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Hepatitis: Causes, Symptoms, Kinds - Research Paper Example

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Chronic viral hepatitis is an infection that lasts longer than acute viral hepatitis, and it can sometimes last for a lifetime (Women’s Health.gov). Hepatitis A only produces acute infection. Hepatitis viruses B and C can lead to both acute and chronic infections. Chronic hepatitis B and C are severe health conditions, because they can lead to cirrhosis, liver failure, and liver cancer, and sometimes, even death. Viral hepatitis is the principal cause of liver cancer and the most frequent reason for people, who need liver transplantation. Around 4.4 million Americans have chronic hepatitis, and most are not even aware that they are infected (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)). In the United States in 2007, there were an estimated “25,000 new hepatitis A infections; 43,000 new hepatitis B infections; and 17,000 new hepatitis C infections” (Women’s Health.gov). Around 800,000 to 1.4 million people are infected with chronic hepatitis B and 3.2 million people are infected with chronic hepatitis C in America (Women’s Health.gov). In addition, “between 75 and 85 percent of people who get infected with the hepatitis C virus develop a chronic infection” (Women’s Health.gov). The Liver The liver is situated in the upper right hand side of the abdomen, usually behind the rib cage. The liver of an adult weighs almost three pounds on average. The liver performs several important bodily functions: 1) Detoxifies the body through filtering harmful elements from the blood, such as alcohol and drugs 2) Collects and processes biluribin, the substance that red blood cells release, when they age and die 3) Stores important vitamins, particularly vitamins A, D, K and B12, and minerals like copper and iron 4) Synthesizes protein that assists blood clotting and turns into amino acids, which are the fundamental blocks of human muscles 5) Creates biochemicals used during digestion, such as bile, which is required in breaking down fatty foods 6) Preserves proper levels of glucose in the blood 7) Makes 80% of cholesterol, which is needed for healthy cells 8) Eliminates excess cholesterol from the body 9) Converts carbohydrates and sugars to glucose that can be easily used by the body when it needs it 10) Synthesizes plasma protein 11) Produces hormones 12) Creates urea, the primary substance of urine (Goldsmith 12-13). The symptoms of hepatitis impair the ability of the liver to perform these crucial functions (Goldsmith 13). For example, some people with hepatitis have yellow skin and the white parts of their eyes are yellow. This indicates that their livers can no longer adequately collect and process bilirubin. If the liver cannot process this element, it builds up in the blood and yellows the skin and the sclera (visible white part of the eyes). Causes of Hepatitis Numerous illnesses and conditions can be the causes of swelling of the liver: medicine, alcohol, chemicals, and autoimmune diseases. Several viruses, for example, the virus of mononucleosis and the cytomegalovirus can inflame the liver (CDC). Some viruses do not directly infect the liver, but also affect it when it attacks the immune system (CDC). When doctors discuss viral hepatitis, they refer to hepatitis that few particular viruses have caused and predominantly attack the liver. There are a number of hepatitis viruses: types A, B, C, D, E, F (not fully established), and G. The most prevalent ...Show more
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Summary

Hepatitis: Causes, Symptoms, Kinds Name Instructor Class 25 June 2012 Table of contents Basics of Hepatitis 3 The Liver 3 Causes of Hepatitis 5 Kinds of Hepatitis 6 Symptoms of Hepatitis 10 Diagnosis of Hepatitis 10 Treatment of Hepatitis 13 Works Cited 14 Basics of Hepatitis Hepatitis refers to the inflammation of the liver, which happens when the certain viruses infect it…
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