Alphabet Soup of Hepatitis

Posted on July 28, 2019 by kerri
It is World Hepatitis Day. Did you know there are many different types of hepatitis, and just as many different causes? Hepatitis is a condition that causes inflammation of the liver. [1] Most commonly, the inflammation is caused by a virus, named hepatitis A through E.
Alphabet soup of hepatitis
Below are the common types of hepatitis spread by viruses. A through C are the most common.
Hepatitis A There is a vaccine that can prevent Hepatitis A but there is no cure for this type of hepatitis. [1] This type of hepatitis is spread through feces, known as fecal-oral contamination. [1] This is why when travelling to certain parts of the world it is important to receive a hepatitis A vaccine the appropriate amount of time before travel, and to avoid drinking water that has not been processed or purified. Having oral or anal sex also increases risk for hepatitis A because of fecal-oral contamination. [2]
Other ways a person may contract Hepatitis A include living with someone who is newly infected with the virus, use intravenous (injection) drugs and share supplies; or  being incarcerated in a jail or prison. [2]
Hepatitis B There is a vaccine that can prevent Hepatitis B but there is no cure for this type of hepatitis. [1] Hep B is spread through sexual contact or blood; there a lot of risk factors or causes for acquiring hepatitis B. Having unprotected sex (especially with many partners); having a sexually transmitted infection; being born to a mother with Hep B, using injection drugs and sharing needles or supplies; receiving a piercing or tattoo with unsterilized needles or contaminated ink; living with someone with Hep B; traveling to areas where hepatitis B is prevalent; being exposed to blood or body fluids at work (ie. medical professionals), or being bitten by someone with Hep B (if their blood enters the bite wound). [3]
You cannot get Hepatitis B through any casual contact—including sharing drinks, coughing or sneezing, using the same toilet seat, hugging, kissing, hand-shaking or other non-sexual touching.
Hepatitis C can be cured but treatment can be very expensive if you do not have adequate drug coverage. [1] There are a myriad of risk factors, which you can check out here. Hep C is spread primarily through blood, but may also be transmitted through sexual contact, especially in those who are HIV-positive, men who have sex with men, or in those with multiple sexual partners.  [1] Hep C can also be spread through other means, and risk factors include having been incarcerated; having received a blood transfusion between certain years; being involved in a religious/ceremonial ritual in regions with hepatitis C prevalence; intravenous drug users or those who use equipment to snort cocaine; via contaminated piercing or tattoo needles or inks; if you require dialysis; and more. [4] It is detected with a blood test.
Hepatitis D is very rare in the United States and can only develop in cases in which a person also has Hepatitis B as the Hepatitis D virus only becomes “active” in presence of the hep B virus.
Hepatits E is most common in developing countries; although some studies report high incidence of antibodies to the hepatitis E virus (meaning some exposure has occurred but infection perhaps has not) in the United States. [5] Water supply issues in developing countries are most often the cause of spreading HEV. [5] There is not a vaccine for Hep E in North America, however, a vaccine has been developed in China. [5]
Hepatitis E is caused by fecal-oral contamination and is most often spread via drinking water. [5] In other cases, undercooked pork or deer is often the cause; in some cases (such the case of a cruise ship outbreak) undercooked shellfish can also be the source. [5]
Treating Hepatitis
Hepatitis A has no treatment but your body will kill the disease on its own. Once you have recovered from Hepatitis A, you will have immunity and cannot get it again. [2]
Hepatitis B like Hepatitis A, there is no treatment for Hep B but 95% of adults are able to fight the virus and become well. The small proportion who does not recover will require a liver transplant to get well. [3]
Hepatitis C has newer medicines available called Direct Acting Antivirals that can treat Hepatitis C viruses. They are typically used when viral levels are high indicating diseases progression, but before the point at which liver failure develops. [4]
Hepatitis Medical ID
If you have/had hepatitis ask your doctor if you should wear hepatitis medical ID jewelry. Depending on your treatment or the type of hepatitis, your doctor may want you to wear a medical ID bracelet for hepatitis. If you have had a liver transplant, you should wear organ transplant medical ID jewelry. Because we know health stories can be complicated, My IDentity Doctor offers custom engraving on all our medical ID jewelry styles.

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