Hepattitis

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.

Your liver is located in the right upper area of your abdomen. It performs many critical functions that affect metabolism throughout your body, including:

  • bile production, which is essential to digestion
  • filtering of toxins from your body
  • excretion of bilirubin (a product of broken-down red blood cells), cholesterol, hormones, and drugs
  • breakdown of carbohydrates, fats, and proteins
  • activation of enzymes, which are specialized proteins essential to body functions
  • storage of glycogen (a form of sugar), minerals, and vitamins (A, D, E, and K)
  • synthesis of blood proteins, such as albumin
  • synthesis of clotting factors

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), approximately 4.4 million Americans are currently living with chronic hepatitis B and C. Many more people don’t even know that they have hepatitis.

Treatment options vary depending on which type of hepatitis you have. You can prevent some forms of hepatitis through immunizations and lifestyle precautions.

The 5 types of viral hepatitis

  • Hepatitis A
  • Hepatitis B
  • Hepatitis C
  • Hepatitis D
  • Hepatitis E

Causes of noninfectious hepatitis

  • Alcohol and other toxins
  • Autoimmune system response

Common symptoms of hepatitis

If you have infectious forms of hepatitis that are chronic, like hepatitis B and C, you may not have symptoms in the beginning. Symptoms may not occur until the damage affects liver function.

Signs and symptoms of acute hepatitis appear quickly. They include:

  • fatigue
  • 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

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Other information

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