Causes of inflammation of the liver vary. One of the most common is a viral infection, which may be acute or chronic. Hepatitis that results from a viral infection is characterized by letters of the alphabet, like hepatitis A or hepatitis B. 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 exceptionally precarious, perhaps resulting in serious, even critical diseases such as cirrhosis or liver cancer.
Drinking too much alcohol is the biggest cause of liver inflammation. Alcohol is a toxin that has an insidious effect on the liver when used excessively and over a long period of time. It will eventually produce inflammation, and inflammation can eventually produce 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. This even includes legal drugs and analgesics or painkillers, which are sometimes overused. The depth of damage resulting from use of drugs and chemicals will be determined by the kind of drug or chemical used, and how much was used for how long. Of course, the user’s general state of health will matter too. Use of illegal drugs is always dangerous.
Certain diseases and conditions can cause inflammation of the liver, too. Two such disorders that are relatively common are Wilson’s disease and hemachromatosis. Wilson’s disease is symptomatic of excessive copper accumulation in the body, while hemachromatosis is characterized by an abnormal build up of iron. Rocky Mountain spotted fever, yellow fever and certain auotimmune conditions also contribute to inflammation in the liver.
Symptoms of inflammation of the liver may vary somewhat from one patient to another, but four are typical.
Jaundice is a primary and virtually unmistakeable synptom. Jaundice causes the skin and the whites of the eyes to look noticeably yellow. Many people refer to this condition as yellow jaundice for this reason, although use of the word “yellow” is unnecessary.
Loss of appetite is another common symptom of inflammation of the liver, often followed by weight loss. this symptom of inflammation of the liveris especially typical with forms of acute hepatitis. There are also likely to be episodes of nausea and vomiting sometime after this.
Lack of energy and a feeling of chronic tiredness are among the other typical symptoms of liver inflammation. 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. It’s also very common to feel waek and listless.
Hepatitis is also characterized by muscle and joint pain. This may continue for days and weeks and is more likely when you have acute hepatitis than when you have chronic hepatitis.
Tenderness in the muscles and joints is not the only kind of pain hepatitis can cause. There could be pain in the liver area too, and sometimes even in the right shoulder. The intensity of this pain will depend on the progress of the inflammation.
As far as treatment is concerned, there generally is none for acute viral hepatitis, due to the fact that it heals on its own in time. Certain medications and antivirals may be useful for hepatitis B and C. Drugs called interferon and ribavirin are usually used for these disorders. Autoimmune hepatitis is usually treated with corticosteroids.
Individuals who have been diagnosed with liver inflammation should avoid drinking alcohol and should also avoid taking any drugs, medications or pain relievers without consulting a doctor.
About the Author:
By: Neal Kennedy
For more information on this and related topics, click on what causes liver inflammation and liver pain causes. Neal Kennedy is a former radio and TV talk show host with a special interest in health and fitness topics.
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