Hepatitis: Education & Awareness


Hepatitis is a serious health threat and is a leading cause of liver cancer. The liver is a vital organ for removing toxins from the blood, storing vitamins, and fighting infections. When the liver is inflamed or damaged, its function can be affected.  Hepatitis viruses are the most common cause of hepatitis but other infections, toxic substances such as alcohol, certain drugs, and autoimmune diseases can also cause hepatitis. However, in most cases, people with hepatitis have no symptoms of the disease as it is said to be called a silent disease.

In this article, we will discuss different kinds of hepatitis, its symptoms, treatments, and outlooks with Dr. Ajeet Lohana – a Gastroenterologist.

What is Hepatitis?

Hepatitis is inflammation of the liver. It can be both infectious (i.e., viruses and parasites) and non-infectious (e.g., alcohol, certain drugs, autoimmune diseases, and metabolic diseases).

Hepatitis has mainly two types:

▪ Acute hepatitis: Short-term, starts suddenly and lasts a few weeks.

▪ Chronic hepatitis: Long-term and lasts for months or years.

If someone is living with a chronic form of hepatitis, like hepatitis B and C, they may not show symptoms until the damage affects liver function. By contrast, people with acute hepatitis may present with symptoms shortly after contracting the hepatitis virus.

Kinds of Hepatitis

Dr. Lohana says, “There are five viruses that cause the different forms of viral hepatitis: hepatitis A, B, C, D and E. Hepatitis A and E are not harmful, the rest like hepatitis B, C and D are deadly viruses and can further complications and may lead to death.”

The five main classifications of viral hepatitis are given below in detail:

Hepatitis A

Hepatitis A is the result of an infection with the hepatitis A virus (HAV). This type of hepatitis is an acute, short-term disease. It is mostly a foodborne illness and can be spread through contaminated water. It is the easiest to transmit but is also the least likely to damage the liver and is completely resolved within six months.

Hepatitis B

The hepatitis B virus (HBV) causes hepatitis B. This is often an ongoing, chronic condition. Hepatitis B can be transmitted through exposure to contaminated blood, needles, syringes or bodily fluids and from mother to baby. It is a chronic disorder and, in some cases, may lead to long-term liver damage, liver cancer and cirrhosis of the liver after many years of carrying the virus.

Hepatitis C

Hepatitis C comes from the hepatitis C virus (HCV). Hepatitis C is only transmitted through infected blood or from mother to newborn during childbirth. It too can lead to liver cancer and cirrhosis in the long term.

Hepatitis D

This is a rare form of hepatitis that only occurs in conjunction with hepatitis B infection. The hepatitis D virus (HDV) causes liver inflammation like other strains, but a person cannot contract HDV without an existing hepatitis B infection.

Hepatitis E

Hepatitis E is a waterborne disease that results from exposure to the hepatitis E virus (HEV). Hepatitis E is usually acute but can be particularly dangerous in pregnant women.

One more important type is autoimmune hepatitis which is liver inflammation that occurs when the body's immune system turns against liver cells. 


Different types of hepatitis have different causes:

▪ Hepatitis A: exposure to HAV in food or water;

▪ Hepatitis B: Contact with HBV in body fluids, such as blood, vaginal secretions, or semen;

▪ Hepatitis C: Contact with HCV in body fluids, such as blood, vaginal secretions, or semen;

▪ Hepatitis D: Contact with blood containing HDV;

▪ Hepatitis E: Exposure to HEV in food or water.


According to Dr. Lohana, “Viral hepatitis is known as a silent killer because patients often experience no obvious symptoms until the infection causes serious health complications.” Many people with hepatitis A, B, C, D or E exhibit only mild symptoms or no symptoms at all. Each form of the virus, however, can cause more severe symptoms.

