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What is Hepatitis?

Last modified: 26th July 2021
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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 of medications, drugs, toxins, and alcohol. 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, and drugs
  • breakdown of carbohydrates, fats, and proteins
  • activation of enzymes, which are specialised 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

Many people don’t even know that they have hepatitis.

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