Video:What Are the Different Types of Hepatitis?with Dr. Robert Lahita
Hepatitis involves inflammation of the liver, which is extremely important to our health. Get an overview of the different types of hepatitis and how they are transmitted in this health video from About.com.See Transcript
Transcript:What Are the Different Types of Hepatitis?
Hi I'm Dr. Bob Lahita, Chairman of Medicine at Newark Beth Israel Medical Center and Professor of Medicine at the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey. This segment is about the different kinds of hepatitis.
What is Hepatitis?
Hepatitis is a broad term that really involves inflammation of a vital organ called the liver. The liver is extremely important to our health and well-being because it's the factory in the body that detoxifies poisons, it helps digest nutrients, it produces many of the clotting factors that work in the blood, it is involved in just about everything that goes on in the body.
Hepatitis A, B, and C
The three major types of hepatitis are: Hepatitis A which you've heard about, Hepatitis B and Hepatitis C. There are other types of hepatitis which are less known, which I will not go into, for example: autoimmune hepatitis or hepatitis D, which are well described in the literature. Most of the hepatitities are produced by a virus and viral hepatitis is very, very common.
Hepatitis A is produced by the hepatitis A virus obviously, and this is from contaminated water usually, or contaminated food and is not readily transmitted - although it can be - through interaction of bodily fluids or swapping body fluids.
Hepatitis B on the other hand is something that is acquired through contact with blood, with saliva and other bodily fluids.
Hepatitis C, unfortunately, is a terribly common hepatitis that is very silent and can be acquired through things like blood transfusion or sexually transmitted as well. All of these hepatitities are similar in character. They can cause total destruction and sometimes death of the liver. Fortunately, today there are vaccines for Hepatitis A and Hepatitis B, but not for Hepatitis C unfortunately.
Symptoms of Hepatitis
So for hepatitis in general, the patient becomes what is called "jaundiced" or yellowing of the skin. The sclera of the eyes, the mucus membranes of the mouth, the palms of the hands, the soles of the feet become very, very yellow and I would say: lemon-like. And that is very, very serious.
Other side effects of hepatitis, and there are several, are nausea and vomiting, extreme weakness, fatigue and lassitude. And lastly, a commonly overlooked symptom is chronic itching that involves not only the skin of the arms, the legs, the belly, and the chest but also the palms of the hands and soles of the feet.
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