Hepatitis

Definition of Hepatitis

Hepatitis is swelling and inflammation of the liver. It is not a condition, but is often used to refer to a viral infection of the liver.

Causes, incidence, and risk factors

Hepatitis can be caused by:

Symptoms

Hepatitis may start and get better quickly (acute hepatitis), or cause long-term disease (chronic hepatitis). In some instances, it may lead to liver damage, liver failure, or even liver cancer.

Signs and tests

A physical examination may show:

Treatment

Your doctor will discuss possible treatments with you, depending on the cause of your liver disease. Your doctor may recommend a high-calorie diet if you are losing weight.

Expectations (prognosis)

For information on hepatitis outlook, see these articles:

Review

David C. Dugdale, III, MD, Professor of Medicine, Division of General Medicine, Department of Medicine, University of Washington School of Medicine; and George F. Longstreth, MD, Department of Gastroenterology, Kaiser Permanente Medical Care Program, San Diego, California. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc. – 11/23/2010

Hepatitis B virus
Hepatitis C
Gianotti-Crosti syndrome on the leg
Liver anatomy

ADAM Medical Encyclopedia

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