The liver is part of the most important organs in our entire body, due to all the functions it performs constantly. The liver is the organ in charge of assimilating all the blood that comes from the stomach and intestine to transform all toxins, medications, drugs and nutrients into different compounds, so that the body assimilates or expels them in an easier and faster way.

The liver is also responsible for the synthesis of bile, which is a substance that is housed in the gallbladder, this is responsible for facilitating the digestion and assimilation of fats. When the liver becomes swollen (hepatitis) all its functions are compromised.

The hepatitis is an inflammation of the liver causes which may vary, the most common are listed below.

What Causes Hepatitis?

Causes of hepatitis could include:

  • Virus infections
  • Bacterial infections.
  • Parasitic infections.
  • Trauma
  • Cystic fibrosis
  • Wilson’s disease.
  • Disruption of the normal blood supply to the liver.
  • Autoimmunity disorders.
  • Presence of drugs and toxins in the body.

There are other causes of hepatitis which medicine has not been able to identify, unfortunately the number of patients for whom medicine is not able to identify the cause of hepatitis is not low at all.

The different causes of hepatitis are also divided into 3 categories, which are:

  • Toxic agents or drugs.
  • Live agents.
  • Unknown

How to treat hepatitis?

Also, there are several types of hepatitis and each one is treated differently such as:

Hepatitis A:

It is produced by the hepatitis A virus (or HAV). This virus can be contracted by ingesting water and food that has been contaminated by fecal agents containing the virus. It is also spread from person to person, especially when hygiene is poor.

The symptoms of hepatitis A are:

  • Jaundice (yellow skin),
  • Lack of appetite.
  • Sickness.
  • Vomiting
  • Dark colored urine.

Usually these symptoms are very mild and sometimes they can even go undiagnosed, especially when we talk about children, since in adults the symptoms are a little stronger. In addition, hepatitis A does not progress or permanently damage the liver, however it can sometimes become complicated and become fulminant hepatitis , whose main characteristic, as its name indicates, is to be fatal.

Hepatitis A usually disappears on its own after weeks, however there are certain ideal care to take such as rehydration and rest . The best way to prevent hepatitis A is with hepatitis vaccines.

Hepatitis B:

Hepatitis B or serum is contracted thanks to the hepatitis B virus (HBV). This disease is spread by infected body fluids, such as blood, saliva, semen, urine, or tears.

The symptoms of hepatitis B are:

  • Abdominal pain.
  • Fatigue.
  • Loss of appetite
  • Sickness.
  • Abdominal fluid.
  • Jaundice (yellow skin)
  • Dark urine

If hepatitis B evolves or tends to become chronic, it is considered acute hepatitis when the disease is cured before 6 months and chronic if the virus remains in the body after that time.

Antivirals are usually prescribed to treat hepatitis B and the hepatitis B vaccine to prevent it.

Hepatitis C:

Hepatitis C is contracted directly through the blood where the virus is housed, this can happen through infected needles, blood transfusions through hemodialysis, through childbirth where the mother infects it to the baby.

The symptoms of hepatitis C are:

  • Abdominal pain.
  • Fever.
  • Jaundice (yellow skin)
  • Tiredness, lethargy
  • Loss of appetite
  • Weightloss.

It is very easy for hepatitis C to become chronic, since it can remain without symptoms until such time as it causes cirrhosis or liver cancer.

Treatment depending on the case can be antiviral or liver transplant surgery.

The hepatitis D:

It is the most serious of all hepatitis, since it is spread in the same way as hepatitis B, so if a patient has hepatitis D they also have hepatitis B.

The symptoms are the same but a little more acute.

This type of hepatitis has a tendency to be chronic, since it has both hepatitis at the same time, therefore it tends to cause cirrhosis and liver cancer over the years.

Treatment depending on the case can be antiviral or liver transplant surgery.

  • Autoimmune hepatitis:

It is a disease whose origin is unknown, it occurs mostly in women. Autoimmune cells in the liver do not recognize liver cells and destroy them.

Its symptoms are the same and the treatment according to the patient is immunosuppressants and steroids.

  • Hepatitis of toxic origin:

The excess of drugs in the body produces the alteration of the cytochrome P-450 enzyme, this prevents the drugs from being digested and causes swelling.

The symptoms are the same and the treatment is depending on the case to suspend the intake of said toxin or liver transplant.

By Dr. Eric Jackson

Dr. Eric Jackson provides primary Internal Medicine care for men and women and treats patients with bone and mineral diseases, diabetes, heart conditions, and other chronic illnesses.He is a Washington University Bone Health Program physician and is a certified Bone Densitometrist. Dr. Avery is consistently recognized in "The Best Doctors in America" list.

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