However, an agreement should be reached with the doctor to determine the type of medication that will be better for one’s body (Zuckerman, and D. 799).
Also, interferon injections, which in most cases are just man-made are mainly administered to young people to avoid long-term treatment and also to those women who may be willing to get pregnant sooner. The version of substance in the injections, the Intron A, are body generated hence help it to fight infections. In conclusion, liver transplant remains to be the final option for patients whose livers have undergone severe damages.
Hepatitis is a life-threatening disease that should be prevented using all the available means and medical requirements. Therefore, there are several prevention measures that have been put in place to curb or rather inhibit the hepatitis virus, more specifically on the types of the disease. The paper will therefore focus on the two major types of hepatitis; the hepatitis A and hepatitis B. All these efforts are just made in an attempt to decrease the number of infections on the people who are not infected and even the vulnerable ones.
Hepatitis A prevention
Since hepatitis A may severely affect the liver, an individual’s body may halt to function properly and therefore providing the need to inhibit it. However, for prevention to be provided, the cause of the disease should first be determined so as the best prevention measure can be put in place. This disease is therefore well known to be caused by having a direct contact with the individual that has the disease and also consuming foods and water that is contaminated.
The first prevention for this disease therefore is to immunize all children from 1-18 years with a vaccine consisting of 2 to 3 doses. This vaccine should be administered with much caution and care having in mind that children are the most vulnerable when it comes to contracting these kind of illnesses. In addition to that, adults need to be administered with a booster dose six to twelve months after the previous dose of vaccine. This is just to ensure that the adult group is protected more because they are the ones that are the most exposed to the outside things, substances or rather elements (Byrd, Peng-Jun, and Trudy 499).
Secondly, individuals should consider washing their hands. In most instances, people have been infected with this hepatitis A virus due to ignorance. Some have gone to the extent of eating foods in the streets without considering the cleanliness of their hands. It is therefore recommended that, an individual should prioritize thorough washing of the hands once he or she has used the restroom and also in instances where one comes into contact with the blood, stool or any other fluid of an infected person. Failure to follow this simple rule might put someone at risk of contracting the disease, which might then pose them to severe health risks.
Finally, in order to prevent the hepatitis A virus, individuals should avoid the consumption of unclean foods and water. Therefore, several considerations should be put in place when it comes to food and water. To begin with, food should be heated and eaten while they are still hot. Secondly, if there is no clean water available, drinking water should be boiled because that helps to kill any germs in the water. Individuals should also try as much to avoid raw meat and even the fish since they are likely to be carrying the germs.
Hepatitis B prevention
After hepatitis A, there comes another dangerous disease called hepatitis B caused by the hepatitis B virus. This disease exists in two states; the first one is the acute hepatitis B where the patient only becomes ill for some time then gets well and secondly, the chronic hepatitis B, which is considered to be long term whereby it can have some dangerous effects like liver infections. Hepatitis B should then be prevented with much caution than even the hepatitis B because of the severity of its effects.
The first measure individuals should take is to cease from sharing personal and even piercing items like toothbrushes and razor blades with the infected people. Since the chances of these objects carrying the virus might be so high, individuals sharing them might be at risk of contracting the disease. In line with that therefore, all these types of objects or relatively items should only be considered to be used by the particular individuals. More importantly, the items should be kept out of the reach of children because due to their curiosity and lack of understanding, they might take these items and start playing and using them, some attempts that will be posing their lives at risk (Shalmani, Mitra, and Amir 2170).
Secondly, the medical staff or rather professionals should consider proper sanitation in and around their working areas or relatively environment. This therefore means that, they should wash their hands well after coming into contact with the materials of the hepatitis B patients and even the patients themselves. These professionals should therefore consider disposing off the needles used in the patients well to avoid the spread of the disease to other individuals. The main reason to dispose of these syringes is that, they might become mixed up with other unused ones when they are just recapped hence increasing the risk of disseminating the viral disease. Importantly, these same medical professionals should be vaccinated after every treatment they conduct on the hepatitis B patients because they are the most vulnerable when it comes to contracting the disease (Smith et al. 688).
Finally, since sexual contact with an infected person is the best known way an individual can get the disease, safer sex should be practiced. The most affordable means of practicing this safer sex is by using latex condoms. Although they do not completely eliminate the chances of getting hepatitis B, they decrease the potential to some lower degree (Shalmani, Mitra, and Amir 2177). Therefore, just like any other viral diseases, this disease can be transmitted faster from one individual to the other when unsafe sex is practiced. The responsibility then lies on both parties involved, in this instance the man and the woman, who need to cooperate for their own benefit (Smith et al. 690).
Byrd, Kathy K., Peng-Jun Lu, and Trudy V. Murphy. "Hepatitis B vaccination coverage among health-care personnel in the United States." Public Health Reports 128.6 (2013): 498-509.
Shalmani, Hamid Mohaghegh, Mitra Ranjbar, and Amir Houshang Mohammad Alizadeh. "Recommendations for prevention and control of hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection and HCV-related chronic disease." J Liver 3.147 (2013): 2167-0889.
Smith, Shanon, et al. "Cost-effectiveness of hepatitis A vaccination in healthcare workers." Infection Control & Hospital Epidemiology 18.10 (1997): 688-691.
Trepo, Christian. "A brief history of hepatitis milestones." Liver International 34.s1 (2014): 29-37.
Zuckerman, A. J., and D. Lavanchy. "Treatment options for chronic hepatitis: antivirals look promising." BMJ: British Medical Journal 319.7213 (1999): 799.
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