5 Complications of Hepatitis

Hepatitis refers to an inflammatory condition of the liver. The liver is a vital organ that has many functions including processing nutrients, filtering blood, and fighting infections.

Common complications of hepatitis

If you have hepatitis, here are some other conditions and complications you should be aware of.

1. Fibrosis

If hepatitis is left untreated, the liver will be damaged due to constant inflation forcing it to create scar tissue in order to repair itself. As excess scar tissue grows, it replaces healthy liver tissue.

Scar tissue cannot do the work that healthy liver tissue can. Moreover, scar tissue can keep blood from flowing through your liver. As more scar tissue builds up, your liver may not work as well as it once did or the healthy part of your liver is forced to work harder to make up lost function of the scarred part.

2. Liver cirrhosis

Cirrhosis is a late stage of fibrosis of the liver caused by chronic hepatitis.  The virus attacks the liver leading to permanent scarring.

As cirrhosis progresses, more and more scar tissue forms, making the liver to lose most or all its functions. This is known as liver failure or end stage liver disease.

3. Portal hypertension

Portal hypertension is a leading side effect of cirrhosis. One of the liver’s important jobs is to filter blood. Your body carries blood to your liver through a major blood vessel called the portal vein.

Veins coming from the stomach, intestine, spleen, and pancreas merge into the portal vein, which then branches into smaller vessels and travels through the liver.

Cirrhosis slows your blood flow and puts stress on the portal vein. Portal hypertension itself does not cause symptoms, but some of its consequences do. If a large amount of fluid accumulates in the abdomen, the abdomen swells (distends), sometimes noticeably and sometimes enough to make the abdomen greatly enlarged and taut. This distention can be uncomfortable or painful.

4. Liver failure

This occurs when your liver is so severely damaged that it is unable to keep up with your body’s needs. The first symptoms of liver failure are often nausea, loss of appetite, fatigue, and diarrhea. If your liver no longer functions, this can cause your body to shut down, eventually causing you to die.

5. Cancer of the liver

Liver cancer is the growth and spread of unhealthy cells in the liver. It is a complication of cirrhosis. Liver cancer may develop as one of two types: hepatocellular carcinoma and cholangiolar carcinoma. Hepatocellular carcinoma affects the liver cells, while cholangiolar carcinoma affects the bile ducts.

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