Hepatitis is a serious liver ailment that could affect a person of any age. Hepatitis makes the liver tissues inflamed because of which it becomes difficult to get through this viral infection. Hepatitis is mainly categorized into two types, I.e., acute hepatitis and chronic hepatitis. A simple way to differentiate between these two conditions is the time period for which it affects humans. Acute hepatitis means a person is infected in the recent times and has just got the infection. The symptoms are more evident in this and treatment is also relatively easier. In case of chronic hepatitis, the virus of infection has been there for more than 6 months because of which is becomes difficult to treat as well as locate the cause of infection. Let us know about symptoms and prevention tips for both these types of hepatitis in detail.
How to Determine if Hepatitis infection is Acute or Chronic?
One of the basic ways to find out is to determine the time of infection. Acute infections usually do not have many lasting affects because of which it becomes easier to treat this liver condition. People who get chronic infections are at greater risk of infection because it makes the person vulnerable to serious liver diseases that includes cirrhosis and liver cancer. If precautions and treatment is not provided in time, then there are high chances that results could be life-threatening. To understand the difference between these conditions further, we need to look at the symptoms and prevention tips. For this we have Dr. Sarthak Malik, Consultant, Gastroenterology and Hepatobiliary Sciences from Fortis Escorts Heart Institute.
Symptoms of Acute Hepatitis
Patients suffering from acute hepatitis generally have prodromal symptoms that could include the following-
- Right upper quadrant pain
- Yellowish discoloration of urine
Generally, the classical symptom of acute hepatitis is Jaundice. This could occur in approximately 3-4 days after onset of these prodromal symptoms. Once jaundice/ yellowish discoloration of eyes develops then prodromal symptoms subside.
Chronic Hepatitis Symptoms
Patients suffering from chronic hepatitis are generally symptomatic. Their disease comes into notice once they develop liver cirrhosis. Once that liver condition develops, then rest of the symptoms also start becoming evident. Here are some symptoms that could start occurring after liver cirrhosis-
- Abdominal distention
- Vomiting of blood
- Altered behavior
Tips to Prevent Acute Hepatitis
Acute hepatitis is predominantly caused by viral causes. In case of Hepatitis A and E, virus spread by food borne route hence hygiene of cooking and drinking. Therefore, you need to take similar preventive tips to stop the infection.
- Use clean water for drinking, washing clothes and in other activities that you do on daily basis.
- Vaccination for hepatitis A is available, hence you must get vaccinated if you not have already.
- Acute hepatitis B can be prevented by avoiding getting a tattoo from unhygienic place or somewhere where the person uses used needles.
- Avoiding use of contaminated needles and syringes and safe sexual protection.
- Vaccination of Hepatitis B is also readily available. Hence keep a check on it, especially in cases of children getting infected.
Tips To Prevent Chronic Hepatitis
As mentioned by the doctor earlier, Chronic hepatitis is generally silent. Therefore, it is really hard to prevent this disease. Prevention can only be done by routine screening for liver health using blood tests and latest available fibro scan test which can detect advance disease early. Also, you need to take measures that you are in least contact with agents that could possibly lead you to chronic hepatitis.
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By knowing about the symptoms of chronic and acute hepatitis, it is quite evident that chronic hepatitis could cause lasting symptoms and effect your health adversely. It might also lead you to severe health complications related to liver like liver cancer and cirrhosis. In acute hepatitis, this is not the case, if diagnosed within few days, it can be controlled and it can be treated effectively. You need to take measures in order to prevent complications of hepatitis.
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