Hepatitis is usually caused by a viral infection which inflames and
enlarges the liver, rendering it unable to function properly.
The result is
a build up of toxins in the body, and the lack of nutrients being processed
and stored as they should be. The symptoms of hepatitis include: abdominal
discomfort, aches and pains in the muscles and/or joints, appetite
loss, drowsiness, dark urine, flu like symptoms, jaundice (a yellowing
of the skin) and light color stool.
There are three
main types of hepatitis - A, B and C, as well as three less common
- hepatitis E, non A and non B. All are contagious and some can be
Hepatitis A is
spread through person to person contact, or by contact with food, clothing
or bed linens. It is contagious approximately one week following the
appearance of jaundice, and once it has been contracted, the individual
develops an immunity to it.
Hepatitis B is
spread through contact with infected blood (contaminated syringes,
needles, transfused blood) and some forms of sexual activity. Hepatitis
B can come and go virtually unnoticed, causing considerable damage
to the liver.
Hepatitis C is
contracted through blood transfusions, intravenous drug use, sexual
contact, and broken skin or mucous membranes.