Friday, 19 October 2012

What Is Hepatitis? Symptoms of Hepatitis, Causes and Treatments of Hepatitis


Meaning of Hepatitis

The word hepatitis comes from the Ancient Greek word hepar (root word hepat) meaning 'liver', and the Latin itis meaninginflammation. Hepatitis means injury to the liver with inflammation of the liver cells


What is the liver?

The liver is the largest gland in the human body. It weighs approximately 3 lb (1.36 kg). It is reddish brown in color and is divided into four lobes of different sizes and lengths. It is also the largest internal organ (the largest organ is the skin). It is below the diaphragm on the right in the thoracic region of the abdomen. Blood reaches the liver through the hepatic artery and the portal vein. The portal vein carries blood containing digested food from the small intestine, while the hepatic artery carries oxygen-rich blood from the aorta. 

The liver is made up of thousands of lobules, each lobule consists of many hepatic cells - hepatic cells are the basic metabolic cells of the liver. 

Functions of Liver:
  • Detoxification (filters harmful substances form the blood, such as alcohol)
  • Stores vitamins A, D, K and B12 (also stores minerals)
  • Protein synthesis (makes certain amino acids - the building blocks of proteins)
  • The production of biochemicals needed for digestion, such as bile
  • Maintains proper levels of glucose in the blood
  • Produces 80% of your body's cholesterol (cholesterol is vital)
  • The storage glycogen (also converts glucose to glycogen)
  • Decomposing red blood cells
  • Synthesizing plasma protein
  • The production of hormones
  • Produces urea (the main substance of urine)
Hepatitis can heal on its own with no significant consequence, or it can progress to scarring of the liver. Acute hepatitis lasts under six months, while chronic hepatitis lasts longer. 

Most liver damage is caused by 3 hepatitis viruses, called hepatitis A, B and C. However, hepatitis can also be caused by alcohol and some other toxins and infections, as well as from our own autoimmune process (the body attacks itself). 

About 250 million people globally are thought to be affected by hepatitis C, while 300 million people are thought to be carriers of hepatitis B. 

Not all forms of hepatitis are infectious. Alcohol, medicines, and chemical may be bad for the liver and cause inflammation. A person may have a genetic problem, a metabolic disorder, or an immune related injury. Obesity can be a cause of liver damage which can lead to inflammation. These are known as non-infectious, because they cannot spread form person-to-person.

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