March 5, 2016


What Is Hepatitis?
Hepatitis refers to an inflammatory condition of the liver. It’s commonly caused by a viral infection, but there are other possible causes of hepatitis.
These include autoimmune hepatitis and hepatitis that occurs as a secondary result of medications, drugs, toxins, and alcohol. Autoimmune hepatitis is a disease that occurs when your body makes antibodies against your liver tissue.
liver is located on the right upper quadrant of your abdomen. It performs many critical functions that affect metabolism throughout your body, including:
    -bile production that’s essential to digestion
    -filtering of toxins from the body
    -excretion of bilirubin, cholesterol, hormones, and drugs
    -metabolism of carbohydrates, fats, and proteins
    -activation of enzymes, which are specialized proteins essential to metabolic functions
    -storage of glycogen, minerals, and vitamins (A, D, E, and K)
    -synthesis of plasma proteins, such as albumin
    -synthesis of clotting factors
There are so many people currently living with chronic hepatitis. Many more people don’t even know that they have it.
Viral infections of the liver that are classified as hepatitis include hepatitis A, B, C, D, and E. Hepatitis A is a milder version of the disease, and hepatitis C and D are more severe. Treatment options vary depending on what form of hepatitis you have and what caused the infection. You can prevent some forms of hepatitis through immunizations or lifestyle precautions.
The 5 Types of Viral Hepatitis
Type 1
Hepatitis A
This type derives from an infection with the hepatitis A virus (HAV). This type of hepatitis is most commonly transmitted by consuming food or water contaminated by feces from a person infected with hepatitis A.
Hepatitis B
This type derives from an infection with the hepatitis B virus (HBV). This type is transmitted through puncture wounds or contact with infectious body fluids, such as blood, saliva, or semen. Injection drug use, having sex with an infected partner, or sharing razors with an infected person increase your risk of getting hepatitis B.
Hepatitis C
This type comes from the hepatitis C virus (HCV). Hepatitis C is transmitted through direct contact with infected body fluids, typically through injection drug use and sexual contact. HCV is among the most common blood-borne viral infections in the United States.
Hepatitis D
This is also called delta hepatitis. Hepatitis D is a serious liver disease caused by the hepatitis D virus (HDV). HDV is contracted through puncture wound or contact with infected blood. Hepatitis D is a rare form of hepatitis that occurs in conjunction with hepatitis B infection.
Hepatitis E
Hepatitis E is a waterborne disease caused by the hepatitis E virus (HEV). Hepatitis E is mainly found in areas with poor sanitation and is typically caused by ingesting fecal matter.
Hepatitis A and E are normally contracted from eating contaminated food or drinking contaminated water. Hepatitis B, C, and D are contracted through contaminated blood. These forms of hepatitis can be either acute or chronic. Types B and C usually become chronic.
Causes of Nonviral Hepatitis
Causes Icon
Hepatitis can be caused by liver damage from excessive alcohol consumption. This is sometimes referred to as alcoholic hepatitis. The alcohol causes the liver to swell and become inflamed. Other toxic causes include overuse of medication or exposure to poisons.
Autoimmune Disease
The immune system may mistake the liver as a harmful object and begin to attack it, hindering liver function.
Common Symptoms of Hepatitis
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If you have forms of hepatitis that are usually chronic (hepatitis B and C), you may not have symptoms in the beginning. Symptoms may not occur until liver damage occurs.
Signs and symptoms of acute hepatitis appear quickly. They include:
    -flu-like symptoms
    -dark urine
    -pale stool
    -abdominal pain
    -loss of appetite
    -unexplained weight loss
    -yellow skin and eyes, which may be signs of jaundice
Since chronic hepatitis develops slowly, these signs and symptoms may be too subtle to notice.
How Is Hepatitis Diagnosed?
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Physical Exam
During a physical examination, your doctor may press down gently on your abdomen to see if there’s pain or tenderness. Your doctor may also feel to see if your liver is enlarged. If your skin or eyes are yellow, your doctor will note this during the exam.
Liver Biopsy
A liver biopsy is an invasive procedure that involves the doctor taking a sample of tissue from your liver. This is a closed procedure. In other words, it can be done through the skin with a needle and doesn’t require surgery. This test allows your doctor to determine if an infection or inflammation is present or if liver damage has occurred.
Liver Function Tests
Liver function tests use blood samples to determine how efficiently the liver works. These tests check how the liver clears blood waste, protein, and enzymes. High liver enzyme levels may indicate that the liver is stressed or damaged.
An abdominal ultrasound uses ultrasound waves to create an image of the organs within the abdomen. This test will reveal fluid in the abdomen, an enlarged liver, or liver damage.
Blood Tests
Blood tests used to detect the presence of hepatitis virus antibodies and antigen in the blood will indicate or confirm which virus is the cause of the hepatitis.
Viral Antibody Testing
Further viral antibody testing may be needed to determine if a specific type of the hepatitis virus is present.