Hepatitis is a condition characterized by inflammation of the liver. Commonly caused by a viral infection hepatitis can also occur as a result of an autoimmune condition, certain medications, drugs, toxins or alcohol. Hepatitis can lead to abdominal pain, loss of appetite, unexplained loss of weight, flu-like symptoms and signs of jaundice. There are four types of hepatitis – hepatitis A, B, C, D and E, that can be further classified as acute or chronic. Depending on the type and stage of infection, your doctor will decide on the treatment plan.
Acute hepatitis is managed with medication, bed rest and a special diet to relieve symptoms, and prevent malnutrition and dehydration. You will be strictly instructed to avoid alcohol and smoking as they are toxic to the liver.
Chronic hepatitis is treated with antiviral medications or a combination of medications to eradicate the virus from the blood. Progressive damage to the liver can be prevented with complete eradication. Your doctor will advise you to avoid smoking and drinking alcohol as it can aggravate the condition. Liver transplantation may be required for treating liver cirrhosis or liver disease.
Hepatitis can be prevented by following good hygienic practices, drinking clean water and avoiding contaminated food. As the condition can also be contracted through blood, you should avoid sharing drug needles, razors and even a toothbrush. Vaccines are available for hepatitis A and B.