Hepatitis refers to an inflammatory condition of the liver. It’s commonly caused by a viral infection, but there are other possible causes of hepatitis. These include autoimmune hepatitis and hepatitis that occurs as a secondary result. Autoimmune hepatitis is a disease that occurs when your body makes antibodies against your liver tissue.
Your liver is located in the right upper area of your abdomen. It performs many critical functions that affect metabolism throughout your body, including:
bile production, which is essential to digestion
filtering of toxins from your body
excretion of bilirubin (a product of broken-down red blood cells), cholesterol, hormones
breakdown of carbohydrates, fats, and proteins
activation of enzymes, which are specialized proteins essential to body functions
storage of glycogen (a form of sugar), minerals, and vitamins (A, D, E, and K)
synthesis of blood proteins, such as albumin
synthesis of clotting factors
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)Trusted Source, approximately 4.4 million Americans are currently living with chronic hepatitis B and C. Many more people don’t even know that they have hepatitis.
Treatment options vary depending on which type of hepatitis you have. You can prevent some forms of hepatitis through immunizations and lifestyle precautions.