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Viral Hepatitis

Viral Hepatitis: Introduction

Viral hepatitis is a general name for several forms of hepatitis that are caused by a virus. Viral hepatitis is the most common type of hepatitis, a group of serious diseases that cause inflammation of the liver and liver damage. Viral hepatitis is often called infectious hepatitis, and the viruses that cause it are contagious and can be passed from person to person.

Other less common forms of hepatitis are called noninfectious hepatitis. In noninfectious hepatitis, inflammation of the liver and liver damage are not due to a viral infection. Causes of noninfectious hepatitis include obesity, alcoholism (alcoholic hepatitis), genetic and metabolic disorders, immune-related injury (autoimmune hepatitis), or effects of medications or exposure to toxins (toxic hepatitis).

Viral hepatitis includes hepatitis A, hepatitis B, hepatitis C, hepatitis D, and hepatitis E. Each of these types of viral hepatitis are caused by the hepatitis virus of the same name, such as the hepatitis A virus. The most common forms of viral hepatitis in the U.S. are hepatitis A, hepatitis B, and hepatitis C.

All types of viral hepatitis cause inflammation of the liver. The liver is a vital organ, and normal functioning of the liver is crucial to health and life. Viral hepatitis can reduce the liver's ability to do its vital job in helping the body to fight infection, stop bleeding, clear the blood of toxins, store energy, produce healthy blood, digest food and remove waste.

There are differences in the way that the various forms of viral hepatitis are passed from person to person and how they progress. General risk factors for catching viral hepatitis include being sexually active outside of a monogamous relationship, living in or travelling to places with poor sanitation, being an IV drug abuser who shares needles, or using dirty needles for tattooing or body piercing.

Symptoms of viral hepatitis also differ between individuals depending on such variables as the specific type of viral hepatitis, age, medical history, the presence of complications and general health. Symptoms common to viral hepatitis include flu-like symptoms, fever, headache, nausea, muscle aches and jaundice, a yellowing of the skin and whites of the eyes. Complications can be serious, even life-threatening, and include the development of chronic hepatitis, cirrhosis, and increased risk of liver cancer, and liver failure. For more information on symptoms and complications, refer to symptoms of viral hepatitis.

Making a diagnosis of viral hepatitis includes performing a complete medical evaluation and history and physical examination. This includes questioning about risk factors for contracting viral hepatitis. Diagnostic blood tests include tests that can check for the viruses that cause viral hepatitis. Liver function tests are blood tests that can help to determine the level of severity of viral hepatitis by checking level of functioning of the liver and if there is any damage to the liver.

Imaging tests that create a picture of the liver and may be performed in some cases include an ultrasound, CT, and/or a nuclear liver scan.

It is possible that a diagnosis of viral hepatitis can be missed or delayed because symptoms can be vague or there may be no symptoms in some people in some forms of the disease. For more information on misdiagnosis, refer to misdiagnosis of viral hepatitis.

Treatment of viral hepatitis includes rest and ensuring good nutrition. For serious cases, especially if there is liver damage, hospitalization may be necessary. Treatment in the hospital may include medications, a liver biopsy, and other diagnostic testing and treatment. For more information on treatment, refer to treatment of viral hepatitis. ...more »

Viral Hepatitis: Hepatitis is inflammation of the liver. Several different viruses cause viral hepatitis. They are named the hepatitis A, B, C, D, and E viruses. ... more about Viral Hepatitis.

Viral Hepatitis: hepatitis describes inflammation of the liver. Hepatitis may be caused by alcohol, drugs, autoimmune diseases, metabolic diseases, and viruses. Viral infection accounts for more than half the cases of acute hepatitis. More detailed information about the symptoms, causes, and treatments of Viral Hepatitis is available below.

Viral Hepatitis: Symptoms

Symptoms of viral hepatitis can differ between individuals depending on such variables as the specific type of viral hepatitis, age, medical history, the presence of complications, coexisting diseases, and general health.

