Hepatitis

Definition

noun, plural: hepatites or hepatitides

(pathology) Liver inflammation, especially caused by infection, toxins, autoimmune, or genetic factors, and characterized by jaundice and hepatomegaly


Supplement

The hepatitis is a condition characterized by the inflammation of the liver. The common symptoms include jaundice (yellow discoloration of the skin and the whites of the eyes) and hepatomegaly (liver enlargement). There are many reasons that can result in hepatitis. The various causes include infection, metabolic factors, autoimmune causes, and genetic factors.

Viral hepatitis is caused by viral infections. Though from different genera, the five major types of viruses that cause hepatitis are referred to as hepatitis A virus, hepatitis B virus, hepatitis C virus, hepatitis D virus, and hepatitis E virus. Apart from viruses, certain protozoans have been associated with hepatitis. Some of these parasitic protozoans are Trypanosoma cruzi, Leishmania species, and Plasmodium species. Infections by bacteria such as Neisseria species, Bartonella henselae, Borrelia burgdorferi, Salmonella species, etc. are also associated with causing hepatitis.

Excessive consumption of alcohol can also cause hepatitis. Excessive or prolonged consumption of certain medications (e.g. analgesic paracetamol, anticonvulsants, steroids, statins, etc.) may also be detrimental to the liver.

Autoimmune hepatitis is another form of hepatitis. It is caused by the abnormal immune response to the liver cells. Certain genetic disorders have also been associated with hepatitis. Some of them include alpha-1-antitrypsin deficiency, hemochromatosis, and Wilson's disease Ischemic hepatitis.


Word origin: Latin hēpatītis, hēpar (“liver”), Ancient Greek hêpar (“liver”)

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