Why Should You Be Aware of Hepatitis and How Dangerous It Can Be?

Hepatitis is simply liver inflammation. It is a condition that affects liver function. The liver is one of the most important body organs that performs crucial roles such as blood filtering, detoxification, and bile secretion which aids digestion.

According to WHO, the World Health Organisation, over 354 million people around the globe are living with a type of hepatitis, which could be due to viral or non-viral causes. These conditions have been observed to contribute to over 820,000 deaths yearly.

Non-viral causes of hepatitis include auto-immunity, excessive alcohol consumption, and side effects of certain medications and drugs. Viral hepatitis is caused by five main classifications of hepatitis viruses identified as A, B, C, D, and E.

What are The Main Causes Of Hepatitis?

Hepatitis resulting from viral infections is more common and more severe compared with hepatitis resulting from non-viral causes.

How is hepatitis A, B, C, D, and E transmitted? The five main viral causes of hepatitis can be contracted through various routes.

  • Hepatitis A, HAV, is often transmitted through food and water mostly in areas with very poor sanitation or where individuals fail to maintain proper personal hygiene.
  • Hepatitis B, HBV, is transmitted through body fluids like blood, semen, vaginal secretions, needle sharing, and mother-to-child transmission. According to the Pan American Health Organisation, ‘Hepatitis B, HBV is ten times more infectious than HIV.’
  • Hepatitis C, HCV, can be contracted from contact with the body fluids of an infected person. This can be through unprotected sexual activity, sharing of unsterilized instruments, or the transfusion of unscreened or improperly screened blood.
  • Hepatitis D, HDV, is also transmitted through body fluids, similar to HBV’s mode of transmission.
  • Hepatitis E, HEV, is contracted through food and water, just like HAV.

Hepatitis A and E infections are easily curable and easier to recover from. Hepatitis B, C, and D infections on the other hand are more chronic and can lead to chronic liver disease, liver cirrhosis or scarring, liver cancer, and sometimes death.

Why Is It Important To Know About Hepatitis?

Hepatitis is a chronic condition that affects millions of people worldwide. In the early stages of the infection, there are no symptoms until the advanced stages when the liver may have been damaged.

Learning about hepatitis would help you to protect yourself as the viruses that cause viral hepatitis can be transmitted easily. Simple practices such as avoiding the sharing of needles and instruments used in piercings or tattooing go a long way.

The use of protection or abstinence from sexual activity can also prevent transmission. Is hepatitis an STD? Some forms of hepatitis like Hepatitis B, C, and D can be contracted sexually. As such, these forms of hepatitis can be considered as STDs.

Another common concern about hepatitis is its effect on fertility. In men, the Hepatitis B virus can affect sperm quality and lead to fertility issues. However, with prompt and early interventions it can be managed. Early detection of hepatitis makes management of the condition a lot easier. In diagnosing hepatitis, your healthcare provider will assess some signs and symptoms, assess your medical history, and carry out diagnostic tests.

Some signs and symptoms of hepatitis that may be observed include:

Symptoms and Signs Type of Condition (Acute or Chronic Hepatitis)
Fatigue Acute and Chronic Hepatitis
Bleeding and getting bruised easily Chronic Hepatitis
Enlarged liver or spleen swelling Chronic Hepatitis
Jaundice Acute and Chronic Hepatitis
Dark Urine Acute and Chronic Hepatitis
Clay coloured stools Acute and Chronic Hepatitis
Abdominal pain Acute and Chronic Hepatitis
Nausea and Vomiting Acute and Chronic Hepatitis
Loss of Appetite Acute and Chronic Hepatitis
Fever Acute and Chronic Hepatitis
Muscle and Joint Pain Acute and Chronic Hepatitis
Itchy Skin due to compromised liver function Acute and Chronic Hepatitis
Signs and symptoms of hepatitis

Which Hepatitis Condition Is Dangerous and Why?

