Updated: August 18, 2020
Hepatitis caused by a viral infection of the liver is mainly of five types. A different virus is responsible for each type of virally transmitted hepatitis. These are:
Hepatitis A is caused by an infection with the hepatitis A virus (HAV). This type of hepatitis is mostly spread by consuming food or water contaminated by feces from a person infected with hepatitis A. Hepatitis A is preventable with immunization.
Hepatitis B is mainly sexually transmitted. This can be spread through contact with infectious body fluids such as blood, vaginal secretions, or semen containing the hepatitis B virus (HBV). Sharing razors or injection with an infected person increase your risk of getting hepatitis B. This may also be passed from mother to baby during pregnancy or childbirth. Hepatitis B is also preventable with immunization.
Hepatitis C comes from the hepatitis C virus (HCV). Hepatitis C is transmitted through direct contact with infected body fluids, usually through injection drug use and sexual contact. Viral particles have also been found in saliva and breast milk. Hepatitis C can present either acutely or chronically.
Hepatitis D is a serious liver disease caused by the hepatitis D virus (HDV). HDV is are transmitted when blood or mucous membranes are exposed to infected blood and body fluids, such as semen and vaginal secretions. Hepatitis D is a rare form of hepatitis that only occurs in conjunction with hepatitis B infection. The hepatitis D virus can not grow without the presence of hepatitis B.
Hepatitis E is caused by the hepatitis E virus (HEV) and is a waterborne disease. Hepatitis E is mainly found in areas with poor sanitation and usually results from ingesting fecal matter that contaminates the water supply.
Excessive alcohol consumption can cause liver damage and inflammation. The alcohol directly injures the cells of your liver. Long exposure to alcohol can cause permanent damage and lead to liver failure and cirrhosis, thickening, and scarring of the liver. The most important risk factors for the development of alcoholic hepatitis are the quantity and duration of alcohol intake. Alcoholic hepatitis can vary from asymptomatic hepatomegaly (enlarged liver) to symptoms of acute or chronic hepatitis to liver failure.
When the immune system mistakes the liver as a harmful object and begins to attack it, causes an ongoing inflammation that can range from mild to severe. This will result in obstructing liver function. This could be acute or chronic hepatitis or fulminant liver failure.
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