Hepatitis

Hepatitis is a disease characterized by inflammation of the liver, causing damage to or death of liver cells. There are two types of hepatitis, acute hepatitis, an attack that eventually heals, and chronic hepatitis, which causes ongoing liver problems. In the early stages of hepatitis, symptoms usually include loss of appetite, fatigue, weight loss, fever, nausea, and vomiting. Rashes and pain in the joints can also occur. Within three to ten days, an additional symptom of dark urine may occur, followed by the skin turning yellow (jaundice). In addition, the liver usually becomes enlarged and is tender to the touch. Other symptoms can include mild flu-like symptoms to severe liver failure and brain coma.

What To Consider

The most common cause of hepatitis is a virus that can occur in 5 potential forms: A, B, C, D, or E. Other causes include excessive alcohol consumption, drug abuse (including pharmaceutical drugs, such as acetaminophen), overexposure to chemicals, and, sometimes, as a reaction to properly prescribed medications.

In recent years, hepatitis C has been on the increase. It is most frequently caused as a result of blood transfusions. Typically, people with hepatitis C are identified either because they have abnormal liver tests or because of a hepatitis C antibody test. A positive test does not necessarily mean serious liver disease, however. People with hepatitis C may have no liver disease, a mild form of chronic hepatitis, or a more serious form of hepatitis that may progress over a number of years to cirrhosis. The usual indications for treatment are a positive antibody test for the hepatitis C virus, abnormal liver tests for more than six to 12 months, and a liver biopsy that shows chronic active hepatitis. Approximately 20% of patients chronically infected with the hepatitis C virus will go on to develop cirrhosis.

Note
Infectious hepatitis can be easily spread two weeks before and one week after jaundice appears. The feces of people with hepatitis contain the virus. Therefore, very strict toilet hygiene and hand and cloth washing should be observed during this time.

Self-Care Tips

Diet
Follow a diet low in protein and high in fresh vegetables to minimize stress on the liver. Also eat small meals throughout the day, and avoid foods such as refined sugars, alcohol, and caffeine, which cause stress on the liver, and be sure to drink plenty of filtered water. Drinking fresh lemon juice water every morning and evening followed by vegetable juice is also recommended to help liver function. Easily digested grains, such as millet, buckwheat, and quinoa, are also good food choices.

Nutritional Supplementation
Supplement with vitamin C, beta carotene, liver glandulars, milk thistle extract, vitamin B complex, adrenal glandulars, lipotropic factors, pantothenic acid, free-form amino acids, betaine hydrochloic acid (HCl), multi-enzymes, and evening primrose oil

Aromatherapy
Rosemary can help stimulate liver function.

Herbs
The liver-cell regenerative properties of herbs such as milk thistle and licorice can be helpful. Take 1/2 teaspoon of this mixture three times a day. Tumeric combined with milk thistle has also been shown to help alleviate the symptoms of hepatitis B.

Hydrotherapy
For acute infectious hepatitis, alternate hot (one minute) and cold (five minutes) compresses over the liver for one hour, repeating this process three times a day. For chronic hepatitis, place a cold compress on the liver every night for three weeks; then, reduce to one week. Repeat for six months.

Juice Therapy
The following juice combinations can be helpful: beet, carrot, and wheat grass juice, or garlic, burdock, flax, and black currants.

Caution

If you think you or someone you know is suffering from hepatitis, seek the help of a qualified health professional immediately.

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