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Connection Between Addiction and Hepatitis

Inflammation of the liver is known as Hepatitis. Hepatitis can be brought on by several drugs, autoimmune diseases, or infections like bacteria, viruses, or parasites. People who use drugs or alcohol have a higher chance of getting viral Hepatitis. 

Alcohol abuse is the leading cause of alcoholic Hepatitis. The liver breaks down alcohol. Therefore, it could suffer significant harm if you consume more alcohol than your liver can handle over time.

Risky sexual behavior, which usually goes hand in hand with drug use, raises your risk of getting HBV and, less frequently, HCV. In addition, because they are exposed to bodily fluids from other infected individuals through shared needles and other drug preparation equipment, those who inject drugs are at a high risk of developing HBV and HCV. 

Additionally, people who inject drugs frequently engage in this risky behavior, which can raise their chances of contracting viral Hepatitis because drug use frequently affects judgment.

Types of Hepatitis:

The most prevalent viral hepatitis infections are hepatitis B (HBV) and hepatitis C (HCV), spread by drug users, particularly those who inject drugs, through their occasionally dangerous behaviors.

  • Hepatitis spread by contaminated blood is called the Hepatitis C virus (HCV). The leading factor in liver cancer and liver transplants is hepatitis C.

Chronic hepatitis C is the hepatitis C virus infection that lasts for a long time. Until the virus injures the liver to the point that it results in the signs and symptoms of liver disease, chronic hepatitis C is typically a “silent” infection for many years.

Some warning signs and symptoms are:

  1. Fluid buildup in your abdomen (ascites).
  2. Swelling in your legs.
  3. Skin and eye discoloration in the color of yellow (jaundice).
  4. Urine with a deep color.
  5. Bleeding easily.
  6. Bruising easily.
  7. Fatigue.
  8. Lack of appetite.
  • The hepatitis B virus causes hepatitis B, a potentially fatal liver infection (HBV).

Warning signs and symptoms are similar to that of Hepatitis B. In addition, one can suffer:

  1. Yellowing of your skin and the whites of your eyes (jaundice).
  2. Fever.
  3. Joint pain.
  4. Nausea and vomiting.

What are the side effects of Hepatitis, and what happens when Hepatitis is not treated?

Hepatitis can cause a progressive breakdown and liver dysfunction if not treated. In addition, hepatocellular carcinoma, a form of liver cancer, can potentially result from it. Roughly 65 percent of liver malignancies globally are linked to HBV and HCV infections.

Fibrosis, a disorder brought on by liver scarring, is one of the most common complications of chronic Hepatitis. In situations of fibrosis, the liver is continually inflamed, causing damage that the liver attempts to repair by producing scar tissue. However, this scar tissue prevents the liver from functioning as well as it previously did. 

On the other hand, the rest of the liver can work harder, so operations are normally carried out if fibrosis is promptly treated and kept to a small area of the organ. When fibrosis progresses and widens, it is referred to as cirrhosis. A severe but not frequent complication of Hepatitis is liver failure. Distinct words, such as fulminant liver failure, fulminant hepatic failure, or acute liver failure, are used by doctors to describe different types of liver failure. Your body will shut down if your liver stops working, which will ultimately be fatal.

A kidney condition known as glomerulonephritis is brought on by inflammation, which is frequently linked to an immunological response. People with chronic hepatitis B and C infections may experience it. If left untreated, the inflammation could worsen and seriously harm your kidneys.

Hepatitis Screening:

Although the number of new HBV and HCV infections has decreased recently, there are still a significant number of people with chronic hepatitis infections, and the number of fatalities brought on by untreated chronic hepatitis infections has been rising. This situation underlines the need for viral hepatitis screening since most people do not become aware of their infection until the illness has already started to harm the liver. In addition, people who have used drugs in the past are typically at higher risk and should talk to their healthcare professionals about it.

Antibody tests are used in the initial screening for HBV or HCV, which determine whether you have been exposed to the hepatitis virus but not necessarily whether you are currently infected. 

After a positive antibody test, a test to determine how much virus is in your blood should be performed. You should consult a doctor specializing in treating viral Hepatitis for advice if the results of this follow-up test are positive.

Treatment and Recovery:

Hepatitis C is treatable. But treating it hasn’t always been straightforward or convenient. For many years, you need uncomfortable injections of the drug interferon and the tablet ribavirin. These medications didn’t work against the illness-causing virus. Instead, they boosted your immune system so that you could combat it in the same manner that you would get the flu.

However, the treatment doesn’t always remove the virus from your body. The cure rate was roughly 50%. Additionally, many of those who completed the year-long course of treatment had to deal with chemo-like side effects.

Acute hepatitis B has no specific treatment. Therefore, treatment focuses on preserving comfort and a balanced diet and replacing fluids lost to vomiting and diarrhea. The avoidance of unneeded drugs is crucial. Avoid using acetaminophen, paracetamol, and anti-vomiting medications. Adopting a healthy lifestyle is crucial to stop the infection from worsening. One should avoid drinking and abusing drugs since they tax the liver. Getting plenty of rest, eating well, and engaging in physical activities like playing sports and working out is essential for recovery. Avoid blood donations and risky activities like sharing needles when taking drugs or engaging in unprotected sex to protect others.

Addiction-related health problems can be challenging to manage. Rehab facilities are incredibly beneficial in the treatment of substance addiction. 

Make contact with a treatment professional very away so they can explain your therapy options to you and help you. 

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