Symptoms common to most forms of viral hepatitis include flu-like symptoms, fever, headache, nausea, muscle aches and ...more symptoms »

Viral Hepatitis: Treatments

The most effective treatment plan for viral hepatitis uses a multifaceted approach and varies depending on the specific type of viral hepatitis. Treatment plans are individualized to best fit the patient's age, medical history, and type and stage of the disease. The goal of treatment is to stop or slow the progression of damage to the liver and minimize and ...more treatments »

Viral Hepatitis: Misdiagnosis

A diagnosis of viral hepatitis may be overlooked or delayed because in early stages there may be no symptoms. In addition, symptoms, such as flu-like symptoms, fever, poor appetite, fatigue, and weakness, and jaundice may be attributed to other diseases and conditions, such as flu, gallstones, cirrhosis of the liver, and peptic ulcer. ...more misdiagnosis »

Symptoms of Viral Hepatitis

Treatments for Viral Hepatitis

Home Diagnostic Testing

Home medical testing related to Viral Hepatitis:

Wrongly Diagnosed with Viral Hepatitis?

Viral Hepatitis: Related Patient Stories

Viral Hepatitis: Deaths

Read more about Deaths and Viral Hepatitis.

Types of Viral Hepatitis

Viral Hepatitis: Complications

Review possible medical complications related to Viral Hepatitis:

Causes of Viral Hepatitis

More information about causes of Viral Hepatitis:

Disease Topics Related To Viral Hepatitis

Research the causes of these diseases that are similar to, or related to, Viral Hepatitis:

Viral Hepatitis: Undiagnosed Conditions

Commonly undiagnosed diseases in related medical categories:

Misdiagnosis and Viral Hepatitis

Chronic digestive conditions often misdiagnosed: When diagnosing chronic symptoms of the digestive tract, there are a variety of conditions that may more »

Intestinal bacteria disorder may be hidden cause: One of the lesser known causes of diarrhea is an imbalance of bacterial in the gut, sometimes called intestinal imbalance. The digestive system contains a variety of "good" more »

Antibiotics often causes diarrhea: The use of antibiotics are very likely to cause some level of diarrhea in patients. The reason is that antibiotics kill off not only "bad" bacteria, but more »

Food poisoning may actually be an infectious disease: Many people who come down with "stomach symptoms" like diarrhea assume that it's "something I ate" (i.e. food poisoning). In fact, it's more likely to be an more »

Mesenteric adenitis misdiagnosed as appendicitis in children: Because appendicitis is one of the more feared conditions for a child with abdominal pain, it can be over-diagnosed (it can, of course, more »

Celiac disease often fails to be diagnosed cause of chronic digestive symptoms: One of the most common chronic digestive conditions is celiac disease, a malabsorption more »

Chronic liver disease often undiagnosed: One study reported that 50% of patients with a chronic liver disease remain undiagnosed by their primary physician. The reasons more »

Chronic digestive diseases hard to diagnose: There is an inherent difficulty in diagnosing the various types of chronic digestive diseases. Some of the better known possibilities are peptic ulcer, colon cancer, more »

Viral Hepatitis: Research Doctors & Specialists

Research related physicians and medical specialists:

Other doctor, physician and specialist research services:

Hospitals & Clinics: Viral Hepatitis

Research quality ratings and patient safety measures for medical facilities in specialties related to Viral Hepatitis:

Choosing the Best Hospital: More general information, not necessarily in relation to Viral Hepatitis, on hospital performance and surgical care quality:

Viral Hepatitis: Rare Types

Rare types of diseases and disorders in related medical categories:

Evidence Based Medicine Research for Viral Hepatitis

Medical research articles related to Viral Hepatitis include:

Click here to find more evidence-based articles on the TRIP Database

Viral Hepatitis: Animations

Prognosis for Viral Hepatitis

Prognosis for Viral Hepatitis: The prognosis of viral hepatitis for most patients is good.

Research about Viral Hepatitis

Visit our research pages for current research about Viral Hepatitis treatments.

Statistics for Viral Hepatitis

Viral Hepatitis: Broader Related Topics

Viral Hepatitis Message Boards

Related forums and medical stories:

User Interactive Forums

Read about other experiences, ask a question about Viral Hepatitis, or answer someone else's question, on our message boards:

Article Excerpts about Viral Hepatitis

Hepatitis is inflammation of the liver. Several different viruses cause viral hepatitis. They are named the hepatitis A, B, C, D, and E viruses.

All of these viruses cause acute, or short-term, viral hepatitis. The hepatitis B, C, and D viruses can also cause chronic hepatitis, in which the infection is prolonged, sometimes lifelong. (Source: excerpt from Viral Hepatitis A to E and Beyond: NIDDK)

Definitions of Viral Hepatitis:

Hepatitis caused by a virus - (Source - WordNet 2.1)


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