The viral liver disease caused by the hepatitis A virus (HAV) is known as Hepatitis A. The disease can cause mild to severe liver problems. The mild problems may lead to liver infection or inflammation and the severe infection can progress to liver cancer, fibrosis (scarring), or cirrhosis. The key reasons which lead to the Hepatitis A infection are the following:
- Consumption of contaminated water and food. Infection is also spread through infected people preparing food.
- Poor sanitation. For example, the virus spreads through infected stool (faeces).
- An un-vaccinated person is susceptible to fall prey to Hepatitis A disease easily.
- Unhygienic surroundings.
- Consumption of illegal drugs and alcohol.
- Direct contact with an infected person, for example, having sex or shaking hands.
The Hepatitis A virus is a Picornavirus and makes passage to the liver through mouth or gut within a period of two to six weeks of infection. The virus starts reproducing itself in the hepatocytes and Kupfer liver cells and these spread the viral infection in the body. The duplicate replication of liver cells causes interference with the liver function leading to liver inflammation, swelling, and scarring. Although people usually recover from the disease without any severe or lifelong damage to the liver, however, lack of proper treatment can cause serious complications or lead to fatalities.
Hepatitis A symptoms:
There are two phases of Hepatitis A, acute phase and fulminant. If the person doesn’t receive right treatment in the acute phase, the symptoms developed during the acute phase may progress into the fulminant phase leading to death. Usually, people infected from Hepatitis A experience mild or no symptoms in the first few weeks of infection and can mistake it for a normal viral infection. Such a situation is dangerous in this disease as the person infected is unaware of it and under ignorance spread the virus amongst others.
The common symptoms of acute phase are as follows:
- Cold and flu
- Diarrhoea in young children
- Pale stool
- Ache in the right side of the abdomen
- Pain in liver area
- Dark brown urine
- Fatigue and weakness
- Loss of appetite
Symptoms observed during fulminant phase-
- Amplified spleen as observed in alcoholics
- Dizziness, drowsiness, and headache observed in drug addicts
Diagnosis & Treatment
Hepatitis A is easily diagnosed through blood tests and is easily cured in most of the cases with the help of appropriate medical treatment. Doctors prescribe certain medicine intake for a certain period of time for reducing and gradually diminishing the symptoms. However, it is recommended to-
- Take adequate rest
- Maintain a healthy diet including short meals to avoid dizziness and vomiting.
- Avoid alcohol and illegal drugs
4.Consult the doctor for the appropriate treatment like medicines and vaccination.
You may also visit the below page for more information on the disease and its prevention.