liver.jpgHepatitis (plural hepatitides) is inflammation of liver caused by viruses known as hepatitis viruses. Those viruses are usually hepatitis A virus, hepatitis B virus and hepatitis C virus. Although rarely it can also be caused by hepatitis D virus, hepatitis E virus, varicella (chickenpox) and cytomegalovirus (CMV). It can also occur due to toxins (usually alcohol), other infections or autoimmune process (attack on the liver by immune system). There are acute (lasts less then 6 months) and chronic (persists longer) form. This is very dangerous disease because it can destroy the liver (especially B and C) or lead to cancer or cirrhosis (liver scarring).

of hepatitis are usually similar to other virus infections including weakness, tiredness and nausea. Sometimes its very hard to define symptoms because they are similar to other diseases and in some cases (especially in hepatitis A) there aren't any symptoms at all. So it's very common that disease stays undiagnosed for many years. Although patient don't have any symptoms he can still spread disease and also have health problems many years later. Generally, depending on the hepatitis type, incubation period may vary.

Most oftenly symptoms include fever, nausea, yellowing of the skin and eyes (jaundice), muscle aches, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain (upper right), light-colored bowel movements, dark urine, foul breath, lack of appetite...

The most common ways of being infected are sharing needles with infected person (usually for drug injection), unprotected sex, over infected food or environment including public places such as bathrooms, tattooing and the other kind of body modifications such as piercing, sharing intimate tools such as toothbrushes or razors, from mother to newborn.

Hepatitis A - is probably the least serious type of hepatitis spread by feces (poop) of infected people. It's usually transmitted through food or drink contaminated with feces. It lasts for about few weeks and after that symptoms will gone along with virus leaving body immune to future infections. Hepatitis A can be prevented by vaccine.

Hepatitis B - is serious type of hepatitis which may lead to cirrhosis or liver cancer both of which may cause death. It's transmitted through blood or other kind of body fluids (sex is the most common way). Although there is no cure many people who get infected will recover from disease and develop immunity to future infections. But some of them will never get rid of it. There are many types of medications that can help in recovering but none of them can guarantee recovery.

hepatitis_c_sourches.pngHepatitis C (HCV)- is the most serious type of disease also usually leading to cirrhosis or liver cancer. Transmission ways is similar to hepatitis B. Treatments has improved very much in last years but it can be difficult due to frequent injections. Also some of medications isn't approved for use in children.

Hepatitis E - is very similar to hepatitis A but it can be more difficult in some people, especially during pregnancy.

Hepatitis F and G are recently discovered and not fully examinated yet.

Pictures from this page were taken from Wikipedia.