What is the Difference Between Hepatitis A, Hepatitis B and Hepatitis C?


Hepatitis is an inflammatory condition of the liver. Although the major cause is viral infection,there are other conditions which can cause it like secondary results of certain medications,drugs or lifestyle factors such as alcohol consumption.

There are majorly 3 varients of Hepatitis.We shall discuss the same today in detail.

The Hepatitis A, hepatitis B, and hepatitis C are diseases caused by 3 totally different viruses. They can cause few similar symptoms but they were completely different types of transmission. Although each can cause similar symptoms, they have different modes of transmission and can affect the liver differently.

Sometimes there are no symptoms of hepatitis in the first weeks after infection.

Few common symptoms of types A, B, and C may include:

  1. Fatigue
  2. Nausea
  3. Poor appetite
  4. Belly pain
  5. Mild fever
  6. Yellow skin or eyes (jaundice).

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  1. Hepatitis A
  • The condition is caused by Hepatitis A virus (HAV)

Mode of transmission (Spread)

  • It is commonly spread by contaminated food or water or by a person infected with Hepatitis A.
  • Certain sex practices with infected person can also cause HAV.

Treatment:

The hepatitis A vaccine is available to prevent this infection

  • Mild cases of HAV require no certain medications as the condition is short term illness.
  • In such cases there is no permanent damage to the liver and recovery is possible.

2) Hepatitis B

  • The condition is caused by Hepatitis B virus (HBV)
  • The condition can be either acute (Short-lasting), with no severe effects on liver.
  • Sometimes the virus causes a long-term infection, called chronic hepatitis B. This can lead to severe liver damage in such cases.
  • The condition can be asymptomatic at times with no major health problems. But as long as you have the virus, you can spread it to others.

Also Read: Hepatitis And Its Adverse Effects You Should Be Aware Of

Mode of transmission (Spread)

Common modes are through :

  • Contact with infectious body fluids (blood, vaginal secretions or semen) containing the hepatitis B virus.
  • Having sex with an infected partner.
  • Drug use/sharing razors with an infected person.

Treatment:

  • Hepatitis B can be prevented with vaccination
  • Acute cases can clear up on its own although medications can help to prevent the condition from worsening and transitioning to chronic.
  • Chronic cases need immense attention and should be treated.
  • Common medication include antiviral drugs.
  • Homeopathy, when combined with such drugs, help to reduce the viral load (quantity of virus within body) in such patients and helps to prevent complications such as liver damage.
  • Liver transplant may also be needed in severe cases.

3) Hepatitis C

  • The condition is caused by Hepatitis C virus (HCV)
  • Some people who get hepatitis C have it for a short time and then get better. This is called acute hepatitis C.
  • But most people who are infected with the virus go on to develop long-term, or chronic, hepatitis C.

Mode of transmission (Spread)

-The virus is spread by contact with contaminated blood such as from sharing needles or from unsterile tattoo equipment.

Treatment:

  • Antiviral medications are commonly used.
  • Making lifestyle changes to help prevent further damage to your liver and reduce the risk of spreading the infection
  • People who develop cirrhosis (scarring of the liver) or liver disease as a result of chronic hepatitis C may be candidates for a liver transplant.

So, Hepatitis A occurs only in acute form and does not need medications as such.

Hepatitis B and C can occur as acute as well chronic condition. Depending on the chronicity, the more damage to liver can occur.

Hepatitis B and C occur as a result of lifestyle choices such as sex with the infected individual, needle sharing, drug use with infected persons or from excessive alcohol consumption.

Vaccinations are available for prevention of Hepatitis A and Hepatitis B, currently, there are no vaccinations for Hepatitis C.

– Written by Dr Neethu Krishnan

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