An inflammation or swelling of the liver is a medical condition called hepatitis.
Hepatitis can be developed by:
- Medication overuse such as over dosage intake of acetaminophen or other drugs
- Liver being attacked by the immune cells in the body
- Liver damage from poison or alcohol
- Infections from other viruses such as hepatitis C, A, or B, parasites or bacteria
Inherited disorders such as hemochromatosis, which is a condition that holds too much iron in the body or cystic fibrosis, can also cause liver disease. Another disorder that can lead to liver disease is Wilson’s disease wherein too much copper is retained in the body.
Hepatitis may begin and heal quickly. It may also turn into a chronic condition that will stay with you forever. Liver cancer, liver damage, and liver failure are some of the cases that are caused by hepatitis.
Usually, it is hepatitis A that has a shorter term and does not develop into chronic liver conditions. However, it should be noted that if you have existing illnesses including the ones that may have caused some damage to the liver, acquiring hepatitis may give additional severe health conditions.
Some of the symptoms of hepatitis may include:
- Weight loss
- Bloating or pain in the abdominal area
- Nausea and vomiting
- Clay-colored or pale stools and dark urine
- Loss of appetite
- Low fever
When first infected with hepatitis B or C, you may not show any symptoms. It will still later lead to liver failure. Tests should always be done often if you have risks conditions for these two types of hepatitis.
Tests and examinations
A physical exam is needed to look for:
- Jaundice or yellowing of the skin
- Tender and enlarged liver
- Ascites or fluid in the abdomen
Lab tests to monitor and diagnose the condition of the liver may include:
- If fluid is present in the abdomen, a paracentesis is needed
- Ultrasound of the abdominal area
- Liver biopsy to check for damages in the liver
- Autoimmune blood markers
- Liver function tests
- Diagnostic tests for Hepatitis A, B, or C
Options in a treatment program will be discussed with you by your health provider. Treatments will be varied, depending on the causes that led to the liver disease. If you have lost weight, a high-calorie diet may be recommended.
- Liver cancer
- Cirrhosis, which is permanent liver damage
- Liver failure
Contacting a medical professional
Help must be immediately sought if you have these symptoms:
- Delirious and confused
- Have too much of medicines such as acetaminophen and showing symptoms for the overdose.
- Have tarry or bloody stools
- Vomit blood
The doctor also needs to be called if:
- You have just come from a travel from Central America, Asia, South America, and Africa and now feel sick
- You think you have been exposed to hepatitis A, B or C as you are showing the symptoms
Excessive vomiting cannot keep food in your stomach.