The level of harm that is caused by a hepatitis condition depends on the cause and how well the infection has been managed.

Which hepatitis is easily curable? Hepatitis A and E are the easily curable types of hepatitis. They are considered the least dangerous forms of the condition. There are cases where the Infection resolves without treatment. However, this is not the case for people with weakened immune systems.

In pregnant women and other immunocompromised individuals, Hepatitis E infections can become dangerous. It’s advisable to seek the consultation of a doctor if you or anyone you know suspects they may be suffering from any form of the condition.

Which hepatitis is more dangerous? Hepatitis B, C, and D are the more dangerous forms of hepatitis, particularly B and C. While they all lead to chronic infections, the Hepatitis C virus can stay viable in the body for about 20 years with no clear symptoms until damage has been done.

Hepatitis B and C can lead to serious liver damage making it difficult for the body to carry on normally as liver functions are impaired.

Both forms of the condition can progress to liver damage, fibrosis, cirrhosis, liver and bile cancer, as well as death if not managed properly.

Hepatitis D coexists with Hepatitis B and this infection can be more dangerous. Liver damage and other complications occur at a more rapid rate when the Hepatitis D virus is present.

Concurrent infections where a person is infected with more than one type of virus tend to be more dangerous compared to single viral infections.

How Can You Prevent Hepatitis and Tips For Management

Some foods improve liver function and can help in the prevention of hepatitis. Some of these food sources include lean protein, fruits and vegetables, healthy fats, and whole grains.

Avoiding certain foods that are not liver friendly may also help in preventing hepatitis. Food sources to avoid include high-fat foods, excessive sugar-containing foods and drinks, as well as overly processed foods.

Aside from food alternatives, other ways you can prevent hepatitis are as follows

  1. Get Vaccinated

There are available vaccines against Hepatitis A and B. These vaccines are only effective before an infection. Mother-to-child transmission has been observed to be the primary source of chronic Hepatitis B.

Babies are to be administered the vaccines within less than 24 hours of birth to prevent them from developing the infection. After the first dose, 2 or 3 more doses are to be offered and this will confer lifelong protection.

  1. Proper Hygiene

Hepatitis A and E are contracted easily in environments with low sanitary standards. Keep your living area neat and ensure to wash your hands properly after using the toilet and before eating.

  1. Safe Sex

Abstinence, sticking to one sexual partner or trusted sexual partners, and the use of protection during sex can help prevent the contraction of sexually transmitted forms of Hepatitis.

  1. Use Safe Needles and Instruments

When looking to pierce your skin or get tattoos done, ensure that only safe and well-sterilised instruments are used.

  1. Consume Only Well-cooked Food and Clean Water

The water you drink and use should be well-screened for contaminants to reduce the contraction of the A and E-type viruses.

  1. Reduce Alcohol

Alcohol consumption is top on the list of causes of non-viral Hepatitis. Avoid alcohol where possible and if you must consume it, drink moderately.

Tips For Management

  • Seek proper medical care as early as possible
  • Get enough rest and sleep
  • Stay hydrated
  • Stick to your medications
  • Eat balanced and regular meals
  • Go for your routine checks


Hepatitis can be an acute and quickly resolving or a chronic and severe infection depending on the type of Hepatitis contracted. It is not gotten from things like holding hands with an infected person or kissing and it can affect people of all ages. While symptoms take time to show, see a doctor as soon as you observe any of the common signs or symptoms. With the right care, the condition can be managed and complications prevented.


  1. Better Health Channel. (May 1st, 2023). Hepatitis and the liver. Retrieved from,-Hepatitis%20means%20inflammation&text=If%20the%20liver%20doesn’t,irrespective%20of%20the%20underlying%20cause.
  1. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (July 27th, 2023). Hepatitis B Fast Facts. Retrieved from
  1. Pan American Health Organization. (n.d.). 5 things you should know about viral hepatitis. Retrieved from,and%20do%20not%20need%20treatment.
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