Difference Between Hepatitis and Jaundice


Main Difference

The main difference between hepatitis and jaundice is that hepatitis is the liver disease whereas jaundice is a sign of the increased production of bilirubin.

Hepatitis vs. Jaundice

Hepatitis has symptoms of flu, diarrhea, fatigue, loss of appetite, mild fever, muscle ache, nausea, abdominal pain, vomiting, weight loss, liver failure, dark urine, hives, light colored feces, itchy skin, yellow skin and jaundice whereas jaundice shows symptoms of yellow skin, yellow eyes, fatigue, abdominal pain, vomiting, weight loss, pale stools, and dark urine. Hepatitis has risk factors; blood transfusion, hemodialysis, mother to babies and sexual contacts whereas risk factors of jaundice are acute inflammation of the liver, inflammation of bile duct, obstruction of the bile duct, hemolytic anemia, Gilbert’s syndrome, and Cholestasis. Hepatitis has the complication of acute and subacute hepatic necrosis whereas, in jaundice, complications are scratching skin because of the intense itching, insomnia, and suicidal thoughts. Complications in jaundice occur because of underlying cause not because of jaundice itself.


Comparison Chart

Hepatitis is the inflammation or infection of liver cells mainly caused by a virus.Jaundice is a sign of increased production of a yellow pigment called bilirubin.
DiseaseSign and symptom of other diseases
Attack of hepatitis virus and damage of liver tissuesIncrease level of bilirubin pigment in the blood which ultimately effects skin and eyes
Hepatitis A, Hepatitis B, Hepatitis C, Hepatitis D, and Hepatitis EHepatocellular jaundice, Obstructive jaundice, Hemolytic Jaundice
Signs and Symptoms
All types have different symptomsNausea, malaise, fatigue, abdominal pain and jaundice
Diagnostic Tests
Gamma Glutamyl transpeptidase (GGT), Bile acids, Aspartate transaminase, lactate dehydrogenase, Prothrombin Time, AlbuminComplete blood count, Pre-hepatic/hemolytic, Post-hepatic/cholestatic, Endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography(ERCP), Bilirubin test.

What is Hepatitis?

The liver performs the function of detoxifying the blood, storage of vitamins and hormones in the body. Hepatitis disrupts its function and produces severe problems for the body. Five types of virus cause hepatitis, among them hepatitis A, B, and C are more dangerous. Hepatitis A is acute while hepatitis B and C are chronic diseases. Hepatitis A is mild, and the patient can recover from it, and after that, he will develop immunity against it. There is no cure for hepatitis B, but with the currently available vaccination, the cure rate is 95% in the USA. HCV can lead to liver damage and swelling. Around 1 in 4 people with HCV get cirrhosis and can result in liver cancer. Blood donation is now tested for HCV, but people who received organ transplants before testing became part of the donation process may be at risk. Healthcare workers who expose to sharps, users of IV drugs and infants born to mothers with HCV are high-risk groups. Following tests confirm the diagnosis: liver biopsy, paracentesis, elastography, surrogate markers, nucleic acid tests, and blood tests.

What is Jaundice?

Jaundice is the condition of hyperbilirubinemia where bilirubin level increases in the blood. In jaundice, yellowing of the skin and whiting of the eyes occur. It is also known as icterus. Bilirubin is the yellow color waste material (degradation material of hemoglobin) that remains in the body when the iron is removed from the blood. Bilirubin is insoluble in water, so it is incapable of excreting through urine. Bilirubin reaches to the liver attached with other chemicals. This type of bilirubin is called conjugated bilirubin. The liver produces bile which is a digestive juice. Conjugated bilirubin enters the bile and then leaves the body. If there is too much bilirubin in the body, then it can leak into the surrounding tissues. This is known as hyperbilirubinemia and gives the yellow color in the skin and eyes. Jaundice is of three classes based on the pathological conditions. Hepatocellular jaundice is due to liver disease. Obstructive jaundice is due to abnormalities in the biliary tract caused by stones. Hemolytic jaundice is caused due to increased hemolysis. Bilirubin level in blood is used to diagnose jaundice. Pre-hepatic/hemolytic, Hepatic/hepatocellular, Post-hepatic/cholestatic, complete blood count, ultrasound scan, MRI, hepatitis A, B, and C biopsy and endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography (ERCP) are used in severe cases to know the possibility of jaundice. Treatment of jaundice includes steroids, antiviral drugs based on the percentage of infection. Patients are treated with surgery in case of obstructive jaundice.

Key Differences

  1. Hepatitis is an inflammatory disease of liver whereas jaundice is the sign and symptom of liver disease.
  2. Hepatitis is an infection whereas jaundice is caused by the presence of a large amount of bilirubin in the blood.
  3. Hepatitis is treated according to the type of virus which causes it whereas jaundice is managed according to the percentage of bilirubin in the blood.
  4. Hepatitis A, B, C, D, and E are types of hepatitis whereas Hepatocellular Jaundice, Obstructive Jaundice, Hemolytic Jaundice are types of Jaundice.
Janet White

Janet White is a writer and blogger for Difference Wiki since 2015. She has a master's degree in science and medical journalism from Boston University. Apart from work, she enjoys exercising, reading, and spending time with her friends and family. Connect with her on Twitter @Janet__White