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Hepatitis is an inflammation of the liver that can lead to scarring, cirrhosis and cancer. Viruses mainly cause hepatitis, though the disease is a consequence of alcohol or drug abuse, other infections, and autoimmune diseases. More than four million Americans have hepatitis, although most do not know it.
Each type of hepatitis causes acute infections, which are often short-lived and successfully treated. Viruses B and C can progress to chronic hepatitis infections that are far more damaging to the liver. Here are descriptions of the five types, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention:
Hepatitis often goes unrecognized. However, when detected early, it can be treated. Be sure to contact your doctor if you experience the following symptoms noted on WebMD:
Immunizations help prevent hepatitis and are available for types A and B. Prevention techniques such as proper hand washing, avoiding used needles and safe sex also greatly reduce the risk and spread of hepatitis.
To find out where you can get tested, visit ACCESS' website here.