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Hepatitis Health Center

Digestive Diseases and Hepatitis

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Hepatitis is a disease that causes inflammation of the liver. It can be either acute (lasting less than six months) or chronic (lasting more than six months).

Several viruses are known to cause hepatitis. Common forms of viral hepatitis include Hepatitis A, B, and C:

Recommended Related to Hepatitis

Hepatitis B

Important It is possible that the main title of the report Hepatitis B is not the name you expected. Please check the synonyms listing to find the alternate name(s) and disorder subdivision(s) covered by this report.

Read the Hepatitis B article > >

  • Hepatitis A : Hepatitis A is a virus that causes liver disease. It most commonly comes from contaminated food or water. This form of hepatitis never leads to a chronic infection and usually has no complications. The liver usually heals from hepatitis A within two months. However, occasional deaths from hepatitis A have occurred due to massive liver infection. Hepatitis A can be prevented by vaccination.
  • Hepatitis B : This form of hepatitis causes liver damage. Most people recover from the virus within six months, but sometimes the virus will cause a lifelong, chronic infection, possibly resulting in serious liver damage. Once infected, a person can spread the virus even if he or she does not feel sick. Hepatitis B can be prevented by vaccination.
  • Hepatitis C : One of the most common causes of liver disease in the U.S., Hepatitis C is the No. 1 reason for liver transplant. At least 80% of patients with hepatitis C develop a chronic liver infection. Approximately 2.7 million people in the U.S. are chronically infected with hepatitis C, according to the CDC. It often does not show any symptoms. No vaccine is yet available to prevent hepatitis C.

Viral hepatitis is often preventable. However, it is still considered a serious health risk because it can:

  • Destroy liver tissue.
  • Spread from person to person.
  • Weaken the body's immune system.
  • Cause the liver to fail.
  • Cause liver cancer (hepatitis B and C).
  • Cause death.

 

How Do You Get Hepatitis?

You are at a higher risk of developing hepatitis if you:

  • Share needles to take drugs.
  • Practice unprotected oral, vaginal, or anal sex.
  • Have many sex partners.
  • Drink a lot of alcohol.
  • Have poor nutrition.
  • Work in a hospital.
  • Work in a nursing home.
  • Receive long-term kidney dialysis.
  • Travel to areas with poor sanitation.

 

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