People who have fulminant hepatitis typically develop the symptoms seen in viral hepatitis. Then they rapidly develop severe, often life-threatening liver failure. This can happen within hours, days, or sometimes weeks.
It's possible you might have hepatitis and not realize it at first. Sometimes there aren't any symptoms. Or you might not get the right diagnosis because the disease shares some of the same signs as the flu.
The most common symptoms of hepatitis are things like:
Loss of appetite
Muscle or joint aches
Nausea and vomiting
Pain in your belly
Some people have other issues, such as:
Buildup of fluid in the abdominal cavity, arms, and legs.
The only known way to prevent fulminant viral hepatitis is to prevent viral hepatitis infection.
No medicine can reverse fulminant hepatitis. People who have it need to be hospitalized in an intensive care unit. While there, they can be cared for until their condition becomes more stable. For some people, a liver transplant is the only lifesaving option. People younger than age 40 who have fulminant hepatitis are more likely to recover than older adults or people who have chronic liver disease.
Depending on the cause of the fulminant hepatitis, about 40 to 70 out of 100 people recover without major treatment.1
In this article
WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise
November 14, 2014
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