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Your liver is the largest organ inside your body. It helps your body digest food, store energy, and remove poisons. Hepatitis is an inflammation of the liver.

Viruses cause most cases of hepatitis. The type of hepatitis is named for the virus that causes it; for example, hepatitis A, hepatitis B or hepatitis C. Drug or alcohol use can also cause hepatitis. In other cases, your body mistakenly attacks healthy cells in the liver.

Some people who have hepatitis have no symptoms. Others may have

  • Loss of appetite
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Dark-colored urine and pale bowel movements
  • Stomach pain
  • Jaundice, yellowing of skin and eyes

Some forms of hepatitis are mild, and others can be serious. Some can lead to scarring, called cirrhosis, or to liver cancer.

Sometimes hepatitis goes away by itself. If it does not, it can be treated with drugs. Sometimes hepatitis lasts a lifetime. Vaccines can help prevent some viral forms.

Symptoms of Hepatitis

The following features are indicative of Hepatitis:
  • loss of appetite
  • nausea
  • vomiting
  • diarrhea
  • dark-colored urine
  • pale bowel movements
  • stomach pain
  • jaundice
  • yellowing of skin and eyes
It is possible that Hepatitis shows no physical symptoms and still be present in a patient.
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Common Causes of Hepatitis

The following are the most common causes of Hepatitis:
  • excessive alcohol consumption
  • use of drugs such as paracetamol, antibiotics, steroids
  • hepatitis virus
  • exposure to industrial toxins like carbon tetrachloride

Risk Factors for Hepatitis

The following factors may increase the likelihood of Hepatitis:
  • excessive alcohol intake
  • patients with poor sanitary habits
  • patients with liver disease
  • illicit drug users
  • travelers to endemic regions
  • men who have sex with men
  • patients with clotting disorders
  • intravenous drug users
  • organ transplant patients
  • dialysis patients
  • persons infected with HIV

Prevention of Hepatitis

Yes, it may be possible to prevent Hepatitis. Prevention may be possible by doing the following:
  • use clean and boiled water to drink
  • get vaccinated against hepatitis
  • proper handling of sewage
  • carefully screen blood prior to transfusion
  • abstaining from the use of injection drugs
  • avoid alcohol consumption

Occurrence of Hepatitis

Number of Cases

The following are the number of Hepatitis cases seen each year worldwide:
  • Very common > 10 Million cases

Common Age Group

Hepatitis can occur at any age.

Common Gender

Hepatitis can occur in any gender.

Lab Tests and Procedures for Diagnosis of Hepatitis

The following lab tests and procedures are used to detect Hepatitis:
  • Alanine aminotransferase test: To detect liver injury
  • Aspartate aminotransferase test: To detect the liver damage
  • Liver panel: To screen for liver damage
  • Blood test: To diagnose the bood for hepatitis infection

Doctor for Diagnosis of Hepatitis

Patients should visit the following specialists if they have symptoms of Hepatitis:
  • Gastroenterologist
  • Infectious disease specialist

Complications of Hepatitis if untreated

Yes, Hepatitis causes complications if it is not treated. Below is the list of complications and problems that may arise if Hepatitis is left untreated:
  • cirrhosis
  • liver cancer

Procedures for Treatment of Hepatitis

The following procedures are used to treat Hepatitis:
  • Liver transplant: Helps in treating hepatitis

Self-care for Hepatitis

The following self-care actions or lifestyle changes may help in the treatment or management of Hepatitis:
  • Avoid sharing personal items: Helps in preventing the spread of hepatitis from one person to another
  • Maintain adequate nutrition: Helps in preventing hepatitis
  • Do rest: Helps in coping with the signs and symptoms of hepatitis
  • Wash hands thoroughly: Wash hands after using the toilet to lower the risk of passing hepatitis to others
  • Avoid alcohol consumption: Helps in preventing hepatitis and cirrhosis

Patient Support for Treatment of Hepatitis

The following actions may help Hepatitis patients:
  • Join support groups: Helps you learn about the latest treatments and coping with the disease

Time for Treatment of Hepatitis

While time-period of treatment for each patient may vary, below is the typical time-period for Hepatitis to resolve if treated properly under an expert supervision:
  • More than 1 year

Is Hepatitis Infectious?

Yes, Hepatitis is known to be infectious. It can spread across people via the following means:
  • contaminated food and water
  • by infected blood during needle sharing in intravenous drug users
  • from hepatitis infected mother to fetus
  • by oral-fecal route

Last updated date

This page was last updated on 2/25/2019.
This page provides information for Hepatitis.

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