Hepatitis

Reviewed: June 04, 2015
By eHealthIQ
Hepatitis

Your liver detoxifies harmful substances in your blood. It also produces nutrients for your body. It’s the largest gland and internal organ in your body. Hepatitis is characterized by inflammation of the tissue of the liver. An onset of hepatitis might run its course, subside and heal, or it can kill. It’s the most common liver disorder in existence.

Overview and Facts

If you have a weakened immune system or weakened liver, you’re more likely to develop hepatitis. Acute hepatitis will last less than six months. Chronic hepatitis will last longer. It can continue on for decades. Chronic hepatitis can develop into cirrhosis which is later stage scarring of the liver tissue. Any scarring of your liver tissue will be permanent. That damage can only be managed. Should more and more scar tissue continue to build up, your liver function will continue to decrease.

Signs and Symptoms

One of the first symptoms of acute hepatitis is loss of appetite and very dark urine. Nausea and vomiting might begin sometime after this. Extreme fatigue and weakness are also common. Jaundice that results in yellowing of the skin sets in after about a week or 10 days after being symptomatic. It will be particularly noticeable around the whites of your eyes. It’s caused from bilirubin accumulation in the tissue of your body as a result of liver damage.

Causes and Diagnosis

There are five forms of hepatitis that are categorized from A to E. The most common form is hepatitis B. Hepatitis A and E are ordinarily transmitted through contaminated drinking water and unsanitary conditions. Hepatitis B and C are commonly transmitted by contact with body fluids like blood and semen. They’re often passed by intravenous drug users sharing dirty needles or unsanitary tattoo equipment. Hepatitis D only results from hepatitis B. Any form of hepatitis is usually diagnosed through a blood test the determines liver enzyme levels and the existence of any antibodies. The antibodies are what fight the hepatitis.

Tests and Treatments

Should blood tests be inconclusive, images of your liver might be obtained through ultrasound. Liver biopsies might also be used for purposes of examining the liver’s tissue for signs of fibrosis or cirrhosis. Bed rest and alcohol abstinence are fundamental to recovery from hepatitis. You should also stay away from acetaminophen. Antiviral medications are available that can inhibit the ability of the virus to damage the liver.

Tips and Home Remedies

Optimize a sanitized home environment to reduce the chances of the disease spreading. Eat small but nutritious meals during the day. Avoid fatty foods, alcohol and drugs. Drinking plenty of fluids will help avoid dehydration. Broths and juices are highly recommended because they also provide nutrients. Exercise when possible, but avoid prolonged exercise sessions. Although dietary supplements won’t cure hepatitis, you might want to take them to try to avoid symptoms of the disease. Milk thistle is believed to inhibit the inflammation that can damage your liver. Curcumin is also believed to be of help in reducing liver inflammation, but stay away from it if you’re taking any blood thinners. Vitamins D and B12 might help milk thistle and curcumin work better.

At the first sign of hepatitis, see your doctor. Blood testing to diagnose hepatitis is simple and inexpensive. Until you get the results of blood tests, take careful and diligent sanitary precautions and refrain from any sexual activity. If indeed you’re diagnosed with hepatitis, continue with high sanitation standards around you and have your condition monitored by your doctor.

Sources: http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/cirrhosis/basics/definition/con-20031617
http://www.webmd.com/hepatititis/hepa-guide/understanding-hepatitis-treatment
http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/145869.php#what_is_the_liver

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