Viral hepatitis is an inflammation of the liver caused by one of six different viruses: hepatitis A, B, C, D, E or G. Inflammation of your liver can also be caused by alcohol, poison, an autoimmune response, some medications, and excess iron deposits in your liver from conditions such as cystic fibrosis <link to CYSTIC FIBROSIS>. Viral hepatitis is more commonly attributed to the A, B and C viruses, and in the acute (initial) stages there are often few or no signs of infection. All forms of hepatitis can cause jaundice, abdominal pain, fatigue, weight loss, nausea, and in severe cases can even be fatal.
How you get infected with viral hepatitis depends on which virus is being transmitted. Hepatitis A (HAV) is usually transmitted via the oral-fecal route, for example in a restaurant where the cook does not wash his/her hands after using the bathroom and then handles your food. Hepatitis B (HBV) is transmitted via blood and bodily fluids, such as through sexual contact or sharing needles. Hepatitis C (HCV) is transmitted by blood, usually through the sharing of needles, but in rare cases through sexual contact or childbirth. Of the three more common forms of viral hepatitis, HCV is most likely to cause chronic liver disease.
HAV can be prevented with a vaccine, and as there is no treatment for acute HAV, if you are infected your doctor will aim to prevent permanent liver damage by recommending proper nutritional intake. HBV can also be prevented with a vaccine, and without the vaccine can possibly be treated within the first 24 hours of infection with medication. Chronic HBV or HCV treatment is usually targeted to visible symptoms, and may include anti-viral drugs that carry with them several unwanted side effects such as anemia, gout and birth defects. Severe cases may require a liver transplant, although this does not cure HCV, and puts you at a greater risk of cirrhosis of the liver.
While prevention is key (such as getting vaccinated, using condoms, washing your hands and not sharing needles), if you are already infected there are still ways to optimize your health and prolong your life. Nutritional counselling can help you support your liver's functioning, while acupuncture and TCM and yoga can improve your immune system. Massage therapy can help lower your stress levels and thereby have a profound impact on your health.
Contact us for a FREE consultation on how natural therapy can help you prevent and manage viral hepatitis.
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