In order to find the best hepatitis treatment it is important to mention that different viruses affect the liver in different ways. To understand how the virus is transmitted we have to mention first how the liver works. The liver is the largest organ in the body that weights about 3 pounds, and is the central area for many body functions. It is located in the upper right side of the abdomen under the cover of the ribs and is made up of many hexagonal structures called liver lobules.
The liver produces the bile that breaks down fat in foods and receives blood from two sources: from the portal vein, which comes from the intestine loaded with nutrients for the liver to process; and one-third from the hepatic artery.
The liver converts food into energy; stores nutrients, fat and vitamins; makes proteins for blood plasma; and detoxifies the body. It has the largest and most complex bloody supply of any organ in the body. It has an artery to supply it with oxygenated blood and hepatic veins to take blood back to the heart.
The liver is the organ that breaks down cholesterol into bile acid, secrets it in bile, and removes it from the body. It makes bile from water, electrolytes as sodium, potassium, chloride, proteins, organic salts, such as bilirubin and lipids. The bile helps absorb fat and vitamins that are dissolved in fat. If too much cholesterol is produced in the blood vessels the condition is called atherosclerosis. If it increases in the bile it may produce gallstones.
The bile is required for the absorption of fat soluble vitamins into the body, because these vitamins are reliably insoluble in water. Bile dissolves these vitamins so they may be properly absorbed.
The liver work as chemical factory, when the liver receives nutrients from the intestines, it metabolizes, stores, and sends the nutrients to other organs. The liver metabolizes carbohydrates, proteins and fat for energy, assimilate and store vitamins, manufacture bile to aid in digestion and absorption of fats; and filter and destroy toxins.
The liver contains cells organized in hexagonal lobules and contains a large amount of glycogen, which is an energy storage chemical made from glucose. The liver converts much of the glucose to a storage molecule called Glycogen. This molecule can be converted again to glucose for release into the blood whenever is required. The liver in this process maintains a reliably constant concentration of glucose in the blood.
The liver at the same time is one of the major lymphoid organs of the immune system. Different types of immune cells are found in the liver: lymphocytes, plasma cells, macrophages, fibroblasts, dendritic cells and polymorphonuclear leucocytes. These immune cells protect against infections or toxins.
The liver cell also produces proteins, called enzymes and these include ALT (alanine aminotransferasa, AST (aspartate aminotransferasa), GGT (aspartate aminotransferasa, GGT (gamma-glutamyl transferasa) and alkaline phosphate. enzymes escape into the blood that's circulating through the liver.
Albumin is another protein synthesized by the liver and is secreted to maintain the volume of blood in arteries and veins. When aluminum levels decrease to extremely low levels, fluid may exit the blood vessels into the surrounding tissues. This cause swelling, know as edema.
Bilirubin: When the liver fails to eliminate bilirubin from the blood, the skin and whites of the eyes turn yellow and the condition is called jaundice. Other symptoms include urine darkness, and the color of the bowel movement lightens.
The liver also manufactures many proteins that maintain normal blood clotting. When the liver is damaged these clotting factors are affected and plasma levels drops. If liver failure occurs it can produce hemorrhage requiring plasma and blood transfusions.
Hepatitis viruses are important human pathogens that affect millions of people worldwide. These viruses cause inflammation of the liver and there are different kinds of hepatitis viruses and they belong to different families and differ in their way of replication and transmission. The different types of viral hepatitis are transmitted in different ways: for example hepatitis A is transmitted through contaminated food or water, and hepatitis B and C by blood, intravenous drug use, or sexual intercourse. The Main ones that need our attention are hepatitis A, B and C.
In Hepatitis A patients can recover without any permanent damage, however in hepatitis B or C, the persons become chronic carriers producing scarring or cancer in the liver. Inflammation and damage to the liver results information of scar tissue called Fibrosis.
Hepatitis B is a viral infection that causes inflammation, injury, and scarring of the liver called cirrhosis. Chronic infected patients are at risk for cirrhosis and liver cancer.
The hepatitis B is found in blood, semen and vaginal secretions. The virus has its own DNA and is structure is very complex. Ninety percent of adults infected with hepatitis B clear the infection and maintain lifelong immunity. Rarely, a patient may develop liver failure from severe acute hepatitis B. The remaining 5 to 10 percent does not clear the infection and they become carriers or developed chronic hepatitis and risk progression to cirrhosis or liver cancer.
There are two types of chronic infection for hepatitis B. The chronic carrier without the evidence of liver disease and the patient with chronic hepatitis B. The chronic carriers could have the injured infective from their infected mother during pregnancy and can develop liver cancer in the future , or the chronic carriers who acquired the infection in adult life and can carry the virus for more than 20 years. Today, there are about more that 350 million chronic carriers in the world and this includes about 1.25 million in the US. These carriers often remain asymptomatic for one or two decades before the onset of liver diseases.
The Chronic carrier of Hepatitis B is related to age at the time of infection. From mother to infant at the time of deliver leads to chronic infection in 75 to 85 percent of cases, however the transmission from mother to baby can be prevented by administering Immune Globulin and vaccination to the infant at the time of delivery. In these cases there is a great risk for liver cancer if the persons carry the infection for more than 20 to 30 years. Is important to stress that 95% of persons who are infected with hepatitis B before the age of 5 becomes chronically infected because of their immature immune systems.
Hepatitis B spreads through blood inoculation such as transfusions of blood or blood products, intravenous drug use, hemodialysis, or accidental needle stick. It also spread by sexual contact, both heterosexual and homosexual, and can be easily transmitted from mother to infant at delivery.
This condition has different stages and may divide in four phases: The first phase is infection when the virus attached to the liver cells and infects them. The second one is inflammation and the production of immune cells called lymphocytes. These Immune cells in their attempt to eliminate Hepatitis B virus release molecules that damage the liver. The Third phase is called Fibrosis and is developed as a consequence of chronic infection and inflammation. It's important to stress that the presence of fibrosis may indicate the presence of hepatitis B for several years. The last and four stage is cirrhosis and is produced when the functions of the liver are affected due to damage in the architecture and blood flow of the liver.
Chronic hepatitis causes cirrhosis, a condition in which the normal lobular structure of the liver is destroyed. In Cirrhosis the hardening of the liver is produce for the formation of scar tissue and the formation of nodules. This nodules affects the normal structure of the liver and prevent the normal flow of blood through the liver. Scarring and distortion of the hepatocytes and connective tissue that form each hexagonal lobule can prevent the flow of blood through the liver.
When the liver becomes scarred, it creates resistance to this blood flow and the blood may return into the spleen. When this happens, the spleen becomes larger and holds blood elements, removing them from circulation and lowering blood counts. As the liver becomes unexpectedly injured, scar tissue developed, making it difficult for blood from the portal vein and hepatic artery to circulate through the liver. The blood tends to back up into other abdominal vessels and spleen. As blood backs up in the spleen, the spleen enlarges and the cells become immobilize and are destroyed, resulting in a decrease in platelets, red cells, and white cells.
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