What is Hepatitis? Hepatitis is inflammation of your liver. Hepatitis is usually an acute infection of the liver caused by viruses or bacteria. The infection spreads throughout the body and may last several weeks to months before it is clear.
The cause of hepatitis is usually one of a number of virus infections. Hepatitis often affects people who have poor diets and low immunity, such as infants and children, people with HIV/AIDS, people with compromised immune systems such as sufferers of cancer, and those on dialysis. Hepatitis also can be spread through exposure to infected blood. Hepatitis spreads mostly through the blood-to-blood contact, which can be achieved through transfusions and blood donations. It can also be transmitted by using needles and syringes.
In the acute stage of hepatitis, symptoms of inflammation and pain in the abdomen can be very similar to those of jaundice. Fatigue and weight loss may accompany the jaundice-like symptoms. Other symptoms of acute hepatitis include dark urine, usually due to dehydration, yellow discoloration of skin and eyes (jaundice), and high fever. Severe and prolonged infection can lead to liver disease (thickening of the walls of the blood vessels) and death. A chronic infection often goes untreated and may include symptoms similar to those of hepatitis.
Testing for Chronic Hepatitis involves a blood test that measures HCV (human cholesterol, Viral Hepatitis Virus) level, along with several other parameters. Some of these parameters are antibody titre to HCV, CT (computerized variable precipitation), and liver function tests. Sometimes, a biopsy of a small part of the heart or kidneys may reveal the presence of Chronic Hepatitis. The conclusive diagnosis is obtained through conclusive microscopic analysis of patients’ liver tissue.
Viral hepatitis is a form of chronic hepatitis. Persons with viral hepatitis may exhibit no symptoms or only very mild symptoms. In advanced stages of viral hepatitis, patients may experience severe fatigue, loss of appetite, nausea and vomiting, diarrhea, or even jaundice. Viral hepatitis can spread through bodily fluids, such as blood, vaginal fluids, semen, and breast milk.
Some persons may have symptoms of both acute and chronic Hepatitis at the same time. Such persons should be tested for both Hepatitis. Viral hepatitis is indicated by acute (hepatitis A) and chronic (hepatitis B) forms of hepatitis; therefore, persons who test positive for both hepatitis types should be evaluated for an infection.
Autoimmune Hepatitis can be divided into two groups: sensitive and non-sensitive. Non-sensitive autoantibodies are formed from the reaction between an abnormal protein and the body’s innate immune mechanism. These abnormal proteins, in the case of alcohol, stimulate the production of caspase 3, an enzyme that destroys foreign or potentially harmful bacteria. Alcoholic hepatitis is characterized by inflammation of the liver (cystitis), fever, night sweats, malaise, and jaundice. If the body cannot clear the bloodstream of caspase-3-producing cells (cysts) that form alcoholic hepatitis, then an autoimmune hepatitis epidemic can occur.
Acute hepatitis is caused primarily by exposure to an infection, usually viral or bacterial, with consequent inflammation of various organs (liver, kidney, bones, etc.). This inflammation is accompanied by pain, vomiting, nausea, and usually by diarrhea and a loss of appetite. In some cases, patients develop either yellow or brown papules on the liver surfaces. They generally last between four to eight weeks and then disappear. This is the type of acute hepatitis that has a pronounced viral component.
The other two types of acute hepatitis are chronic (chronic hepatitis c) and viral. Chronic hepatitis c is usually caused by drug use; patients usually exhibit no symptoms, though they may suffer from fatigue and nausea. Viral hepatitis is usually resulting in jaundice, mild body weakness, nausea, vomiting, and fever. Most patients with viral hepatitis to recover within a few days to a few weeks.
Viral hepatitis c virus (HCV) is transmitted through blood, vaginal fluids, semen, and other secreted fluids. When the HCV spreads to the bloodstream it becomes transmissible. Transmittable forms of the HCV usually cause no symptoms; however, a patient with persistent symptoms may develop opportunistic infections. Infection can take place when the patient ingests secretions that contain the HCV, during a wound-healing process, after a surgery involving the hip, during the period of HIV treatment, or even after an accident that injures the lungs.
A pregnant woman can also contract viral hepatitis C. In this case, the child will be born with extensive inflammation of his liver tissue or will suffer liver enlargement and scarring. Viral hepatitis c virus (HCV) may be able to escape from the mother’s bloodstream during delivery, and circulate throughout the body of the baby. If infected mothers don’t receive early medical care, the infection may be impossible to reverse.