Hepatitis: Causes & types

Hepatitis is a condition that affects the liver. If a person has hepatitis, their liver may be inflamed or damaged.


What causes hepatitis?

Many different things can cause hepatitis. They include:

•  A virus

•  Contaminated objects like needles or medical equipment

•  Heavy alcohol use

•  Certain medications

•  Some medical conditions


Different types of hepatitis

Hepatitis A:

•  Is spread through contaminated food, drinks or objects.

•  Can make you sick for weeks or months, but most people recover.

•  Can be prevented with a vaccine.


Hepatitis B:

•  Is spread through blood, semen or other body fluids.

•  Can spread through sex, sharing personal items or sharing needles.

•  Can cause long-term liver problems like liver failure and cancer.

•  Can be prevented with a vaccine.


Hepatitis C:

•  Is spread through blood.

•  Can spread when people share needles or other equipment.

•  Causes long-term infection in about half of all cases.

•  Can cause cirrhosis (scarring) of the liver.

•  More than 90 percent of people can be cured with proper medical treatment – new treatment has very few side effects.


Ask your doctor about hepatitis

Many people may have hepatitis and don’t know it. You may not have any symptoms at first. That’s why it’s important to talk to your doctor. They can find out if you need a vaccine or if you should get tested for hepatitis. Proper medical care can help prevent, treat or cure this disease.

This website is not meant to substitute for expert medical advice or treatment. Follow your doctor’s or health care provider’s advice if it differs from what is given in this guide.


The American Institute for Preventive Medicine (AIPM) is not responsible for the availability or content of external sites, nor does AIPM endorse them. Also, it is the responsibility of the user to examine the copyright and licensing restrictions of external pages and to secure all necessary permission.


The content on this website is proprietary. You may not modify, copy, reproduce, republish, upload, post, transmit, or distribute, in any manner, the material on the website without the written permission of AIPM.