Hepatitis is the inflammation of the liver. Hepatitis viruses are the most common causes of the disease but other factors such as autoimmune diseases, alcohol, drugs, infections, or toxic substance can also cause hepatitis. Hepatitis can be self-limiting or can progress to cirrhosis (scarring), fibrosis, or liver cancer.
There are 5 types of hepatitis viruses A,B,C,D,and E. Hepatitis B and C can lead to chronic disease and potential outbreaks and cross contamination. They are the most common cause of liver cancer and cirrhosis. Hepatitis A and E are usually caused by ingestion of contaminated food or water. Common transmission for Hepatitis B,C, and D include the receipt of contaminated blood and bodily fluids. Hepatitis B and C can be transmitted from mother to child at birth. Hepatitis D and E is less common in the U.S.
Hepatitis A is a highly contagious form of infection in the liver although it is rarely life threatening or dangerous. You contract the disease by ingesting contaminated food or water that has been exposed to fecal (poop) matter from someone who has the virus. Hepatitis A is rarely dangerous and you make a full recovery usually within weeks. Even so, getting proper rest is important.
Jaundice (yellowing of eyes and skin, dark urine)
Pain in your belly
Usually the virus doesn’t cause any long lasting problems but a small percentage will have symptoms that last a long time or relapse within a 6-9 month period. Some may have liver failure or need a transplant.
There is no medication for Hepatitis A. Doctors will treat the symptoms until the disease goes away. They may decide to run tests to make sure your liver is functioning properly and that your liver is healing. Hepatitis A vaccination is available and administered in 3 separate doses. Vaccine is effective amongst 95% of adults and can work for more than 20 years. You should consider getting vaccinated if you intend to travel to areas of the world with higher hepatitis A infection.
Hepatitis B can cause liver failure, cirrhosis, and liver cancer. It can be life threatening if left untreated. It’s spread through contact with blood, open wounds, or bodily fluids from someone who has the hepatitis B virus. Although it’s a serious disease, if you get hepatitis B as an adult, your body will usually fight off the disease within a few months and you become immune for the rest of your life. If you get the disease at birth, it’ll unlikely go away and you’ll become a carrier of hepatitis B.
Light colored stools
Nausea & vomiting
Loss of appetite
Symptoms may not appear until 1 to 6 months after contracting the virus. You may be asymptomatic and a third of the people don’t have any symptoms at all. They only find out through a blood test.
A blood test can detect if your liver is inflamed. If you have hepatitis B symptoms and high liver enzymes, you’ll be tested for Hepatitis B surface antigen and antibody (HBsAg) and Hepatitis B surface antibody (anti-HBs).
Hepatitis B surface antigen and antibody (HBsAg) – antigens are proteins on the hepatitis B virus. Antibodies are proteins made by your immune cells. Antibodies show up in your bloodstream after exposure to the virus between 1–10 weeks. If your body recovers from the disease, the antibodies go away after 4-6 months. If they’re still in your bloodstream, the disease becomes chronic.
Hepatitis B surface antibody (anti-HBs) – the antibody that shows up after HBsAg disappears which makes you immune to the hepatitis B virus for the rest of your life.
Your doctor may give you a vaccine shot of hepatitis B immune globulin which boosts your immune system to fight the infection.
If the infection persists for more than 6 months, you’ll have chronic hepatitis B and the following medications may be prescribed:
Lamivudine (Epivir, A/F, Epivir, HBV, Heptovir) – Liquid or tablet form and taken once a day. The virus may stop responding to the drug after long term use.
Entecavir (Baraclude) – Liquid or tablet form
Tenofovir (Viread) – Powder or tablet form. May damage kidneys.
Interferon alfa (Intron A, Roferon A, Sylatron) – A shot taken at least 6 months. Boosts your own immune system and treats the inflammation.
Adefovir dipivoxil (Hepsera) – Taken as a tablet and often used for people who don’t respond well to lamivudine. Long term use cause kidney problems.
There is no cure for hepatitis B but it often goes away after a few months. It may disappear for people who have chronic hepatitis B. If you have the infection for more than 6 months, you’ll become a carrier which means you may pass the disease to someone else through unprotected sex, shared injection needles, contact with your blood or open wounds.
About 3.9 million Americans have the disease. It causes few symptoms so most of the people with the disease are unaware they have it. It is mostly transmitted through exposure to infective blood, contaminated injections during medical procedures, and shared injection needles. A mother can pass it to her baby. Sexual transmission is possible but less common. There is no vaccine for Hepatitis C. The incubation period is between 14 to 80 days.
Symptoms may include:
Clay colored stools
Loss of appetite
Doctors will run a blood test for Anti-HCV antibodies – proteins your body makes when hepatitis C virus is in your blood. They show up approximately 12 weeks after infection. If your antibody test is positive, your doctor will run HCV RNA – measures viral RNA (the genetic makeup of the hepatitis C virus) in your blood. If you test positive, you have Hepatitis C.
If you have acute hepatitis C, there is no recommended treatment. If you have chronic hepatitis C, your doctor will prescribe medication to fight the infection depending on the varying stage of disease and the overall health of your liver.
About 75% to 85% of people who have the disease get a long term infection called chronic hepatitis C which are staggering rates. If left untreated, the disease progression may cause liver failure, cirrhosis, or liver cancer.
Herbs may help reduce some of the symptoms associated with the infection and protect the liver.
Turmeric – A chemical compound in turmeric called curcumin can be beneficial for the liver. Studies suggest turmeric to improve liver function by detoxification
Dandelion – May weaken oxidative stress and inflammation
Milk thistle – Studies suggest it may inhibit the progress of liver cell carcinoma. Beneficial for people with chronic liver disease. Anti-inflammatory and Antioxidant properties
Astralagus – May reduce oxidative stress in the liver
Schisandra – May reduce oxidative stress in the liver
Green tea – Beneficial for the liver as it is high in antioxidants
Ancient Wellness’ Liver Wellness is an all-natural plant based herbal supplement that can help reduce inflammation in the liver. It contains 12 liver protective herbal extracts that help fight infection and protect liver function. According to Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), the organs disturbed in hepatitis are the liver and spleen. These organs affect energy flow and digestion. TCM diagnosis attributes hepatitis to excess damp and heat. Chronic progression of the disease will lead to qi stagnation or qi and yin deficiency. The person may experience heat signs with emotional disturbance, digestive issues, and fatigue.
Liver Wellness contains herbs that clear damp and heat, with anti-inflammatory and anti-viral properties to help restore liver health. It also contains herbs that augments, harmonizes, and moves blood. The TCM Liver stores blood. To ensure that this relationship is harmonious, herbs that regulate blood increases the quality of blood and promotes balance. Herbal supplements combined with rest and lifestyle changes can support the body’s natural healing mechanism. When the body is strong, the disease can be controlled or self limiting. Our body can then return to balance and harmony.
Over 2 million Americans are chronically infected with hepatitis. It is the world’s most common and serious liver infection. It is the primary cause of liver cancer and other complications. Liver Wellness offers an all-natural alternative to help reduce liver inflammation. Share with your family and friends. Let them know there are options available.
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