Sunday, June 22, 2008




Hepatitis in itself- is the inflammation of the liver. Many illnesses and conditions can cause inflammation of the liver, for example, drugs/medications, alcohol, chemicals, and autoimmune diseases. Also many organisms most specifically viruses,i.e virus of mononucleosis and the cytomegalovirus can inflame the liver. Most viruses, however, do not primarily attack the liver; the liver is just one of several organs that the viruses affect. When doctors/health professions speak of viral hepatitis, they usually are referring to hepatitis caused by a few specific viruses that primarily attack the liver. There are several hepatitis viruses; they have been named types A, B, C, D, E, F (not confirmed), and G. As the knowledge of hepatitis viruses grows, it is likely that this alphabetical list will become longer. The most common hepatitis viruses are types A, B, and C.

The liver, located in the upper right hand side of the abdomen and mostly behind the rib cage normally weighs close to 1.5kgs. It does the following vital functions:

1. The liver helps purify the blood by changing harmful chemicals into harmless ones. The source of these chemicals can be external, such as medications or alcohol, or internal, such as ammonia or bilirubin. Typically, these harmful chemicals are broken down into smaller chemicals or attached to other chemicals that then are eliminated from the body in the urine or stool.
2. The liver produces many important substances, especially proteins that are necessary for good health. For example, it produces albumin, the protein building block of the body, as well as the proteins that cause blood to clot properly.
3. The liver stores many sugars, fats and vitamins until they are needed elsewhere in the body.
4. The liver builds smaller chemicals into larger, more complicated chemicals that are needed elsewhere in the body. An example of this type of function is the manufacture of cholesterol.

When the liver is inflamed, it does not perform these functions well, which brings about many of the symptoms, signs, and problems associated with hepatitis.


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