Hepatitis – Injury to Liver - Dream Health

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Monday 18 August 2014

Hepatitis – Injury to Liver

Hepatitis – Injury to Liver/Inflammation of Liver cells 

The word `hepatitis’ is derived from the ancient Greek word `hepar’ meaning `liver and the Latin` itis’ means inflammation and Hepatitis means injury to the liver accompanied with inflammation of the liver cells. Hepatitis is used to describe the inflammation of the liver and can occur due to viral infection or if the liver has been exposed to harmful substance like alcohol. There are some types of hepatitis which do not cause any permanent damage to the liver while there are other types which may persist for several years causing scarring or cirrhosis of the liver.

 In serious cases, it could also lead to the loss of the liver function or liver failure or even liver cancer and that could be life threatening. These types of long lasting conditions are called chronic hepatitis. The liver which is the largest gland in the body weighs 1.36 kg and is reddish brown in colour. It has four lobes of different size and length and the largest internal organ of the body which lies below the diaphragm towards the right area in the thoracic region of the abdomen.

The blood travels to the liver through the hepatic artery and the portal vein carries blood containing digested food from the small intestine while the hepatic artery carries the oxygen rich blood from the aorta. The liver is the combination of thousands of lobule where each lobule comprises of many hepatic cells, which are the basic metabolic cells of the liver

Symptoms of Hepatitis

The symptoms of hepatitis in its initial stage are similar to flu and include muscle and joint pain, headache with high fever; feeling of sickness, with occasional yellowing of the eyes and skin, In the case of chronic hepatitis, symptoms may include unusual feeling of tiredness all the time, depression, jaundice and a general sense of not feeling well.

 In several cases, hepatitis does not cause any noticeable symptoms and when it occurs due to virus, many tend to be unaware of the ailment. Hepatitis normally heals on its own with no significant consequences or it could also progress and scar the liver and while acute hepatitis last less than six months, chronic hepatitis lasts much longer.

Three hepatitis viruses are the cause of liver damage namely hepatitis A, B and C though hepatitis may also be caused by other toxins and infections besides alcohol, as well as from our own autoimmune process within the body itself.

Autoimmune Hepatitis 

Autoimmune hepatitis is very rare cause of chronic or long term hepatitis wherein the white blood cells tend to attack the liver thereby causing chronic inflammation and damage to the liver. This could lead to more serious problems resulting in liver failure and the reason for this in not known.

Not all types of hepatitis are infectious and alcohol, chemical maybe unsafe for the liver and may cause inflammation. Obesity could be a cause of liver damage resulting in inflammation or a person may have some genetic problem, a metabolic disorder or an immune related injury all of which can be termed as non-infectious since this ailment does not spread from one person to another.

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