Hepatitis Part I – What Causes Hepatitis

Hepatitis is characterized by the destruction of a number of liver cells and the presence of inflammatory cells in the liver tissue caused by excessive alcohol drinking, disorders of the gall bladder or pancreas, including medication side effects, and infections. There are many other infectious 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 such as Hepatitis A, B, and C.

A person can develop hepatitis if they contract one of the viruses that can cause liver infection, or as a result of exposure to substances that can cause hepatitis. There are two ways that can lead to hepatitis: it can either occur as a result of infections or from autoimmune processes.

Hepatitis can be divided into two subgroups:

1. Acute hepatitis
Acute hepatitis caused by the below in result of inflammation that causes damage to the liver's normal function and lasting less than six months. People having a weakened immune system and weaker liver, making them more susceptible to being infected by hepatitis.

a) Infectious viral hepatitis such as hepatitis A, B, C, D, E.
b) Inflammation of liver caused by Epstein-Barr virus and cytomegalovirus.
c) Inflammation of liver caused by other bacteria.
d) Medication overdose causing damage to liver tissues and cells such as tranquilizers, chemotherapeutic agents, antibiotics and anesthetics.
e) Excessive alcohol drinking.

2. Chronic hepatitis:
Chronic hepatitis measures active, ongoing inflammation of the liver persisting for more than six months. Chronic hepatitis, although much less common than acute hepatitis, can persist for years, even decades. In most people, it is quite mild and does not cause significant liver damage. It may be caused by hepatitis B and C viruses, drugs and excess alcohol drinking. It can also result in cirrhosis, with an enlarged spleen and fluid accumulation in the abdominal cavity. In some people, continued inflammation slowly damages the liver, eventually resulting in severe scarring of the liver, liver failure and sometimes liver cancer.

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