“Happiness lies, first of all,
in health.”
George William Curtis

Hepatitis is swelling and inflammation of the liver most commonly caused by a viral infection. Many illnesses and conditions can cause inflammation of the liver (hepatitis), but certain viruses cause about half of all hepatitis in people. Viruses that primarily attack the liver are called hepatitis viruses. Hepatitis may start and get better quickly (acute hepatitis), or cause long-term disease (chronic hepatitis). Hepatitis can heal on its own with no significant consequence, or it can progress to scarring of the liver. Acute hepatitis lasts under six months, while chronic hepatitis lasts longer. 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. 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. Most common hepatitis are A, B and C.

Hepatitis A
It is usually short-term and does not lead to chronic liver problems. Hepatitis A is the most common and most contagious, it spreads easily from one person to another as most viruses. Infection with hepatitis A virus can be spread through the ingestion of food or water, especially where unsanitary conditions allow water or food to become contaminated by human waste containing hepatitis A (the fecal-oral mode of transmission). Hepatitis A typically is spread among household members and close contacts through the passage of oral secretions (intimate kissing) or stool (poor hand washing). It also is common to have infection spread to customers in restaurants and among children and workers in day care centers if hand washing and sanitary precautions are not observed. It affects millions of people worldwide and is responsible for over 2 million deaths per year.

Hepatitis B
It is usually contracted through contact with infected blood, vaginal secretions and semen. The infection also can be spread by tattooing, body piercing, and sharing razors and toothbrushes (if there is contamination with infected blood). About 6% to 10% of patients with Hepatitis B develop chronic infection (infection lasting at least six months and often years to decades) and can infect others as long as they remain infected. Patients with chronic infection also are at risk of developing cirrhosis, liver failure, and liver cancer. It is estimated that there are 1.2 million people in the U.S. and 200 to 300 million people world-wide who suffer with chronic infection. There are many ways people may discover they have hepatitis.

Hepatitis C
It is estimated to affect about 3.5 million people in North America. Approximately 15% of people with hepatitis C have almost certainly been infected by blood transfusion before the widespread use of appropriate screening tests. Many people with hepatitis B or C do not have symptoms when they are first infected. They can still develop liver failure later. This form of the virus is very difficult to clear from the body and 85% of people with acute hepatitis C progress to its chronic form. Hepatitis C does its damage slowly with the person usually unaware of any symptoms. Between 28,000 and 35,000 cases of acute hepatitis C are reported each year. It has been estimated that only 25% to 30% are diagnosed because the majority of people are asymptomatic (have no symptoms). Only 20% of people with chronic hepatitis C experience symptoms of the disease but they may well experience extra hepatic (outside of the liver) signs and symptoms of infection in other organs.

In this program you’ll learn about:

  • What is jaundice and in what cases people have it

  • What is bilirubin

  • Why levels of heightened during Hepatitis

  • What symptoms people feel with Hepatitis A, B and C