Symptoms of Hepatitis

Hepatitis is swelling and inflammation of the liver.Hepatitis is most commonly caused by a viral infection. There are, however, other causes of hepatitis. These include autoimmune hepatitis (a disease occurring when the body makes antibodies against the liver tissue) and hepatitis that occurs as a secondary result of medications, drugs, toxins and alcohol.

The liver is located on the upper right side of the abdomen. It performs many critical functions that affect metabolism throughout the body, including:

bile production that is essential to digestion

filtering of toxins from the body

excretion of bilirubin, cholesterol, hormones, and drugs

metabolism of carbohydrates, fats, and proteins

activation of enzymes (specialized proteins essential to metabolic functions)

storage of glycogen, vitamins (a, d and k), and minerals

synthesis of plasma proteins, such as albumin

synthesis of clotting factors


What Are the Symptoms of Hepatitis?

The period of time between exposure to hepatitis and the onset of the illness is called the incubation period. The incubation period varies depending on the specific hepatitis virus. Hepatitis A virus has an incubation period of about 15 to 45 days; Hepatitis B virus from 45 to 160 days, and Hepatitis C virus from about 2 weeks to 6 months. Many patients infected with HAV, HBV, and HCV have few or no symptoms of illness.

For those who do develop symptoms of viral hepatitis, the most common are flu- like symptoms including:

Loss of appetite


Mild fever

Muscle or joint aches

Nausea and vomiting

Abdominal pain

Other symptoms may include:

Dark urine

Light-colored stools

Jaundice (yellowing of the skin and whites of the eyes)

Generalized itching

Altered mental state, stupor, or coma I

nternal bleeding


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