Hepatitis is a disease when a virus enters your body and causes swelling in the liver. Hepatitis can also be caused due to medicines, drugs, toxins and alcohol. Autoimmune hepatitis is a disease that occurs when your body makes antibodies against your liver tissue.
Hepatitis is classified as A, B, C, D and E :
Symptoms – The symptoms of hepatitis are fatigue, flu, dark urine, pale stool, abdominal pain, loss of appetite, yellow skin and eyes etc. These symptoms may not become noticable in cases of chronic hepatitis. During physical examination, the doctor can find if there is any pain or tenderness in the abdominal area.
Diagnosis – Basic blood tests like CBC, Liver Function Test, Viral Markers like HbsAG, Anti HCV are sufficient to determine the presence of any of these viruses in the body. Ultrasound of the abdomen is done to see the shape, size and echotexture of the Liver and the presence of any kind of fluid in the abdomen. Ultrasound is one of the best and easily available diagnostic modality to see the evidence of any kind of damage to the liver due to hepatitis. Ultrasound or CT Guided Liver Biopsy can also be done to see the extent of fibrosis in the liver due to Hepatitis. Advanced diagnostic modalities like Ultrasound / CT / MRI Liver Elastography are excellent replacements for Liver Biopsy as they are all non-invasive tests and does not require any puncturing of the liver. Elastography is a new application which has been developed on Ultrasound, CT and MRI. This is the reason that many of the diagnostic centres in India would not have the facility of Liver Elastography. Many physicians are also not trained to use the results of Liver Elastography. It is therefore important to consult a Liver Specialist in cases of Hepatitis.
Treatment options are determined by which type of hepatitis you have and whether the infection is acute or chronic.