A hepatitis diagnosis doesn't have to be scary. Maintaining a healthy diet and proper medicine will keep your immune system as healthy as possible.
Hepatitis is a viral infection that latches on to cells to reproduce causing liver problems over time. How badly this affects the liver depends on the type of virus.
The liver is located behind the rib cage of the upper right corner of the abdomen and is one of the largest organs in the body. It has a lot of functions ranging from removing waste products from the blood to storing hormones.
Most Common Forms
- Hepatitis A is an acute infection that usually cures itself and not life threatening.
- Hepatitis B is a more serious form which can be chronic or acute depending on how the immune system can clear it up. The chronic form happens when the body is unable to remove all of the virus and the liver starts to weaken over time. The acute form is temporary and the body is able to remove the virus on its own.
- Hepatitis C is a chronic form of the virus that usually leads to liver failure if left untreated. It's also the most common form of liver transplants and chronic hepatitis infection in the United States.
Other Forms Of The Virus
- Hepatitis D only develops when the presents of hepatitis B in the body as an acute or chronic form.
- Hepatitis E is another acute infection that clears up on its own but is very rare in the United States.
How It Spreads
Body fluids like urine, feces, and blood are one of the most common carriers of the virus. How you come in contact depends on a number of factors:
- Illegal drug use: Drug addicts who share devices to snort drugs and needles expose themselves to infected blood. Some don't have symptoms and may not even know they have the condition.
- Unprotected sex: Having unprotected sex with someone who is infected is also an easy way of transmission.
- Sharing hygiene products: Some married couples and friends like to share hygiene products like razors and toothbrushes, but this puts their health at risk for the virus.
Expecting mothers with hepatitis can spread it to their unborn child and increase that baby's risk of cirrhosis and liver damage later on in life.
Other ways to get infected include:
- Certain prescription drugs: Some medications like painkillers and fever reducers break down in the liver causing inflammation and hepatitis infection.
- Alcoholism: Alcoholic hepatitis occurs after years of excessive drinking. Swelling and scarring of the liver develops over time. This can also happen to those who drink moderately, but doesn't develop in all drinkers.
Testing For Hepatitis
If you think you're infected, schedule a blood test to check. Only a doctor can know for sure if you have the virus.
Most Common Symptoms
Jaundice is a yellowing of the body like the skin or eyes due to a build up of bilirubin in the blood. It's not considered a disease but a symptom of liver problems. Bilirubin is a waste product that the liver removes from our blood, but the skin and eyes turn yellow when the bile ducts get blocked. Fatigue and nausea also develop over time. Notice if you also have dark urine or pail stools.
Natural Herbal Treatments
Work with a holistic doctor for herbal treatment options.
Milk thistle is recognized as one of the most important herbs to treat liver problems. Look for them in tea or capsule form online or at your local pharmacy in the nutrition section.
Burdock root is another powerful herb to cleanse the liver and support healthy cell growth.
The easiest way to take these herbs is to take them as a specialized tea. Look for labels that say anything similar to liver support or liver cleanse tea. They're usually made up of a combination of different herbs and taste bitter.
Habits To Avoid
Smoking is one of the worse habits for this infection because cigarettes are full of harmful substances that put more of a burden on your liver. Avoid second hand smoke at all costs.
Avoid fatty fried meats, sugar, table salt, and food additives.
Strengthen your immune system with exercise which helps detoxify your body. Talk to your doctor about an exercise routine, but you can start off with something simple like walking or jogging for at least 20 minutes a day.
Cleansing Fruits And Vegetables
If you're looking for the best foods to cleanse your liver, then look for fresh fruits and vegetables. Stomach acids have a hard time breaking down vegetable fiber, so using a juice extractor is beneficial. You can use a juice extractor to break down the foods into juice form for your stomach to digest it much faster.
There a wide variety of fruits and vegetables to eat for a healthier liver. Focus on foods like lemons, apples, dandelion greens, beets, carrots, and kale which help the liver clean toxins and rejuvenate liver cells. Your doctor will prescribe medication depending on what type you have.
Effective Ways To Prevent Infection
Ask your doctor to give you a series of hepatitis A and B vaccines.
Practicing safe sex with a condom decreases your chances of coming in contact if you have an infected partner.
Sometimes we think it's safe to share hygiene products with loved ones, but exposing yourself to a small amount of saliva or blood can really increase your chances of infection. Always use your own toothbrushes and razors without letting anyone else use them.
Washing your hands after using the bathroom or changing a baby's diaper is another effective way to protect your liver.
Cut down on alcohol- Alcoholics are at a higher risk of hepatitis. Moderate to excessive alcohol puts so much pressure on your liver to clean toxins that it's not able to handle and starts to weaken.
Overall, a hepatitis infection can be controlled effectively through prevention and a change in lifestyle. The sooner it's treated, the better off you'll be.