What is Chronic Hepatitis ?
It is a chronic inflammatory process in the liver continuing without improvement for at least 6 months.
What are common causes ?
1. Continuing Hepatitis B virus infection (HBV +/- HDV).
2. Chronic hepatitis C viral infection (HCV).
3. Auto immune hepatitis characterized by positive serum auto antibodies. It may be associated with disease like diabetes mellitus, arthalgia, nephritis, haemolytic anaemia.
4. Drug induced – Paracetamol,Anti tuberculous (INH), Antithyroid, etc.
5. Alcoholic hepatitis – due to long continued excess alcohol intake.
6. Metabolic disorder of iron (Haemochromatosis)
7. Familial disease – Wilson’s disease.
8. Any acute disease persisting for long time may lead to chronic hepatitis.
What are its common symptoms ?
1. Most of the time chronic hepatitis remain asymptomatic & detected during blood test for other purposes.
2. Anorexia & loss of appetite, low grade fever.
3. Feeling of a mass in the upper abdomen (enlarged liver).
4. Previous attack of jaundice is also absent in many cases.
5. Long continued hepatitis may lead to liver cirrhosis and liver cancer.
Some advice :
@ Make sure that whether you have HBV, HCV infection or any other cause of chronic hepatitis.
@ If you have any of the virus, you should take personal precaution against the spread of the virus to other members of the family.
@ Screen the family members for the virus & vaccinate the Hepatitis B vaccine.
@ Don’t donate blood to any person.
@ Personal protection – plate, glass, spoon, shaving kit, towel, tooth brush to be kept separated.
@ Use safe sex (protected & barrier method) avoid homosexuality.
@ Don’t share same needle for injection.
@ It you need any surgery, you should inform your attending doctor that you have Hepatitis B or Hepatitis C infection.