Inflammation of the liver is a condition that is also called hepatitis.
There are a number of different types of liver inflammation. The most common form is caused by a virus and is therefore known as a viral infection. These infections can either be acute or chronic. When hepatitis is triggered by one of these viruses, it is generally described with an alphabetical name: For example, hepatitis, A or hepatitis C. The names of the viruses themselves are usually shortened to HAV, HBV, HCV, HDV and HEV HFV and HGV. HGV has only recently been discovered.
Hepatitis B and C can be particularly harmful, possibly leading to serious, even critical diseases like cirrhosis or liver cancer.
Alcohol is another cause of liver inflammation. Alcohol is toxic to the liver and frequently leads to inflammation and then cirrhosis. Three times as many people suffer from alcohol-induced hepatitis as from hepatitis C, which is one of the more common viral forms.
Liver inflammation can also be caused by a variety of chemicals and drugs. Even legal drugs like pain killers and pain relievers can be toxic to the liver when they're used improperly or excessively. The amount of damage drugs and chemicals can do varies, naturally, with the type of drug used, how much was taken for how long, and the user's overall state of health. Recreational and illegal drugs are very dangerous.
Various diseases are also the cause of inflammation of the liver. Some of these diseases are related to the liver, but others are not. Among the most common are Wilson's disease, which comes from an excessive amount of copper in the body, and hemachromatosis, which results from too much iron. Rocky Mountain spotted fever, yellow fever and certain auotimmune conditions also contribute to inflammation of the liver.
Signs of inflammation of the liver vary depending on the cause. But generally speaking, four symptoms are predictable.
Jaundice is characterized by yellowing of the skin and whites of the eyes. Because of this discoloration, many people call this condition yellow jaundice.
Another typical symptom is a lack of interest in food, which id usually followed by weight loss. This symptom of inflammation of the liver is especially typical with forms of acute hepatitis. Nausea and vomiting often follow shortly afterwards.
You also get tired easily when you have hepatitis. Fatigue can be chronic and profound. One of your liver's main function is to help control your metabolism and energy levels, so when it is inflamed, your energy is reduced. This also leads to a feeling of weakness.
Hepatitis is also characterized by muscle and joint pain. It could go on for several weeks. Besides muscle and joint tenderness, you might feel pain in the area of the liver itself. In fact, pain could reach as high as the right shoulder. The intensity of this pain will depend on the progress of the inflammation.
Treatment for acute viral hepatitis is usually unnecessary due to the fact that it heals on its own in time. However, certain medications and antivirals may be useful for hepatitis B and C. Drugs called interferon and ribavirin are usually recommended for these disorders. When liver inflammation is caused by autoimmune hepatitis, it is usually treated with corticosteroids.
Individuals who have been diagnosed with hepatitis should avoid drinking alcohol and talk to their doctor before taking drugs or medications of any kind.