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Hepatitis refers to an inflammation of the liver cells and damage to the liver. There are different types and causes, but the symptoms can be similar.

The liver’s functions include detoxifying the blood, storing vitamins, and producing hormones. Hepatitis can disrupt these processes and create severe health problems throughout the body.

At least five viruses can cause hepatitis. The three most common are hepatitis viruses A, B and C. Infection with any of these three can be fatal.

Other types of hepatitis can result from overconsumption of alcohol or an autoimmune condition.

In the United States, the incidence of hepatitis A has been falling for the last 20 years, but acute hepatitis C has seen an increase of 44 percent between 2011 and 2012.

Hepatitis refers to an inflammatory condition of the liver. It’s commonly caused by a viral infection, but there are other possible causes of hepatitis. These include autoimmune hepatitis and hepatitis that occurs as a secondary result of medications, drugs, toxins, and alcohol. Autoimmune hepatitis is a disease that occurs when your body makes antibodies against your liver tissue.

Your liver is located in the right upper area of your abdomen. It performs many critical functions that affect metabolism throughout your body, including:

  • bile production, which is essential to digestion
  • filtering of toxins from your body
  • excretion of bilirubin (a product of broken-down red blood cells), cholesterol, hormones, and drugs
  • breakdown of carbohydrates, fats, and proteins
  • activation of enzymes, which are specialized proteins essential to body functions
  • storage of glycogen (a form of sugar), minerals, and vitamins (A, D, E, and K)
  • synthesis of blood proteins, such as albumin
  • synthesis of clotting factors

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)Trusted Source, approximately 4.4 million Americans are currently living with chronic hepatitis B and C. Many more people don’t even know that they have hepatitis.

Treatment options vary depending on which type of hepatitis you have. You can prevent some forms of hepatitis through immunizations and lifestyle precautions.

Viral infections of the liver that are classified as hepatitis include hepatitis A, B, C, D, and E. A different virus is responsible for each type of virally transmitted hepatitis.

Hepatitis A is always an acute, short-term disease, while hepatitis B, C, and D are most likely to become ongoing and chronic. Hepatitis E is usually acute but can be particularly dangerous in pregnant women.

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The information contained in this Avenue 360 Web site is not a substitute for medical advice or treatment, and Avenue 360 recommends consultation with your Avenue 360 doctor or health care professional.

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