Fundamentals Of Hepatitis: There Is More To It Than You Know
Hepatitis refers to inflammation in the liver. The liver is a crucial organ that serves a few key functions, such as regulating blood clotting, converting poisonous ammonia to urea, an end product found in urine, and producing bile, which is essential for breaking down fats and transporting waste during digestion, among others.
Hence, when the liver is damaged or inflamed, key functions are impaired. Toxins, certain medications and medical conditions, as well as heavy alcohol consumption, are some key causes of hepatitis. There are many types of hepatitis, such as:
- Heptatitis A, B, C, D, E, and G
- Drug-induced hepatitis
- Alcoholic hepatitis
- Steatohepatitis or commonly known as Fatty liver induced hepatitis
- Autoimmune hepatitis
- Aflatoxin hepatitis
Hepatitis can be categorised into chronic and acute hepatitis. Chronic hepatitis happens when the liver is inflamed for more than six months. This means that the person’s immune system is not able to rid the body of hepatitis. While the bad news is that these people often have to live with it, the good news is that most of them are also expected to live a healthy, long life.
Acute hepatitis refers to the initial stage of hepatitis infection. If the inflammation is not severe, the liver can easily recover from acute hepatitis. However, acute hepatitis can sometimes worsen, resulting in severe damage to the liver. It then leads to fulminant hepatitis, which can be life-threatening.
Signs and symptoms of acute hepatitis
The symptoms may often appear mild and insignificant:
- Lack of appetite
- Skin rashes
- Joint pains
- Dark coloured urine
- Enlarged and tended liver area
Signs and symptoms of fulminant hepatitis
Acute hepatitis seldom leads to failure of the liver. However, when it does, it can spell danger and often has a high mortality rate, especially for the elderly. Some signs and symptoms to note are:
- Insomnia or drastic change in sleeping pattern
- Changes in mental states, such as hyperexcitability, impaired thinking, and irritability
- Severe vomiting and nausea
- Increased tendency to bleed
- High fever
Acute hepatitis is generally caused by the Hepatitis A, B, C, D, and E viruses, as well as sudden and large consumption of alcohol. Some medications and drugs may also lead to the development of acute and fulminant hepatitis, especially if the patient is highly sensitive to them. Therefore, in every diagnosis, the doctor will always make sure to check on the patient’s history of medical usage. Autoimmune hepatitis also leads to acute and fulminant hepatitis.
Chronic hepatitis, on the other hand, is a less severe liver inflammation which is often undetected for many years. They are usually caused by hepatitis B and C, huge alcohol consumption, drug-induced hepatitis, and autoimmune hepatitis. The exact cause of chronic hepatitis is vital as the treatment will differ depending on the cause. However, with chronic hepatitis, the liver cells are slowly damaged, killed, and constantly replaced, resulting in the development of scarred tissues. As the liver develops more scarred tissues, it leads to liver cirrhosis, in which the liver gradually loses functional capacity. This means that if left untreated, it could result in the severe consequences of having to go through a liver transplant.
There are many different types of hepatitis. While most of them have vaccinations available to protect you, it is always best to ensure constant health screenings to ensure that you are in good health. GUTCARE provides a wide range of treatments for issues such as hepatitis B, colon cancer symptoms, IBS symptoms, and other gastroenterology-related issues. For more information, you may reach us at https://www.gutcare.com.sg/contact-us/ to set an appointment today!