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Hepatitis - 02/19/2013

Hepatitis is a medical condition characterized by swelling and inflammation of the liver. It is commonly caused by a viral infection but liver disease in general, can also result from a number of other reasons including overdose of medications, alcohol and poison, and bacteria or parasites. Some liver diseases can be caused by immune cells attack or certain inherited disorders. There are specific symptoms that can warn of hepatitis in a person. These include fatigue, low-grade fever, abdominal pain or distention, dark urine, clay-colored stools, jaundice, loss of appetite, nausea and vomiting, breast development in males, and weight loss. Some types of hepatitis may not manifest symptoms initially. There is every reason to be concerned about hepatitis when a person has enlarged and tender liver, abdominal fluid, and yellowish skin. There are five types of hepatitis which are categorized according to the virus that causes them. Hepatitis A comes from consuming food and water infected with HAV virus while Hepatitis E comes from drinking water infected with the virus HEV. These two types of hepatitis can also be spread through oral-anal contact. Full recovery from Hepatitis A and E is generally possible with no expected long-term damage. It is a different case however for Hepatitis B, C, and D. These hepatitis types are caused by the virus HBV, HCV, and HDV, respectively. Hepatitis B and C are spread through contact with blood, semen, and other body fluids of an infected person. Hepatitis B is a sexually transmitted disease and can result from having unprotected sex, sharing drug needles, tattooing or body piercing with unsterile needles and tools, accidental pricking by a needle with infected blood that usually occurs among health workers, sharing of personal items, and through human bite. Mothers can also pass on the disease to their babies at birth or while breastfeeding. People who acquire hepatitis C usually develop a chronic infection that can lead to liver scarring. Hepatitis D can only be acquired by people who already have Hepatitis B. Hepatitis can easily be spread through unprotected sex or the non-use of condoms during sexual contact. Prevention is a key issue here since Hepatitis C has no effective vaccine yet. There is already a Hepatitis B vaccine but hepatitis sufferers are still advised to use condoms particularly for the protection of their sexual partners. The use of condoms has been known to greatly reduce the spread of the disease although the risk of contamination always remains. Abstaining from sex is the most effective way to avoid spreading the disease. Since this is not possible or doable for some, condom use is deemed the safer option than having no protection at all. Disposing of condoms used by people with hepatitis should be done properly and safely. People with hepatitis should inform their sexual partners of their medical condition to be fair. It is not enough to use protection and expose the partner to the risk which he or she may be unwilling to take. It is always best to get professional medical advice to know the right way to prevent the spread of the disease.

 

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