What is Hepatitis?
Hepatitis is an infection of the liver. The liver is one of the largest and most important organs in the human body. It is a vital organ that processes nutrients, filters the blood, and fights infections. Hepatitis causes inflammation of the liver. When the liver becomes inflamed or damaged, its functions may be affected. In the United States, the most common types of viral hepatitis are hepatitis A, hepatitis B, and hepatitis C.
What Causes Hepatitis?
Hepatitis is often caused by a virus, but alcohol use, drug use, toxins, and other medical conditions such as autoimmune diseases can also cause hepatitis.
What are the Symptoms of Hepatitis?
Oftentimes, hepatitis symptoms aren’t noticeable until the liver has been significantly damaged. Unfortunately, this causes the virus to be easily spread, as many people have the infection without realizing it. When symptoms do occur, they can be mistaken for other conditions. Symptoms can include muscle aches, fever, and fatigue. Other symptoms may include loss of appetite, abdominal pain, dark urine, and jaundice.
What is the Treatment for Hepatitis?
There are safe and effective vaccines that can prevent hepatitis A and B. Currently there is no vaccine for hepatitis C. The CDC recommends testing for hepatitis C for all adults and all pregnant women during every pregnancy. Hepatitis C can be treated with a course of antiviral medicines that may stop the virus from multiplying inside the body.