Viral Hepatitis is a medical condition characterized by inflammation of the liver characterized by swelling and death of liver cells (also known as hepatocytes). The liver performs vital synthetic and excretory functions and anything that interferes with its functions can result in debilitating effects. There are several causes of viral hepatitis with most common being hepatitis A, B and C viruses. Early Hepatitis treatment can help preserve the functions of the liver.
Hepatitis A Infection Treatment
Hepatitis A virus is commonly found in stools and food where they cause oral-fecal infections. People contract this infection by ingesting food or water contaminated by fecal matter containing hepatitis A virus. The common symptoms may include dark urine, itching, fatigue, low-grade fever, loss of appetite, pale or clay colored stools, nausea and vomiting and jaundice (yellow skin).
Viruses are among the most difficult organisms to eliminate. There is no specific hepatitis treatment for the hepatitis A virus infection. Prevention is the key to stopping spread of the infection from one person to another. The good news is that the infection is usually acute, mild in severity and self-limited. However, some cases may be severe enough to warrant hospitalization and robust treatment.
Those suffering from this infection should take rest when the symptoms get worse. They are also advised to avoid situations or actions that may exacerbate damage to the liver such as alcohol and drugs (such as acetaminophen or Tylenol). Some kinds of food such as extremely fatty ones may exacerbate the symptoms of acute hepatitis and they should best be avoided during acute phase of the infection. Sufferers should also maintain balanced diet, which should include drinking a lot of water.
Hepatitis B Infection Treatment
Hepatitis B is a serious acute and chronic liver infection caused by (HBV). The acute illness is characterized by inflammation, jaundice, vomiting and in severe cases death. Without hepatitis treatment, this infection can progress to chronic hepatitis B leading to cirrhosis and cancer of the liver (hepatocellular carcinoma). Liver cirrhosis and cancer are diseases that respond poorly to almost all currently available medications.
Acute hepatitis B infection does not need treatment and most adults will have the infection clear spontaneously. In a few sufferers with a condition referred to as acute fulminant hepatitis or those who are immunosuppressed, treatment may be necessary with antiviral agents. Cirrhosis and hepatocellular carcinoma are more difficult to manage once they develop. Nevertheless, a vaccine is available to prevent the infection from developing in the first place.
The mainstay hepatitis treatment for hepatitis B is antiviral agents, which may include adefovir (Hepsera), lamivudine (Epivir), telbivudine (Tyzeka) tenofovir (Viread),and entecavir (Baraclude). Immune modulators such as interferon alpha-2a as well as PEGylated interferon alpha-2a (Pegasys) may also be used for remedy. Since the liver has the capacity to regenerate especially in younger people. This means that surgery may actually be an option.
The antiviral agents work by inhibiting viral replication thereby reducing viral load. This gives reprieve from the symptoms of hepatitis allowing recovery of the liver. Without hepatitis treatment, this disease will surely end in death. Response to treatment depends on the genome of the HBV as well as the stage at diagnosis. Early diagnosis is also important for the effectiveness of the treatment.
Hepatitis C Infection Treatment
Hepatitis C is another liver infection caused by hepatitis C virus or HCV. In most cases, the acute infection is asymptomatic and self-limited. Chronic hepatitis C infection is what is worrisome. This is because it can cause liver cirrhosis, which is a harbinger for hepatocellular carcinoma. This occurs after several years of infection. Besides cancer, hepatitis C may lead to liver failure as well as life threatening gastric and esophageal varices.
It is spread primarily via blood-to-blood contact especially associated with IV (intravenous) drugs, blood transfusions as well as poorly sterilized medical equipment. The initial infection usually has very few or no symptoms. If present, the symptoms require a few antiviral drugs to limit replication. Without treatment, the virus may persist in the liver of 50-75 percent of the affected patients.
Hepatitis C virus is more likely to cause chronic hepatitis than HBV and therefore the said complications. When it comes to hepatitis treatment, this infection may be difficult to eliminate fully and so the aim of treatment is to reduce the viral load by limiting replication. There is currently no vaccine for hepatitis C infection but researchers are at it and may unveil the treatment.
There are three treatment options for hepatitis C infection. These include use of antiviral medications, surgery and alternative medicine. The antiviral agents used mostly in hepatitis treatment include ribavirin, boceprevir, telaprevir, Sofosbuvir, ledipasvir and simeprevir among other agents. These medications may be used in combination with each other or immune modulants such as pegylated interferon-alpha as well as pegylated interferon-alpha-2b.
Cirrhosis may require liver transplantation, especially if the entire liver is cirrhosed. End stage liver disease will also require transplantation. The problem is finding healthy donor because most diseases affecting humans assault the liver making it unfit for transplantation. The surgery is in itself dangerous and may result in death as a complication.
Alternative medicine has also been shown to have some positive effect in hepatitis treatment. These may include ginseng, milk thistle and colloidal silver. However, there is no strong evidence that these alternative medicines are effective in the treatment of hepatitis C or the other two types. Nevertheless, proponents of this therapy actively promote these medicines.
Treatment with medications and even transplantation can result in recurrences. However, post-transplantation recurrence is much reduced if treatment with interferon follows. The outcome of treatment is dependent upon many factors including the health status of the sufferer at the time of diagnosis, the particular genome of the virus as well as the kind of medication.
Hepatitis is a very serious disease of the liver and without early diagnosis and treatment, recovery may not be possible and the disease may progress to liver failure and other serious complications. The above discussed hepatitis treatment options may be effective but you will have to discuss with your doctor if you have been diagnosed with any of these viral diseases.