If you have a history of excessive alcohol or drug use, or if you are an alcoholic or addict, your liver may be struggling to process alcohol even when you are not drinking or using drugs. This is known as “hepaticalcoholism” and it is the result of chronic damage to your liver from the effects of alcohol. The condition can develop at any point in your drinking career but it is most likely to do so once you have become dependent on alcohol.
What Is Hepatitis?
Hepatitis is an inflammation of the liver. There are many types of hepatitis, all of which are caused by viruses. Hepatitis A and B are viral. Hepatitis C is a bloodborne virus that can lead to chronic infection. It is most common among injecting drug users and people with compromised immune systems. Hepatitis D and E are extra-hepatic diseases. Extra-hepatic means that the livers are in other parts of the body, such as the muscles or the gallbladder.
Types of Hepatitis
There are two types of hepatitis: A and B. Both types are transmitted through contact with contaminated secretions.
- Hepatitis A is usually contracted through contaminated food or water. It is usually mild, with a few people getting chronic infection. It is more common in children. C
- hronic hepatitis B is a much more serious condition. It is characterized by excessive jaundice (yellowing of the skin and eyes), abdominal pain, and dark secretions from the stomach or intestines. Chronic hepatitis B can also cause liver failure, cancer, or death.
Symptoms of Hepatitis
The main symptom of hepatitis is inflammation of the liver. This may appear as a yellowing of the skin and the eyes (jaundice), dark or greasy stools, abdominal pain or discomfort, or fatigue. Other symptoms depend on the type of hepatitis and the extent of liver damage.
If you or someone you know exhibits one or more of the following signs and symptoms, it may mean that they have Hepatocellular disease of the liver:
- Dark urine
One of the most common symptoms of Hepatocellular disease of the liver is dark urine. The reason this happens is because the blood in the body is filtered through the liver. Because the liver is unable to process certain compounds in the blood, they are not broken down and are instead reabsorbed into the body. This means that the compounds stay in the blood and go directly to the kidneys where they are passed out in the urine.
Another common symptom of Hepatocellular disease of the liver is fatigue. This is due to a lack of energy and a general feeling of being “ rundown ” . The reason for this is because the liver has to work harder to process compounds in the blood that it normally would. The end result is a liver that is “weary”.
- Jaundice (yellowing of the skin and eyes)
One of the most common symptoms of Hepatocellular disease of the liver is jaundice, or yellowing of the skin and eyes. The reason this happens is because the liver becomes very metabolically active. This means that it has to process a large amount of compounds in the blood to function properly. As a result, it is unable to get rid of some of these compounds in the urine. These compounds are then reabsorbed into the body causing the skin and eyes to turn yellow.
- Loss of appetite
One of the most common symptoms of Hepatocellular disease of the liver is a loss of appetite. This happens because the liver is unable to break down compounds in the blood. As a result, the compounds are not absorbed into the body and are reabsorbed, causing the person to feel very hungry.
- Urine output changes
A change in urine output is one of the most common symptoms of Hepatocellular disease of the liver. This change can happen slowly or quickly. It could be that you start to notice a change in your urine output after a strenuous exercise event. This happens when the body is unable to process compounds in the blood efficiently. The result is a large amount of waste compounds in the urine.
- Muscle pain or weakness
One of the most common symptoms of Hepatocellular disease of the liver is muscle pain or weakness. This can happen suddenly or develop gradually. It often happens after a strenuous exercise event and/or after a heavy meal. The reason for this is that the liver has to work very hard to process compounds in the blood that are not normally broken down. As a result, it becomes exhausted.
- Easy bruising or bleeding
Another common symptom of Hepatocellular disease of the liver is bruising or bleeding. This can happen suddenly or develop gradually over time. It often happens when a joint is bent or when a small cut is made on the skin. The reason for this is that the liver has to break down large amounts of compounds in the blood. As a result, it becomes exhausted and the skin becomes bruised or the blood is broken down.
- Irregular heartbeat (arrhythmia)
An irregular heartbeat is one of the most common symptoms of Hepatocellular disease of the liver. This happens when the heart does not beat consistently with the rhythm it should be beating in. The reason this happens is because the heart has to work hard to pump blood through the body. As a result, it may skip a beat.
- Cloudiness in the skin (known as “jaundice”)
One of the most common symptoms of Hepatocellular disease of the liver is a yellowish color to the skin. The reason for this is that the liver no longer has the ability to process bilirubin. Bilirubin is a pigment that is released when the red blood cells are broken down. As a result, it ends up in the skin and eyes causing them to be yellow.
If you or someone you know exhibits one or more of these signs and symptoms, it may mean that they have Hepatocellular disease of the liver. It is important to see a doctor to have the diagnosis confirmed. Once the cause of the liver disease is known, the doctor may be able to recommend a treatment and a course of action to improve the health of the liver.
Causes of Hepatitis
The hepatitis viruses are transmitted through contaminated food or water. They are oftenoresistant to the effects of heat, which is why foods like raw fish and uncooked vegetables are potential sources of infection. Anyone who has been in contact with an infected person can get hepatitis.
The virus can remain in the saliva, blood, or other body fluids of an infected person for weeks or months after the infection has been eliminated. Hepatitis is also closely linked to HIV. People with HIV are at risk of both types of hepatitis, as well as other infections. This is because the immune system of someone who is HIV-positive is often compromised, leaving the body more susceptible to infections.
Diagnosis of Hepatitis
Diagnosis is usually based on the symptoms. Your doctor will perform several diagnostic tests, including a physical exam to check for other signs of illness, a liver function test to measure the amount of liver inflammation and damage, and an ultrasound to look for biliary sludge and other signs of inflammation in the gallbladder.
Blood tests and an immunofluorescence test can also be performed. If you are a chronic liver disease sufferer, your doctor may recommend monitoring your liver function test results every few months.
Home Treatment for Hepatitis
There is no specific treatment for hepatitis. Medication can be used to help with the symptoms, but there is no cure for the condition. You may be able to manage your symptoms with rest, over the counter medications, and drinking plenty of water.
Medications for Hepatitis
There are currently no medications indicated for the treatment of hepatitis. However, there are a few that can be used for the side effects associated with medications for hepatitis.
Most antiviral medications are used for the treatment of other conditions, such as the common cold. These medications work by targeting the virus rather than the host’s immune system. This can lead to a rebound effect, in which the liver becomes more active as the immune system tries to clear the infection.
Cyclosporine is an immunosuppressant medication used to prevent organ transplant rejection. It is also used to treat autoimmune diseases, such as rheumatoid arthritis and lupus.
Fluorouracil is an anticancer medication that is often given to individuals with precancerous conditions. It can be very effective in the treatment of hepatocellular carcinoma, or HCC. However, it has many side effects, including liver problems.
Prognosis for Hepatocellular Disease of the Liver
The prognosis for Hepatocellular disease of the liver is good if the cause is identified and treated. The rate of death from the disease is extremely low. However, the longer the liver is damaged, the higher the risk of developing other conditions that cannot be reversed.
It is important to realize that the damage caused to the liver will not be immediately reversible. The longer the liver damage goes untreated, the more difficult it will become to reverse. The only way to reverse the damage is through a liver transplant.
Most common form of liver disease, it affects middle-aged and elderly people who are obese. Currently, there are no approved medications to treat it, and no cure exists. The only way to prevent it is to stay as healthy as possible, including staying away from smoking and excessive alcohol consumption. The prognosis for the disease is good, and it can be reversed with a liver transplant.