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 measures, such as getting rest and drinking plenty of fluids. Many antiviral drugs have been developed, and new ones continue to be approved, for the treatment of viral hepatitis. The choice of drug or drugs depends on the type of viral hepatitis being treated, and, in some cases, the genotype (the specific DNA or RNA sequence of the virus.

Untreated or poorly controlled liver inflammations can progress to end-stage liver disease or liver failure. Treatment for liver failure is liver transplant.

What you can do to improve viral forms of liver inflammation

In addition to following your specific treatment plan carefully, you can also help minimize the effects of your symptoms and reduce transmission of viral hepatitis to other people by:

  • Being careful not to prepare or handle food to be eaten by others if you have hepatitis A or E until there is evidence you are not infectious
  • Carefully cleaning up any blood spills and covering all cuts and open sores
  • Getting plenty of rest to minimize fatigue
  • If you are pregnant, informing your physician if you are infected or are not a carrier
  • Keeping sexual partners informed if you have a type of hepatitis that is spread by sexual contact
  • Maintaining a well-balanced diet
  • Monitoring liver function yearly, along with having periodic ultrasound and alpha-fetoprotein blood tests, if recommended for your type of hepatitis
  • Practicing strategies your health care provider will teach you to protect household members and sexual partners
  • Stopping or severely limiting alcohol consumption to protect your liver

What are the potential complications of liver inflammation?

Complications of untreated or poorly controlled liver inflammation can be serious, even life threatening in some cases. You can help minimize your risk of serious complications by following the treatment plan that you and your health care professional design specifically for you. Complications can include:

  • Cirrhosis (scarring of the liver that causes severe dysfunction)
  • Cryoglobulinemia (presence of abnormal proteins in the blood that can cause inflammation of the blood vessels)
  • Fibrosis of the liver (development of fibrous tissues that interfere with liver function)
  • Hepatic encephalopathy (brain disorder caused by liver disease)
  • Liver cancer
  • Liver failure
  • Portal hypertension (increased blood pressure in the veins around the liver, stomach, and esophagus)

References:

  1. Hepatitis. American Gastroenterological Association. http://www.gastro.org/patient-center/digestive-conditions/hepatitis.
  2. Viral hepatitis. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. http://www.cdc.gov/hepatitis/.
INTRODUCTION

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

SYMPTOMS

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

CAUSES

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:

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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