Hepatitis Care

Overview

Hepatitis is a disease of the liver characterized by the presence of inflammatory cells in the tissue of the organ. Hepatitis may occur without symptoms, but can lead to jaundice (a yellow discoloration of the skin, mucous membranes, and conjunctiva of the eyes),poor appetite, and fatigue. Depending on the cause, hepatitis can manifest either as an acute or as a chronic disease. Acute hepatitis can be self-limiting (resolving on its own), can progress to chronic hepatitis, or can cause acute liver failure in rare instances.Chronic hepatitis may have no symptoms, or may progress over time to fibrosis (scarring of the liver) and cirrhosis(chronic liver failure). Cirrhosis of the liver increases the risk of developing hepatocellular carcinoma (a form of liver cancer).

Causes

Causes of hepatitis can be divided into the following major categories: infectious, metabolic, ischemic, autoimmune, genetic, and other. Infectious agents include viruses, bacteria, and parasites. Toxins, drugs, alcohol, and lipids are metabolic causes of liver injury and inflammation. Autoimmune and genetic causes of hepatitis involve genetic predispositions and tend to affect characteristic populations. Ischemic hepatitis results from reduced blood flow to the liver as in shock, heart failure, or vascular insufficiency.

Symptoms

Diarrhea

Fatigue

Loss of appetite

Mild fever

Muscle or joint aches

Nausea

Slight abdominal pain

Vomiting

Weight loss

Ayurvedic View

In Ayurvedic medicine the liver is the seat of ranjaka pitta along with the spleen. The definition of Pitta literally means bile, which is ranjaka pitta. Ranjaka pitta gives color to all the tissues. The Sanskrit word ?ranjaka? means to give color. Ranjaka pitta is responsible for erythrogenesis, the creation of red blood cells in the bone marrow, which are mixed with rasa dhatu, the plasma. Thus, ranjaka pitta is responsible for giving color to the blood.

Disorders of ranjaka pitta include hepatitis, anemia, chronic fatigue syndrome, and mononucleosis. Excessive bile production or a blockage in the flow of bile usually indicates high pitta, which in turn affects the agni or enzyme activities responsible for absorption, digestion and metabolism. Pitta can be aggravated by many factors of diet and lifestyle. These would include alcohol abuse, eating red meat, eating too much spicy or oily, heavy foods, lack of sleep, too much direct exposure to the sun and smoking. When pitta becomes aggravated liver diseases can result such as hepatitis and cirrhosis. Although viral type hepatitis such as hepatitis C is not mentioned in the classic Ayurvedic texts, similar symptoms are described under “kaamala“.


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