What causes liver inflammation?

Liver inflammation has various causes, depending on the type. Viral infections are a common cause, along with toxic exposures and some inherited conditions.

Causes of liver inflammation

Liver inflammation may be caused by the following:

  • Alcohol abuse
  • Alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency (an inherited condition that predisposes to liver and lung damage)
  • Autoimmune reaction
  • Decreased blood flow to the liver
  • Drugs or toxins
  • Hemochromatosis (disorder characterized by excess iron in the body)
  • Obstructive jaundice
  • Viral infection
  • Wilson’s disease (disorder leading to excess copper deposition in the body)

What are the risk factors for liver inflammation?

A number of risk factors increase the risk of developing liver inflammation. Not all people with risk factors will get liver inflammation. Although these risk factors will vary depending on the type of hepatitis, risk factors for liver inflammation include:

  • Alcohol abuse
  • Consumption of contaminated water or food
  • Contact with utensils, bedding, clothing, or personal items used by someone infected with hepatitis
  • Diseases that require multiple blood transfusions
  • Exposure to blood or body fluids of an infected person
  • Exposure to needles, including tattoo needles, used by an infected person
  • Sexual contact with someone infected with hepatitis
  • Travel to places with contaminated water or poor sanitation practices

Reducing your risk of hepatitis

You may be able to lower your risk of hepatitis by:

  • Avoiding contact with blood or body fluids of an infected person
  • Avoiding contact with used needles
  • Avoiding contact with utensils, bedding, clothing or personal items used by someone infected with hepatitis
  • Boiling any water that might be contaminated before drinking it or using it to brush your teeth
  • Getting vaccinated against hepatitis A and B
  • Limiting travel in places with sanitation deficiencies

What is liver inflammation?

Liver inflammation is a reaction that occurs when liver cells are attacked by a disease-causing microbe or substance. The liver is an organ in the digestive system that assists the digestive process and carries out many other essential functions. These functions include producing bile to help break down food into energy; creating essential substances, such as hormones; cleaning toxins from the ... Read more about liver inflammationintroduction


What are the symptoms of liver inflammation?

Symptoms of liver inflammation can involve a variety of body systems, with effects ranging from decreased energy level to skin irritation to abdominal and gastrointestinal symptoms. You should contact your health care provider if you have any of these symptoms, and seek immediate attention for symptoms associated with more serious forms of the disease.

Common symptoms of liver... Read more about liver inflammationsymptoms


How is liver inflammation treated?

Treatment of hepatitis varies depending on the type of hepatitis. If you are diagnosed with any type of hepatitis, you should stop drinking alcohol and discontinue use of drugs that may damage the liver, such as acetaminophen (Tylenol), and drugs that increase your risk of bleeding, such as aspirin.

Beyond that, some types of hepatitis are treated only with general supportive meas... Read more about liver inflammationtreatments

Medical Reviewer: Cynthia Haines, MD Last Annual Review Date: Aug 5, 2013 Copyright: © Copyright 2014 Health Grades, Inc. All rights reserved. May not be reproduced or reprinted without permission from Health Grades, Inc. Use of this information is governed by the HealthGrades User Agreement.

This Article is Filed Under: Digestive System

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