Hepatitis means inflammation of the liver. The liver is a vital glandular organ presents in the upper right part of the abdomen, it filters and detoxifies the blood. When the liver is inflamed this function can be affected. Hepatitis is most often caused by a virus. In the United States, the most common types of viral hepatitis are hepatitis A, hepatitis B, and hepatitis C. Heavy alcohol use, toxins, some medications, and certain medical conditions can also cause hepatitis.
Hepatitis A is one of several types of viruses that can cause hepatitis or inflammation of the liver. Symptoms can be mild lasting several weeks or symptoms can be more severe lasting several months. Many people infected with hepatitis A do not experience any symptoms.
Hepatitis B is caused by a virus that attacks the liver. The virus, which is called hepatitis B virus (HBV), can cause lifelong infection, cirrhosis (scarring) of the liver, liver cancer, liver failure, and death. Acute HBV infection is a short-term illness that occurs within the first 6 months after someone is exposed to the virus. Acute infection can — but does not always — lead to chronic infection. Chronic HBV infection is a long-term illness that occurs when the virus remains in a person's body.
Hepatitis C is a liver infection caused by the hepatitis C virus (HCV). It is the most common bloodborne illness in the United States, affecting more than 3 million people and is the leading cause of liver cancer and liver transplants. Once a person is infected, HCV can cause acute or chronic infection. An acute infection is a short-term illness that happens within the first six months after being exposed to the virus. During this time, many people do not show any symptoms. However, more than half of all acute infections lead to chronic infections which can have serious long-term health complications.