Hepatitis is the medical condition that causes inflammation of the liver. Most of the cases it goes without much noticeable symptoms. Once affected with hepatitis, the liver is unable to remove harmful substances from the blood. Hepatitis could be of many types – viral, alcoholic, auto immune and many more depending on the underlying cause for the condition.
Viral hepatitis is quite common. In this case, virus in liver cells attacks the liver. This attack leads to irritation and swelling of liver cells and its impaired function. There are five types of viral hepatitis – A, B, C, D and E. Hepatitis A is commonly called as jaundice. All the types may cause acute hepatitis and types B, C can cause chronic hepatitis. Acute conditions are those that are sudden in onset and chronic conditions are long-developing syndrome. Acute hepatitis could lasts for less than six months while chronic hepatitis lasts even longer. Quite common, hepatitis is mistaken for flu as they have similar symptoms.
Apart from virus, liver cells could also be damaged due to drugs, alcohol, environmental toxins, fat build-up in the liver (obesity) or an autoimmune process. Autoimmune process refers to the abnormal ability of the immune system to make antibodies automatically which can attack the liver cells.
Excessive alcohol damages liver cells. In the same way use of excessive intake of drugs like paracetamol, herbal remedies and many other dietary supplements could lead to liver damage. Medical conditions like heart failure may lead to insufficient supply of blood or oxygen to liver cells causing liver failure.