What can Cause Liver Inflammation?
Hepatitis is a general disease name for liver
inflammation and can have many different causes. Among them, viral
infection is one of the most common.
1. Viral infection: Many viruses can cause liver
inflammation and they are infectious and transmittable. Now we know, the
major viral causes of hepatitis are HAV, HBV, HCV, HDV, and HEV. Recently, HFV and HGV have just been discovered. Among them,
HAV and HDV are usually self-limited infections and rarely become chronic
or progress to cirrhosis. Chronic HBV and HCV infections on the other
hand, are the most common.
These types of the hepatitis can progress
to serious liver diseases, such as cirrhosis and liver cancer. Patients
who have Hepatitis C should definitely have the HAV and HBV vaccinations
in order to avoid co-infection with these two kinds of viral infections.
Co-infections can dramatically accelerate the progression rate of the
2. Alcoholic hepatitis: Alcohol abuse can cause liver inflammation because
alcohol and its metabolite are toxic to liver cells. If a person takes in
150g of alcohol daily for about 5 years, 90% of them will have various
liver damages. For 10 years, 34% will have chronic alcoholic hepatitis and
about 25% will progress to cirrhosis. Alcoholic liver diseases are three
times more common than HCV infection. Thus, it is very important for
patients with HCV to avoid any alcoholic drinks.
3. Drug or chemical intoxication: Many drugs and chemicals can cause liver
damage and induce hepatitis, such as carbon-tetrachloride, amethopterin,
tetracycline, acetaminophen, fenoprofen, etc. The degree and severity of
the liver damage is dependent on the dosage, the length of the course, and
individual's constitution. Long-term drugs or chemicals can induce chronic
hepatitis, even cirrhosis. Thus, people with hepatitis C should avoid
taking unnecessary drugs and stop using any recreational chemicals. When
there is an infection or condition that calls for antibiotics or
pain-killers, the patient must also be careful when choosing the drugs.
Always inform your doctor of you liver condition if you he or she is
unaware and is prescribing medication for you.
4. Others: Many other systematic infections can also
infect the liver, such as EBV, bacteria infections. They can also cause
liver enzyme elevation and other liver dysfunctions. In these diseases,
the liver inflammation is only part of its systematic manifestation.
People with hepatitis C should be careful to protect themselves
from possible infections. Any infection can stir up immune reactions which
can worsen the symptoms of hepatitis C.
If the liver inflammation last less than six months,
it will be considered acute hepatitis; if the disease course becomes
longer than six months,the liver inflammation become chronic.