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All about hepatitis causes of hepatitis risk factors for hepatitis diagnosis of hepatitis symptoms of hepatitis treatment for hepatitis prevention of hepatitis viral hepatitis autoimmune hepatitis causes of autoimmune hepatitis symptoms of autoimmune hepatitis diagnosis of autoimmune hepatitis autoimmune hepatitis cure alcoholic hepatitis causes of alcoholic hepatitis symptoms of alcoholic hepatitis diagnosis of alcoholic hepatitis treatment for alcoholic hepatitis complications of alcoholic hepatitis hepatitis A causes of hepatitis A hepatitis A risk factors hepatitis A symptoms diagnosis of type A hepatitis hepatitis A treatment prevention of hepatitis A hepatitis A vaccination hepatitis B causes of hepatitis B hepatitis B risk factors symptoms of hepatitis B infection hepatitis B diagnosis hepatitis B treatment treatment for chronic hepatitis B prevention of hepatitis B hepatitis B vaccination Hepatitis B immune globulin (HBIG) hepatitis C hepatitis C causes risk factors for hepatitis C complications of hepatitis C hepatitis C signs and symptoms hepatitis C diagnosis hepatitis C treatment prevention of hepatitis C hepatitis D causes of hepatitis D hepatitis D risk factors signs or symptoms of hepatitis D diagnosis of hepatitis D treatment for hepatitis D prevention of hepatitis D hepatitis E causes of hepatitis E symptoms of hepatitis E hepatitis E diagnosis treatment for hepatitis E preventing hepatitis E

What causes hepatitis?

There are many causes of inflammation of the liver including medication side effects, excessive alcohol, some toxic chemicals, disorders of the gall bladder or pancreas, and infections. There are many infective agents that can cause inflammation of the liver, or hepatitis, however the term is unfortunately commonly used to refer to a particular group of

viruses identified not very imaginatively by letters of the alphabet.

A person can develop hepatitis if they contract one of the viruses that can cause liver inflammation, or as a result of exposure to substances that can cause hepatitis - alcohol, fungal toxins and certain medicines. There are two ways in which medicines can lead to hepatitis: it can either occur as a result of medicine poisoning through overdoses of a medicine (eg paracetamol), or it can occur as a result of an abnormal reaction of the liver to a normal dose (eg halothane, the anaesthetic). Fortunately, the latter type of hepatitis is rare.

Autoimmune chronic hepatitis accounts for about 20% of all chronic hepatitis cases. Like other autoimmune disorders, this condition develops because a genetically defective immune system attacks the body's own cells and organs, in this case, the liver, after being triggered by an environmental agent, probably a virus. Suspects include the measles virus, a hepatitis virus, or the Epstein-Barr virus, which causes mononucleosis. It is also possible that a reaction to a drug or other toxin that affects the liver also triggers an autoimmune response in susceptible individuals. In about 30% of cases, autoimmune hepatitis is associated with other disorders that involve autoimmune attacks on other parts of the body.

Alcohol. About 10% to 35% of heavy drinkers develop alcoholic hepatitis. In the body, alcohol breaks down into various chemicals, some of which are very toxic in the liver. After years of drinking, liver damage can be very severe, leading to cirrhosis in about 10% to 20% of cases.

Drugs. Because the liver plays such a major role in metabolizing drugs, hundreds of medications can cause reactions that are similar to those of acute viral hepatitis. Symptoms can appear anywhere from two weeks to six months after starting drug treatment. In most cases, they disappear when the drug is withdrawn; but, in rare circumstances, they may progress to serious liver disease. Among the drugs most prominently cited for liver interactions are halothane, isoniazid, methyldopa, phenytoin, valproic acid, and the sulfonamide drugs. Notably, very high doses of acetaminophen (Tylenol) have been known to cause severe liver damage and even death, particularly when used with alcohol.

Nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) has features similar to alcohol-induced hepatitis, particularly a fatty liver, but it occurs in individuals who do not consume significant amounts of alcohol. This disorder may occur in conjunction with obesity, diabetes, high cholesterol levels, small intestine surgery, or other factors. Research now suggests that insulin resistance plays a role in the development of NASH. Insulin resistance is the major problem in type 2 diabetes, in which the body resists the action of insulin, which causes an increase in blood sugar.

NASH should be considered as a possible cause of chronic hepatitis when other acquired causes have been eliminated. Weight reduction and management of any accompanying medical condition are the primary approaches to nonalcoholic steatohepatitis. To date, however, there is no effective treatment for NASH, although experimental therapies, such as bile acids, antibiotics, nutritional supplements, and antioxidants, have had some success in selected patients.

