Hepatitis refers to inflammation of the liver, and is usually but not always the result of a virus. Most of the publicity we hear these days concerns the spread of Hepatitis C. In fact this disease can be caused by alcohol and chemicals as well as many different viruses. Most of the cases of viral this disease in Australia are classified as types A, B or C.
Types A and B were discovered over 20 years ago but type C (HVC) was discovered as recently as 1988. HVC is now considered to be the most prevalent type in Australia. Over 1500 cases have been notified in the Hunter Valley alone, where it is 10 times more prevalent than the HIV virus. There are at least 6 known strains of HVC and a mixture of strains may occur in an infected person.
While it is known that HVC is spread by blood, through such agents as hypodermic needles, blood transfusions (before 1990) and through cuts and scratches, almost half infected patients don’t know the source of the infection. The disease is further complicated since carriers can take up to 20 years before aquiring liver damage, and many cases remain symptomless.
Types of hepatitis
The main types of this disease are viral hepatitis, that’s to say this disease caused by viruses. There are viruses A, B, C, D, E and G, the three first are the most common:
– Hepatitis A (infectious hepatitis)
this disease is the one with type A virus in the feces of an infected person. It is the most common type of this disease . It is transmitted through infected food, direct contact with infected people, blood form infected people or secretions or drinking water contaminated with stool from someone infected.
– Hepatitis B (acute hepatitis)
It is that produced by infection with the hepatitis B virus. It can be transmitted by blood, through sexual contact and from mother to fetus. It is very common in people who exchange syringes and can be transmitted through wounds made with infected objects. It is a type of infection that has an incubation period that can last to half a year.
– Hepatitis C: (serum hepatitis)
It is caused by the infection of hepatitis C virus (HCV) . It is transmitted by transfusions and through contact with infected blood through the mouth and genitalia, when not adequate preventive methods are taken .
– Hepatitis D (Delta Hepatitis)
this disease is produced by the D virus that is spread along with hepatitis B, emphasizing its chronicity and making the hepatitis B even more destructive to the liver.
– Hepatitis E: (Viral hepatitis E)
It is produced by the hepatitis E virus, which has two variants, one Asian and one Mexican. It is spread when feces come into contact with the mouth.
– Hepatitis G: (Hepatitis GB)
this is caused by the hepatitis G virus . It is a disease that often becomes chronic and carriers can easily infect other people . It is transmitted through blood. It especially appears in patients who have to undergo transfusions or dialysis. It is usually very severe and of short duration but in some cases it is responsible for permanent hepatic failure.
The main causes of this disease are:
1. Infection by viruses: These viruses, as we have seen before, produce the main types of this disease.
2. Poisoning by chemicals : In addition to virus , there are a number of causes that can cause this disease. These include certain industrial toxic products or poisonous organisms, among which the most important ones are fungi, which produce the most serious causes of this disease.
3. Poisoning by drugs: Certain medications, inappropriately used, can cause adverse reactions that can lead to liver inflammation. The inflammation usually resolves upon discontinuation of treatment of the drug that produced it.
4. Liver autoimmune reaction: The immune system attacks the liver cells themselves. It can eventually produce this disease.
5. Alcohol: Drinking alcohol in a non moderate way can produce an inflammation of the liver, that commonly leads to this disease.
Symptoms are common to all types of this disease : Yellowing of the skin (jaundice), lack of appetite, general fatigue, general itching , fever, feeling sick, very light yellow stools and dark urine.
In addition to these frequent symptoms hepatitis B include other ones as: stomach ache, general pain in the joints, the sensation of bad taste in the mouth or painful pressure on the liver. Many times patients with hepatitis B and C have no symptoms.
1. Artichoke increases the effectiveness of liver function.
2. Ligustrum is an immune restorative and anti-inflammatory agent.
3. Milk thistle extract contains silymarin, a flavonoid that has been shown to aid in healing and rebuilding the liver. It can be taken in capsule or alcohol-free extract form. Take 200 to 400 milligrams three times daily.
4. Olive leaf extract is a potent antifungal agent.
5. Phyllanthus, an Ayurvedic herb, is useful for this disease. After an initial bout with the virus, you can become symptom-free but still remain a carrier of the disease. This herb is said to eradicate carrier-status hepatitis B in some cases.
6. Schizandra is a Chinese herb used to protect the liver.
7. Scutellaria, also known as Baikal skullcap or Chinese skullcap, is a Chinese herb that is a powerful antioxidant.
8. Turmeric is a potent anti-inflammatory.