What is hepatitis and how can you prevent it?

Health tips

Hepatitis is an infection in the liver that causes it to swell up, hindering the well-development of its functions. While swollen, the liver is incapable of properly helping to digest the food, stock up on energy and get rid of the toxins in our body.

This disease is usually caused by a viral infection, but it can also be due to an excessive consumption of alcohol, drugs and medicines, or some hereditary pathologies, such as Wilson’s Disease or cystic fibrosis.

It usually causes loss of appetite, diarrhea, nausea, vomit, abdominal pain, dark urine, pale defecations and a yellowish tonality in the skin and the eyes. However, some patients can show no symptoms, even if affected by hepatitis.

As you see, hepatitis is not a single disease, but a generic word that comprehends any kind of swelling in the liver. Some kinds of hepatitis are temporal and can disappear after treating it, while other are chronic and can turn into a liver failure, cancer or cirrhosis.

That is why hepatitis must be well-addressed in order to swiftly restore the normal functioning of this organ, if possible, and preventing it from putting the patient’s life at risk.

In this article, we are going to distinguish the different kinds of hepatitis and its distinctive features and show you how to prevent them.

Which kinds of hepatitis are there?

As we have said, hepatitis can be caused by multiple reasons, even if its symptoms are very similar. It is important to know all the different versions of this disease in order to identify its causes and be able to correctly prevent all of them.

The most common cause of hepatitis is a viral infection. This is also the most difficult to prevent, so we will explain how the different hepatitis virus are transmitted so as you can avoid their infection.

First of all, Hepatitis A is transmitted through thefaecal material and could infect you after contaminated food, water or other objects come into contact with your mouth. It usually affects children and teenagers and, luckily, it can be healed if well-addressed.

Hepatitis B is a more serious disease and it can be transmitted by sharing syringes or other objects that have been in contact with contaminated bloodand by having sexual relations with an infected person. It can also be transmitted to the child by its mother during pregnancy. This disease can get chronic and that is why Hepatitis B vaccine is mandatory during the first months of life.

Regarding Hepatitis C, it is an extremely silent disease that destroys the liver slowly and it usually shows its first symptoms some years after the contagion. However, even without symptoms, it can still be transmitted. Like the Hepatitis B virus, it can be transmitted through blood sharing and by having sexual relations with infected people.

Additionally, Hepatitis D virus, which is also transmitted through blood sharing, only shows its symptoms when in presence of Hepatitis B virus. Thus, a patient with Hepatitis D would also have to get infected by Hepatitis B in order to suffer hepatitis. Nonetheless, if these two viruses happen to meet, hepatitis can get very severe and chronic easily.

There are many more viruses that can cause hepatitis, but since they are less common, we are not going to stop to explain them.

How can you prevent hepatitis?

Hepatitis A virus is prevented by being careful and taking appropriate hygienic measures when manipulating food and other objects that will get into your mouth.

In relation to Hepatitis B, C and D, it should be enough with using a condom when having sexual relationsand avoiding sharing personal hygiene items. But, if you are a health worker or you belong to another risk sector, you should always use disposable materials and precisely observe the universal precautions when using sharp objects.

What is more, there are effective vaccines for Hepatitis A and B. In fact, Hepatitis B vaccine is mandatory in Spain, so, if you follow to the letter your child’s vaccination schedule, you should not have to worry about this virus.

In addition, in respect of Hepatitis A vaccine, even if it is not mandatory in all the Spanish territory, it is recommended for people who travel to countries in which there is risk to get infected and those who belong to risk groups, like children who live in closed institutions, sick patients who could easily develop this disease and people who usually get into contact with sick people.

And, in order to avoid non-viral hepatitis, you should take care of your liver by making a responsible consumption of alcoholic drinks and medicines and avoiding drugs at any cost. Doing so will help your liver to stay healthy and allow it to function normally.

What if you start to feel hepatitis symptoms?

A rapid detection of hepatitis is the key to an effective treatment. So, as soon as you start to feel the symptoms described earlier, you should go to see a doctor, who will make the appropriate tests to know if you are actually suffering hepatitis and, in case you are, identify which kind of hepatitis it is in order to give you the therapy you need to recover.

In Clínica Excelan we are constantly looking after you. If you start to feel sick, ¡call us! We will immediately send a doctor to your own home, where you will be given the best healthcare in Marbella and Costa del Sol. Your comfort and well-being are our priorities… because what is important for you, is also important for us.

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