More information on hepatitis

What is hepatitis? - Hepatitis is inflammation of the liver. Hepatitis is characterized by jaundice, enlarged liver, fever, fatigue and abnormal liver function tests.
What causes hepatitis? - Causes of hepatitis including medication side effects, excessive alcohol, some toxic chemicals, disorders of the gall bladder or pancreas, and infections.
Who is at risk of hepatitis? - People who are at risk for developing hepatitis are workers in the health care professions, people with multiple sexual partners, intravenous drug users, and hemophiliacs.
How is hepatitis diagnosed? - Hepatitis is diagnosed during the active illness, based on the symptoms and an examination of the patient. The diagnosis is confirmed by blood samples.
What are the symptoms of hepatitis? - Symptoms of hepatitis vary depending on the cause of the illness. Symptoms of acute viral hepatitis may begin suddenly or develop gradually.
What're the treatment for hepatitis? - No medical treatment is available for acute viral hepatitis. Chronic hepatitis B can be treated with interferon alfa or lamivudine. Chronic hepatitis C can be treated with interferon alfa and ribavirin.
How to prevent hepatitis? - All objects contaminated by blood from patients with hepatitis B or C must be handled with special care. Travelers should be vaccinated against hepatitis A.
What is viral hepatitis? - Viral hepatitis is an infection of the liver that affects people from all walks of life regardless of age, race, gender, or sexual orientation.
What is autoimmune hepatitis? - Autoimmune hepatitis is a chronic inflammatory disease of the liver. Autoimmune hepatitis involves inflammation of the liver caused by rogue immune cells.
What causes autoimmune hepatitis? - The cause of autoimmune hepatitis is unknown. A person with autoimmune hepatitis has autoantibodies circulating in the bloodstream that cause the immune system to attack the liver.
What're the symptoms of autoimmune hepatitis? - Symptoms of autoimmune hepatitis include pain under the right ribs, fatigue and general discomfort, loss of appetite, nausea, sometimes vomiting and jaundice.
How is autoimmune hepatitis diagnosed? - Autoimmune hepatitis can be diagnosed with blood tests, such as liver function tests. Special X-ray tests may be needed.
What's the treatment for autoimmune hepatitis? - Not all patients with autoimmune hepatitis require treatment. Patients are treated with Prednisone including 6 mercaptopurine with or without steroids.
What is alcoholic hepatitis? - Alcoholic hepatitis is a precursor to chronic liver disease and cirrhosis. Alcoholic hepatitis is distinct from cirrhosis caused by long term alcohol consumption.
What causes alcoholic hepatitis? - Alcoholic hepatitis usually occurs after years of excessive drinking. Malnutrition contributes to liver disease.
What are the symptoms of alcoholic hepatitis? - Symptoms of alcoholic hepatitis include abdominal tenderness, spider-like blood vessels in the skin, ascites, poor appetite.
How is alcoholic hepatitis diagnosed? - Diagnostic procedures for alcoholic hepatitis may include specific laboratory blood tests, ultrasound (sonography), and liver biopsy.
What is the treatment for alcoholic hepatitis? - Cessation or marked reduction in alcohol intake is critical in the treatment for alcoholic hepatitis. A multidisciplinary therapy is adopted.
What're complications of alcoholic hepatitis? - Complications of alcoholic hepatitis include variceal bleeding, hepatic encephalopathy, coagulopathy and thrombocytopenia, ascites.
What is hepatitis A? - Hepatitis A is a highly contagious liver infection caused by the hepatitis A virus (HAV). Hepatitis A is primarily spread by fecal-oral transmission.
What causes hepatitis A? - The hepatitis A virus is found in the stools (feces) of people with hepatitis A. Hepatitis A is primarily spread by fecal-oral transmission.
Who is at risk of hepatitis A? - The highest rates of hepatitis A are among children and young adults. Infected people can transmit it to others if they do not take strict sanitary precautions.
What are the symptoms of hepatitis A? - Symptoms of hepatitis A may include fever, nausea, vomiting, jaundice, diarrhea, fatigue, abdominal pain, dark urine and appetite loss.
How is type A hepatitis diagnosed? - The patient will have to have blood tests to confirm the diagnosis of hepatitis A and to see whether your liver has been damaged.
What's the treatment for hepatitis A? - No specific treatment exists for hepatitis A. Initial therapy often consists of bed rest. Gammaglobulin may reduce the severity of the disease.
How to prevent hepatitis A? - Hepatitis A can be prevented by good hygiene and sanitation. Good hygiene in handling food and avoiding contamination of water supplies is important.
Who needs to be vaccinated against hepatitis A? - A vaccine to protect against hepatitis A is available for people who are at high risk of being infected, and for those with existing liver disease.
What is hepatitis B? - Hepatitis B is an inflammation of the liver caused by the hepatitis B virus. The virus that causes hepatitis B is a member of the Hepadnavirus family.
