Hepatitis

What is it?

The term hepatitis refers to inflammation of the liver. This inflammation can be due to many causes, including viruses, toxins including alcohol and drugs, or an auto-immune condition. Some forms of hepatitis, such as viral hepatitis A, are self-limiting, while others are serious long-term conditions including fibrosis/scarring and cirrhosis. Hepatitis can be asymptomatic, but the clinical picture often includes jaundice, malaise, anorexia and RUQ pain as well as altered liver enzyme tests.

Key ideas:

  • Inflammation of the liver due to a large assortment of causes
  • A group of viruses cause the majority of cases worldwide
  • Modes of transmission vary among the various hepatitis viruses
  • Hepatitis viruses are labeled alphabetically—Hep A is an acute illness, while Hep B and C can be acute or chronic
  • Tender hepatomegaly (enlargement of the liver) occurs in 10% of cases
  • Lymphadenopathy and splenomegaly accompanies this diagnosis in 5% of cases

How do we treat it?

Due to the variety of potential causes of liver inflammation, if you present with an enlarged liver and abnormal liver enzymes, we will recommend a series of labwork to identify your condition. Viral hepatitis will require an aggressive anti-viral approach along with long term support of your immune system to limit the chronic condition which may develop. Hepatitis due to alcohol or drug use, on the other hand, will receive detox and liver support followed by an in-depth approach regarding lifestyle choices and the onset of addiction. Hepatitis, while technically located in the liver is usually a multi-system disease requiring a holistic approach. We will help you identify the cause of your hepatitis and promote healthy lifestyle choices and a naturopathic plan that focuses on protecting liver health.

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