Hepatitis may be referred to as the particular condition of the liver that suffers from inflammation. The inflammatory cells in the liver tissue and destroyed liver cells are behind this problem. Viruses like Epstein-Barr virus that attack the liver cells are also responsible for Hepatitis.
Types – Hepatitis may be classified into two categories depending upon its duration. Those suffering from the problem for less than six months are said to be affected with Acute Hepatitis. It this problem lasts beyond six months, it is known as Chronic Hepatitis.
Causes – Bacterial and amoebic infections, diseases including cytomegalovirus & glandular fever and Hepatitis A/B/C/D/E are the major reasons of Acute Hepatitis. Alcohol, fungal toxins and halothane or paracetamol may also result in this problem.
Diseases including haemochromatosis and Wilson’s disease are usually responsible for chronic hepatitis that may be caused due to drug reactions or hepatitis B/C/D too. Alcohol may also be its reason. Autoimmune hepatitis, i.e. destruction of liver cells due to own immune system may also be behind Chronic Hepatitis.
Symptoms – Those suffering from acute hepatitis are usually seen with mild fever, general malaise and tiredness in the early stages. They suffer from reduced appetite, nausea, pain due to enlarged liver, skin rash, painful joints and muscles etc. when the patients suffer from jaundiced phase. Dark urine, light colored stools and yellowing of the eyes are common
Patients in the chronic phase of Hepatitis may suffer from small scars in the liver. Severity of these scars may result in difficult functioning of the liver. Those affected with Chronic Hepatitis may show symptoms of liver cancer or cirrhosis, the dangerous phases.
Patients affected with jaundice or hereditary problems of the problem in their families are prone to have hepatitis. Jaundice, the yellow color in the eyes, mucus membranes or the skin coming from bilirubin is a symptom of liver problems. Jaundice may occur because of damaged or overloaded liver. Liver infections from Hepatitis A/B/C/D/E are also responsible for Jaundice. Blood disorders and pancreas cancer are also behind this problem.
Diagnosis – The Hepatitis patients may have to undergo blood tests, ultrasound or liver scans. Liver biopsy may also be suggested for certain patients. The local anesthetic usually conducts this procedure that involves a small liver piece for examining with the help of microscope.
Treatment – The doctors usually suggest the patients to take antiviral agents including interferon alfa for chronic hepatitis B. Those suffering from Hepatitis C are advised to take ribavirin (tribavirin) and interferon alfa that give sufficient relief. Use of corticosteroids is suggested for autoimmune hepatitis that can be treated well.
People affected with this disease are advised to stay away from infectious hepatitis viruses. Vaccinations are also useful to say NO to the problem. Hepatitis patients should take balanced diets. Junk or spicy foods should be avoided. Fruits, vegetables and fluids are much helpful. Taking sufficient water helps to remove toxins. Abstinence from tobacco and alcohol is good as these habits aggravate the problem to great extent.