An inflammation of the liver, hepatitis can arise from several sources.
What is Hepatitis?
Hepatitis refers to liver inflammation, and it can cause liver cancer and the need for a transplant. Hepatitis A, Hepatitis B, and Hepatitis C are viral and the most common types. Many people may not know that they are infected.1 The liver is primarily in charge of detoxification and vitamin and mineral storage. It makes amino acids, which are important in protein synthesis, it produces bile for digestion, and it can help to maintain glucose levels in the body. Most of the body’s cholesterol is made in the liver. The organ also produces hormones and urea. When the body develops hepatitis, the disease can heal on its own, but it could also move on to scar the liver. Hepatitis can be acute or chronic. Some hepatitis can be caused by toxins, infection, obesity, alcohol, or autoimmune sources, which are not contagious. Hepatitis A is caused by HAV virus through feces-infected food or water. It is not chronic. Hepatitis B is an STD, and the HBV virus is spread through sexual contact or unsterilized needles. Babies can be infected through nursing, and infections can spread through bites, tattoos, or via healthcare work. Cancer can result from Hep B, and this form of hepatitis can be chronic. Hep C is transmitted through blood. It is caused by the HCV virus. Blood donations are checked for Hep B and Hep C. The HDV virus causes Hep D, and only people infected with Hep B can get Hep D. HEV is a virus that causes Hep E, and that is transmitted through infected drinking water. Hepatitis X is a form of the disease that is viral but cannot be attributed to the other viral forms. Hepatitis G, from the HGV virus is mild or even asymptomatic. Hepatitis symptoms are often flu-like and can include nausea, fever, aches, vomiting, fatigue, diarrhea, and weight loss. Later phases (depending on the type of hepatitis) may include circulation problems, dizziness, drowsiness, enlarged spleen, dark urine, hives, headache, feces with pus, and jaundice.2
There are some vaccines for Hepatitis A and Hepatitis B. There is no vaccine for Hep C. In order to prevent some cases of hepatitis, it is important to avoid sharing needles or having unprotected sex or using illegal drugs. Travelers to regions where Hep A and Hep B are common should be vaccinated. Children, healthcare workers, and patients who are hemophiliacs or who are on dialysis are recommended to receive the Hep B vaccine.3 Excessive alcohol use should also be avoided, as cirrhosis and hepatitis are risks. It is also important to limit overuse of certain antibiotics and acetaminophen, as they can cause liver damage as well.4 Other ways to avoid infection are washing hands after using the bathroom and before handling food, not sharing razors or toothbrushes, and avoiding raw shellfish. Hepatitis C is the most serious type, and the treatments often involve frequent injections.5 In treating the disease, some people may wish to incorporate complementary and alternative treatments, such as herbal remedies, acupuncture, relaxation techniques, and chiropractic and massage care.6 A pilot study suggests that adding vitamin B12 to other treatments can help the immune system fight HCV.7 For patients seeking pain relief and relief from medication side effects, massage can prove helpful. It is important that the massage therapist perform safe hygiene practices so that infectious diseases are not transmitted. Hep B and C patients may bruise or bleed more easily, so the practitioner should take care with these clients.8