What are the Different Types of Hepatitis?

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  • Written By: wiseGEEK Writer
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  • Last Modified Date: 01 August 2018
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There are five different types of hepatitis, labeled Hep A, B, C, D and E. Each type has slightly different symptoms, and most types can be treated successfully. Hepatitis C, however, can cause lifelong illness and extreme damage to the liver. Teachers and medical workers are at increased risk of contracting most forms of this disease through exposure to blood or bodily fluids in their work settings.

Hepatitis A is usually contracted through sharing food or water with an infected person. It may also be contracted through sexual contact or contact with body fluids, like infected blood or urine. Most people who contract this form completely recover, though the condition can make people very ill. Like all other forms of hepatitis, Hep A causes inflammation of the liver.

The treatment for Hep A is usually rest, and it may take as long as six months to fully recover. Initial symptoms are fever, aches and exhaustion, which can persist for several months. During this time, the person with hepatitis is contagious and can pass the illness to others, through the above listed means of transmission.


Hepatitis B (HBV) is transmitted sexually, or through contact with an infected person’s body fluids. It is a serious disease, and the virus that causes it can remain in the system for life. The virus causes the liver to become inflamed, and can result in permanent liver damage. Since a cure has not been found, most children now receive a hepatitis B vaccination that protects them from this disease.

The most serious type is hepatitis C, which causes lifelong illness and significant liver damage. This virus is transmitted through contact with infected blood. Hep C is more of an autoimmune disease, and causes increasing damage to the liver as well as gradual exhaustion. Though some people are now living with hepatitis C and doing better than initially expected, it is still a very dangerous illness. Safe sex practices and avoiding needle sharing are good ways to avoid contracting this disease.

People can only get hepatitis D if they already have Hep B. This virus can cause swelling of the liver, and it is usually contracted through unsafe sex or needle sharing. Since Hep B may have already damaged the liver, hepatitis D can, in worst case scenarios, lead to death since it can result in additional damage to the liver. The disease can be completely avoided with the HBV vaccination.

Hepatitis E is not common in developed countries. It is usually contracted by drinking water contaminated by the virus in developing nations. The disease causes liver swelling, but those who get it tend to make a complete recovery.

All forms of hepatitis are serious and can impact a person’s life. A case of Hep A, for example, might mean months of being unable to work or go to school. Hep C or Hep D can mean serious complications and damage to the liver. People can avoiding these illnesses or significantly reduce their risk of contracting them by avoiding contact with bodily fluids, abstaining or practicing safer sex and by not sharing food. When visiting poorer countries, travelers should drink bottled water and avoid sexual contact with local people.


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Post 5

I heard on the news last night (globalbc in western Canada) that there might be a cure for Hep C in the U.S. I'm not 100 percent, but its about to be approved there. Hopefully its true. I don't have Hepatitis but I feel for all those living with it. At least this means they are trying at any rate to cure it.

Post 3

Sneakers41 - I wanted to add that I recently read that over 160 million people around the world are infected with Hepatitis C.

The symptoms of Hepatitis include aches and pains and flu like symptoms. It also includes fatigue and loss of appetite.

Usually hepatitis transmission involves either a blood transfusion of tainted blood, sharing infected needles that go along with drug use, and protected sex. It can also be transmitted through unsterilized equipment at a dental practice or an infected needle at a tattoo palor.

This disease in more prevalent in developing countries that don’t have proper sterilization measures in place in their medical facilities.

Countries like Egypt, Bolivia, Tanzania, and Cameroon have the highest incidences of Hepatitis C. Over 10% of the population in these countries have people infected with Hepatitis C.

Post 2

Bxgirl – I am sorry to hear about your diagnosis but at least you know what it is so you can treat it.

Usually, in terms of Hepatitis C treatment, the doctor will confirm the diagnosis by determining the HCV levels in the blood. After it is confirmed you are given medication to fight this infection.

The medication can cause headaches, some fatigue or even fever. It may also cause depression.

In addition, the doctor will probably recommend a vaccine against Hepatitis A and Hepatitis B because contraction of those diseases will worsen your condition.

Your doctor will probably advise you to avoid alcohol and medication that inflame the liver. Many products like Tylenol fall into this

category and should be avoided so that further liver damage does not occur.

Hepatitis C is a form of viral hepatitis that can spread so you want to take precautions so that you don’t infect others. I hope that helps you.

Don’t be afraid of the treatment at least you have something that is treatable and will get better with care.

Post 1

i have hep c genotype 2, I'm 54 years old and female. I'm just wondering how the treatment is. I'm very scared of treatment but i do know i need it. Help please! Does the treatment really have bad side effects on everyone? Does the treatment work well on genotype 2 with mild fib? Thanks all.

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