Find here the detailed study of Causes of Chronic Hepatitis, Signs & Symptoms of Chronic Hepatitis.
Chronic Hepatitis is the inflammation of the liver, due to a variety of causes that lasts more than 6 months. Sometimes the condition of Chronic Hepatitis persists for many years. Although Chronic Hepatitis is often mild with no symptoms, it can slowly damage the liver, causing cirrhosis in which healthy liver tissue is replaced by fibrous scar tissue. Eventually, liver failure may develop. People who are affected with Chronic Hepatitis and cirrhosis have a higher than normal risk of developing liver cancer.
Causes of Chronic Hepatitis
Chronic Hepatitis can have a number of causes, including a viral infection, an autoimmune reaction in which the body’s immune system attacks liver cells, certain drugs, alcohol abuse, and some metabolic disorders. Some of the hepatitis viruses that cause acute hepatitis are more likely than others to cause persistent inflammation. The virus that most commonly causes Chronic Hepatitis is the hepatitis C virus. Less commonly, the hepatitis B and D viruses are responsible. Infections with the hepatitis A and E viruses never become chronic. Some people may be unaware of having had a previous episode of acute viral hepatitis until long-term symptoms of Chronic Hepatitis appear.
The underlying cause of autoimmune chronic hepatitis is still not known, but the condition is more common among women than it is in men. Some drugs, may cause chronic hepatitis. The condition can also result from ongoing excessive alcohol consumption (Alcohol related liver disease). In addition, chronic hepatitis can be due to rare metabolic diseases in which liver inflammation is caused by excess amounts of certain minerals that accumulate in the body. For eg, in the inherited disorder hemochromatosis there are abnormally high levels of iron in the blood and tissues.
Signs & Symptoms of Chronic Hepatitis
Some cases of chronic hepatitis cause no symptoms. If symptoms do develop, they are usually mild but can vary in severity. They may include:
Loss of appetite and weight loss.
Yellowing of the skin and whites of the eyes.
If cirrhosis develops due to persistent inflammation, there may be increased blood pressure in the blood pressure in the blood vessels that connect the digestive tract to the liver. This pressure may lead to bleeding into the digestive tract (Portal Hypertension and Varices). In some cases, cirrhosis can result in liver failure, which may be fatal.
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