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What is hepatitis and what causes hepatitis?

Any condition causing inflammation of liver is called hepatitis. Common causes of hepatitis are viruses (‘viral hepatitis’ due to hepatitis viruses A, B , C D and E), alcohol (‘alcoholic hepatitis’) and drugs (‘drug induced hepatitis’, also referred to as ‘drug induced liver injury’ or DILI).

What is acute hepatitis?

When the liver inflammation occurs rapidly it is known as ‘acute’ hepatitis. It usually manifests within days to weeks. The predominant symptom of acute hepatitis is jaundice (yellowness of eyes and urine) which is usuallypreceded by nausea, vomiting, malaise, fever and loss of appetite (prodromal symptoms). Most often acute heaptitis recovers fully after resolution of the inflammation. In rare cases, acute heaptitis may progress to acute liver failure which may be life threatening.

What is chronic hepatitis?

When the inflammation of liver occurs slowly and insidiously it is called as ‘chronic’ hepatitis. If left untreated, the chronic hepatitis lasts for months to years and may also cause some permanent damage to the liver that may progress to fibrosis and cirrhosis.

What are the viruses which cause viral hepatitis?

Among various viruses which have special affinity to damage liver are Hepatitis A, B, C, D & E viruses.

Hepatitis A
Hepatitis B
Hepatitis C
Hepatitis D
Hepatitis E