What are the Effects of Hepatitis on the Liver?

N. Madison

Hepatitis, a condition marked by inflammation of the liver, can have devastating effects on this vital organ. Most commonly caused by a viral infection, it interferes with the liver’s ability to process wastes properly, which causes them to build up in the person’s blood and bodily tissues. This can not only cause such symptoms as itching, fever, and nausea, but also scarring of the liver tissues, liver cancer, and even liver failure. Unfortunately, a hepatitis infection can even cause the death of the patient.

A human liver.
A human liver.

Hepatitis is a serious condition that may cause permanent damage to a person’s liver and a severe decline in his health status. When a person has hepatitis, his liver becomes inflamed and unable to remove wastes from the body. The wastes build up and may cause a range of symptoms, including the yellowing of the skin and eyes, fatigue, body aches, and itching. Nausea, vomiting, fever, and soreness in the part of the abdomen that houses the liver are also among the symptoms. A person may even notice darkened urine as a result of the effects of hepatitis on the liver.

Types of liver disease, including fibrosis and cirrhosis, complications of hepatitis.
Types of liver disease, including fibrosis and cirrhosis, complications of hepatitis.

The yellowing of a person’s skin is a direct result of the effects of hepatitis on the liver. One of the wastes the inflamed liver doesn’t process properly is called bilirubin. This waste gives a yellowish tint to a person’s eyes and skin and is sometimes the first clue that something is wrong.

There are various types of hepatitis. Some are caused by viruses that can be transmitted via blood transfusions, shared drug needles, and sexual contact as well as from mother to child during childbirth. Some are transmitted via contaminated food and water. Interestingly, a person may also develop hepatitis because of medication use, excessive alcohol consumption, and injury to the liver. Some poisons and autoimmune conditions may cause it as well.

Sometimes, a person develops a short-term case of hepatitis and recovers quickly. While short-term effects of hepatitis on the liver can be serious, they are often less likely to result in the death of the patient. Chronic hepatitis, however, can lead to the gradual decline of the patient's health. For example, one of the health effects of hepatitis on the liver is irreversible scaring, and liver cancer may also develop as a complication of the condition. Liver failure caused by hepatitis may lead a patient's death.

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