The liver is a digestive organ that helps the digestive system to do its functions. The principal function of the liver is the clearance and detoxification of blood and bile production. It helps in the breakdown of food into energy (metabolism). The liver is not only a dignified power that clears the blood from toxins and harmful substances but also synthesizes vital substances. It acts as a cheap recycling system.
Hepatitis is an inflammation of the liver in which the liver may become enlarged in size. Hepatitis may be infectious or non-infectious.
Infectious: viral or non-viral
- Viral: hepatitis A, B, C, D, and E / cytomegalovirus
- Non-viral: malaria, leptospirosis, brucellosis
Non-infectious: alcohol, Halothane, paracetamol, and isoniazid
Also, hepatitis may be due to an autoimmune disorder in which your immune system can’t differentiate between diseased cells or harmful invaders and healthy liver cells.
Hepatitis may be acute or chronic. Acute hepatitis develops within six months, and chronic hepatitis develops within more than six months.
Diseases that affect the liver produce symptoms, but in the early stage, they may pass asymptomatic. The clinical presentation of hepatitis may include any of the following:
- Fatigue, nausea, and vomiting
- Poor appetite, pallor, malaise, and abdominal pain
- Itchy skin and dark urine
- Jaundice (yellowish discoloration of the skin and the sclera of the eyes)
Diagnosis of liver inflammation depends on your medical history of any disease affecting the liver. Investigations like laboratory tests and procedures could determine the diagnosis and define the cause. Blood tests, ultrasound, CT scan, and MRI allow your doctor to get a good view of the liver. Your doctor may need to perform a liver biopsy to confirm the diagnosis, reveal the cause, and assess the prognosis.
Once your doctor gets the cause, he will put a management plan. The choice of drugs depends on the type and cause of your hepatitis.
You should diagnose and treat hepatitis as early as possible to control liver damage. If uncontrolled, it will lead to complications, such as portal hypertension, liver fibrosis, liver cirrhosis, and hepatic encephalopathy.
Treatment of acute hepatitis requires rest, healthy Diet, and symptomatic treatment, while treatment of chronic hepatitis requires the following:
- Reassurance and follow up every six months (chronic persistent hepatitis)
- Medical treatment such as Interferons and Prednisolone (chronic active hepatitis)
- Liver transplantation is when the liver fails to maintain its functions despite the previous treatments.
There are general methods that help to prevent hepatitis:
- Hygienic measures
- Supervision of blood supply
- Vaccine, especially for medical staff, hemodialysis patients, hemophiliacs, and contacts of HBV patients.
You can control hepatitis by avoiding contact with the body fluids of an infected patient. Also, you should avoid contact with used needles and limit travel in places with no sanitation.
Live healthily and keep your liver. Let’s discuss this topic in detail!
What does liver inflammation mean, what are the risk factors and causes?
Liver inflammation is a reaction that occurs when microbes or substances attack the liver cells. The liver cells lose their histological characters.
Many risk factors cause liver inflammation, but not all people with risk factors get liver inflammation. Risk factors include:
- Alcohol abuse
- Contact with utensils, needles, clothing, and bedding used by an infected person.
- Frequent blood transfusion
- Contact with blood or body fluids of an infected person
- Unprotected sex with an infected person
- Travel to places with a lack of sanitation
Hepatitis may be infectious or non-infectious. Infectious hepatitis as in viral hepatitis, malaria, leptospirosis, and brucellosis. Non-infectious hepatitis as in alcohol, isoniazid, and paracetamol.
Causes of liver inflammation are
1. Viral hepatitis; hepatitis A, B, C, D, and E
- Hepatitis A: by hepatitis A virus due to consumption of contaminated food and drink
- Hepatitis B: by hepatitis B virus due to contact with the blood and body fluids of an infected person
- Hepatitis C: It is the most common type. It occurs due to blood-to-blood contact with an infected person.
- Hepatitis D: It only affects hepatitis B patients, as it needs the hepatitis B virus to survive inside the body.
- Hepatitis E: It occurs due to the consumption of infected uncooked pork meat.
2. Drinking an excessive amount of alcohol causes alcoholic hepatitis
5. Decreased blood flow to the liver due to any cause
6. Drugs (such as paracetamol) or toxins
7. Wilson’s disease (increased copper deposition in the body)
8. Hemochromatosis (increased amount of iron inside the body)
9. Obstructive jaundice
10. Fatty liver