Common symptoms of hepatitis include:

▪ Fever

▪ Fatigue

▪ Loss of appetite

▪ Nausea and/or vomiting

▪ Abdominal pain

▪ Dark urine

▪ Lightly coloured stools

▪ Joint pain

▪ Jaundice, yellowing of your skin and eyes

▪ Malaise

▪ Unexplained weight loss

▪ Anemia


For the diagnosis, the doctor may ask the patient about the symptoms, and medical history, and conduct a physical exam and some blood tests. He might do imaging tests, such as an ultrasound, CT scan, or MRI. In some cases, may need to do a liver biopsy to confirm suspected inflammation when other tests are inconclusive and to determine the exact degree of liver damage.


There is no cure for hepatitis once it occurs. Treatment focuses on preventing further damage to the liver, reversing existing damage if possible and symptom relief. Most cases of acute hepatitis will resolve over time. In autoimmune hepatitis, certain medications may be used to help keep the overactive immune system in check and prevent further attacks on the liver.

Treatment options will vary by the type of hepatitis and whether the infection is acute or chronic. There are different medicines to treat the different chronic types of hepatitis. Possible other treatments may include surgery and other medical procedures. If chronic hepatitis leads to liver failure or liver cancer, there might be a need for a liver transplant.

Hepatitis A

Hepatitis A is a short-term illness and may not require treatment. However, if symptoms cause a great deal of discomfort, bed rest may be necessary.

Hepatitis B

There is no specific treatment program for acute hepatitis B. However, if you have chronic hepatitis B, you will antiviral medications. This form of treatment may continue for several months or years.

Hepatitis C

Antiviral medications can treat both acute and chronic forms of hepatitis C. Typically, people who develop chronic hepatitis C will use a combination of antiviral drug therapies.

Hepatitis D

There is no specific treatment for acute hepatitis D, but chronic hepatitis D may be treated with a specific drug. However, the medication can have severe side effects.

Hepatitis E

Currently, no specific medical therapies are available to treat hepatitis E. Because the infection is often acute, it typically resolves on its own. Doctors will typically advise people with this infection to get adequate rest, drink plenty of fluids, get enough nutrients, and avoid alcohol. However, pregnant women who develop this infection require close monitoring and care.


There are different ways to prevent or lower the risk of hepatitis, depending on the type of hepatitis. There are vaccines to prevent hepatitis A and B. Vaccination against hepatitis B can also prevent hepatitis D. Minimizing the risk of exposure to substances containing these viruses can also be an important preventive measure. There are currently no vaccines for hepatitis C or E.

The risk of virus contraction can be reduced by:

▪ not sharing needles

▪ not sharing personal items

▪ not touching spilt blood

▪ avoid unscreened blood transfusion

▪ avoid unprotected sex  


Complications are easiest to treat when found early. Chronic hepatitis B or C can lead to more severe health problems. Because the virus affects the liver, people with chronic hepatitis B or C are at risk of:

• chronic liver disease

• cirrhosis (scarring of the liver)

• liver cancer

When the liver stops functioning normally, liver failure can occur.


Having good personal hygiene habits is the key to preventing the spread of the disease. Check with the doctor before taking any medications and keep the appointments for regular monitoring. Most importantly, after treatment make sure to stick with the healthy habits the doctor has instructed.

To book an appointment with Gastroenterologist – Dr. Ajeet Lohana at the Shifaam Online Clinic, click www.shifaam.com, download the Shifaam Health App or call us at 021-37132273. You can also message us on WhatsApp: 0347-7222273. 

Visit our Paeds Neurology Clinic in collaboration with Hashmanis Medical Centre on Main Shaheed e Millat Road, Karachi for any Pediatric Neurology concerns. 

For emotional support on Childhood Epilepsy, press on the link https://m.facebook.com/groups/792360684792617/ to join our Childhood Epilepsy Support Group on Facebook. 

Tune in to https://www.facebook.com/shifaamcares for weekly awareness sessions on various health-related topics.

If you or someone you know suspects any symptoms of hepatitis or believe that you have been exposed to hepatitis A, B, or C, schedule an appointment with your doctor right away. For more information on Gastroenterologists in Karachi or an appointment with experienced doctors contact shifaam today and click on the links below:




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