What causes hepatitis B? - Hepatitis B virus is easily spread by direct contact with the blood or body fluids of an infected person. Hepatitis can interfere with normal liver functions.
Who is at the risk of hepatitis B? - Anyone of any age, race, nationality, sex or sexual orientation can be infected with HBV. Sexual activity is an important route for viral transmission of hepatitis B.
What're the symptoms of hepatitis B infection? - Symptoms of hepatitis B infection include nausea (upset stomach), loss of appetite, vomiting, fatigue, and abdominal cramps.
How is hepatitis B diagnosed? - Hepatitis B is diagnosed from the results of specific HBV blood tests (serologies) that reflect the various components of the HBV.
What's the treatment for hepatitis B? - There is no treatment for acute hepatitis B. Treatment of chronic hepatitis B may involve the use of medications such as the antiviral medication.
What's the treatment for chronic hepatitis B? - Treatment of chronic hepatitis B may involve the use of medications such as the antiviral medication alpha interferon.
How to prevent hepatitis B? - Hepatitis B is a preventable disease. Protective practices should be promoted to avoid the risk of transmitting the virus sexually or by contaminated blood.
What about the vaccinations for hepatitis B? - Vaccination against hepatitis B stimulates the body's immune defenses and protects most people. Vaccination reduces the risk for liver cancer.
What is Hepatitis B immune globulin (HBIG)? - Hepatitis B immune globulin (HBIG) is a blood plasma product that can prevent hepatitis B if given within 14 days of an exposure to an infected individual.
What is hepatitis C? - Hepatitis C is a form of hepatitis (liver inflammation). Hepatitis C virus infects the liver and can cause hepatitis.
What causes hepatitis C? - Hepatitis C virus (HCV) is one of the viruses, which together account for the vast majority of cases of viral hepatitis.
Who is at the risk of hepatitis C? - Hepatitis C is spread mainly by direct contact with the blood from an infected person. Other persons at risk include kidney dialysis patients.
What're the complications of hepatitis C? - Hepatitis C exacerbates the severity of underlying liver disease when it coexists with other hepatic conditions.
What're the signs and symptoms of hepatitis C? - Hepatitis C infection has no symptoms and becomes chronic, and can cause cirrhosis and hepatocellular carcinoma.
How is hepatitis C diagnosed? - Hepatitis C infection is usually diagnosed in two steps using blood tests. Diagnostic tests for HCV are used to prevent infection through screening of donor blood and plasma.
What're the treatments for hepatitis C? - The treatment used for hepatitis C most often is a combination of two medicines, pegylated interferon and ribavirin.
How to prevent hepatitis C? - There is no vaccine against HCV. All precautions to prevent infection must be taken including screening and testing of blood and organ donors.
What is hepatitis D? - Hepatitis D or delta virus (HDV) is an infection of the liver caused by a defective virus (delta agent). The delta hepatitis virus (HDV) is an RNA virus.
What causes hepatitis D? - Hepatitis D or delta hepatitis is caused by the hepatitis delta virus (HDV), a defective RNA virus. HDV requires the help of a hepadnavirus.
Who is at risk of hepatitis D? - Individuals who are not infected with HBV, and have not been immunized against HBV, are at risk of infection with HBV with simultaneous or subsequent infection with HDV.
What are the signs or symptoms of hepatitis D? - Symptoms of hepatitis D include nausea, loss of appetite, joint pains, and tiredness, and jaundice.
How is hepatitis D diagnosed? - Hepatitis D infection may be diagnosed by detecting the antibody against the virus and measuring antibodies to delta antigen using ELISA.
What's the treatment for hepatitis D? - There is no effective antiviral therapy available for treatment of acute or chronic type D hepatitis. Liver transplantation has been helpful for treating fulminant acute and end-stage chronic hepatitis.
How to prevent hepatitis D? - Control of HDV infection is achieved by targeting HBV infections. The vaccine against hepatitis B also prevents delta hepatitis.
What is hepatitis E? - Hepatitis E is a contagious virus that causes acute hepatitis. Hepatitis E is also known as epidemic non-A, non-B hepatitis.
What causes hepatitis E? - Hepatitis E is caused by infection with the hepatitis E virus (HEV), a nonenveloped, positive-sense, single-stranded RNA virus.
What're the symptoms of hepatitis E? - Symptoms of hepatitis E include jaundice, anorexia, an enlarged, tender liver, abdominal pain and tenderness, nausea and vomiting.
How is hepatitis E diagnosed? - Diagnosis of hepatitis E is made by blood tests which detect elevated antibody levels of specific antibodies to hepatitis E in the body.
What's the treatment for hepatitis E? - Treatment for hepatitis E is to alleviate symptoms through bed rest, fluid replacement and ensuring there are strategies in place to prevent further transmission.
How to prevent hepatitis E? - The best ways to prevent hepatitis E are to provide safe drinking water and take precautions to use sterilized water and beverages when traveling. 
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