What Is Hepatitis?
Hepatitis is an inflammation of the liver. The causes can be: a virus, a bacterium or some toxic substance. However, in most cases, the virus is the cause. In fact, there are several types of hepatitis.
Weakness, nausea, headache, vomiting, fever, muscle aches, loss of appetite, drowsiness, dark-colored urine, stiffness and joint pain, abdominal discomfort, diarrhea, constipation, light-colored stools and often jaundice (yellowish skin color, which is first noticed in the eyes and mucous membranes). Skin rash and itching may occur, caused by excess bile under the skin.
Hepatitis A (infectious hepatitis, HVA) – It is transmitted through contaminated water, milk or food. The incubation period lasts 15-45 days. Infectiousness is greatest before the onset of the disease; so people who work with food can transmit it. Hepatitis A is contagious 1-2 weeks before it manifests. It is easily transmitted by touch, food, clothing, bedding, etc. It can also be transmitted by animals. Consuming oysters is a good way to get this disease, even if the water from which it is taken meets all state standards. Recovery usually takes 4 weeks. The chances of chronic cases are lower.
Hepatitis B (serum hepatitis, CVD) – It is found everywhere in the world and is transmitted just like AIDS – by contact with infected blood (contaminated needles, syringes, blood transfusions) and sexual contact. Six cases of disease due to contaminated acupuncture needles have been reported. About 5% of Americans and 85% of homosexuals suffer from this disease. Hepatitis B is a very dangerous disease. The incubation period lasts 28-160 days (2-6 months). It can be passed on to other people during this period. An increasing number of cases suffer from chronic active hepatitis. Which can lead to liver cirrhosis and death. Hepatitis B is the ninth leading killer in America.
Hepatitis C (HCV) – Like hepatitis B and AIDS, it may take 6 months for symptoms to appear; it is transferable to others during that period. About 20-40% of all hepatitis cases are of this type. It accounts for 90-95% of all cases of hepatitis caused by blood transfusions. About 85% of infections lead to chronic liver disease.
Hepatitis E – It also exists, but is of minor importance. Hepatitis E is found everywhere in the world; it is epidemic in India, Mexico, Africa and Asia. It is mainly obtained from water contaminated by sewage. Such water should be boiled before consumption.
Toxic hepatitis – The above types are primarily of viral origin, while this type is caused by toxic substances. The degree of exposure of the liver to toxic chemicals, smoke, drugs and others, determines the amount of damage caused to that organ. The poison can be absorbed through the skin.
In general, 40,000-70,000 new cases of various types of hepatitis are reported in America each year. Experts say that there are probably 10 times more patients because most of them are unreported. Hepatitis mainly affects young people, especially teenage girls.
The number of cases of hepatitis A is decreasing, while the number of cases of hepatitis B is sharply increasing. It is the fourth of 30 leading infectious diseases.
In China, 10% of the population suffers from hepatitis at any given time, i.e., 100 million new cases each year. The rate of liver cancer is very high, which is to be expected.