Human Liver, Hepatitis A, Jaundice

The Human Liver 

The liver is an organ in vertebrates, including humans. It plays a major role in metabolism and has a number of functions in the body including glycogen storage, plasma protein synthesis, and drug detoxification. It also produces bile, which is important in digestion. It performs and regulates a wide variety of high-volume biochemical reactions requiring specialized tissues.

The adult human liver normally weighs between 1.3 – 3.0 kilograms, and is a soft, pinkish-brown “boomerang shaped” organ. It is the second largest organ (the largest organ being the skin) and the largest gland within the human body.

Its anatomical position in the body is immediately under the diaphragm on the right side of the upper abdomen. The liver lies on the right of the stomach and makes a kind of bed for the gallbladder (which stores bile).

The liver is among the few internal human organs capable of natural regeneration of lost tissue; as little as 25% of remaining liver can regenerate into a whole liver again.

Some functions of liver relating to Hepatitis:

  • The liver breaks down hemoglobin, creating metabolites that are added to bile as pigment.
  • The liver produces and excretes bile required for dissolving fats.
  • Some of the bile drains directly into the duodenum, and some is stored in the gallbladder.
  • The liver breaks down toxic substances and most medicinal products in a process called drug metabolism. This sometimes results in toxication, when the metabolite is more toxic than its precursor.
  • The liver converts ammonia to urea.

Many diseases of the liver are accompanied by jaundice caused by increased levels of bilirubin in the system. The bilirubin results from the breakup of the hemoglobin of dead red blood cells; normally, the liver removes bilirubin from the blood and excretes it through bile.

Hapatitis

Hepatitis is a gastroenterological disease (inflammation of the liver). It is caused mainly by various viruses but also by some poisons, autoimmunity or hereditary conditions.

A number of liver function tests are available to test the proper function of the liver. These test for the presence of enzymes in blood that are normally most abundant in liver tissue, metabolites or products.

Some chronic forms of hepatitis show very few of symptoms and only present when the longstanding inflammation has led to the replacement of liver cells by connective tissue; the result is cirrhosis (liver scarring). Certain liver function tests can also indicate hepatitis.

Hepatitis A 

Hepatitis A or infectious jaundice is an enterovirus transmitted by the orofecal route, transmitted to humans through methods such as contaminated food. It causes an acute form of hepatitis and does not have a chronic stage.

The patient’s immune system makes antibodies against hepatitis A that confer immunity against future infection. A vaccine is available that will prevent infection from hepatitis A for life.

Normally, it can be spread through personal contact, consumption of raw sea food or drinking contaminated water.

Hepatitis A is transmitted fecal-orally, generally by ingesting contaminated water or food. Strict personal hygiene and the avoidance of raw and unpeeled foods can help prevent an infection.

Infected persons already begin excreting the hepatitis A virus with their stool two weeks after the appearance of the first symptoms.

The time between the infection and the start of the illness can run from 15 to 45 days, and approximately 15% of sufferers may experience relapsing symptoms from six months to a year following initial diagnosis.

Hepatitis A is caused by the Hepatitis A Virus (abbreviated HAV). Only 3 out of 4 people with Hepatitis A have symptoms. Those symptoms may include:

  • Jaundice (showing up first as yellow eyes)
  • Dark urine
  • Nausea
  • Fever
  • Fatigue
  • Loss of appetite
  • Stomach ache
  • Vomiting
  • Itchiness

Ways to prevent hepatitis A include the following:

  • Wash hands with soap and warm water before preparing or eating food, and after sexual activity.
  • Keep bathrooms clean and disinfected after every use.
  • Cook shellfish thoroughly before eating.
  • Drink water from approved sources only.
  • Use a dental dam or sheet of plastic wrap during anilingus.

Recovery

There is no specific treatment for Hepatitis A. Sufferers are advised to rest, avoid alcohol, eat a well-balanced diet, and stay hydrated. Approximately 15% of people diagnosed with Hepatitis A may experience a symptomatic relapse for up to nine months after contracting the disease.

Young children who catch hepatitis A often have a milder form of the disease, usually lasting from 1-3 weeks, whereas adults tend to experience a much more severe form of the disease.

They are often confined to bed and minimal activity for about 4 weeks and have to stop their work for one to three months or longer. Many adults take up to 6-12 months and occasionally longer to recover entirely. Symptoms that may be experienced after the first month or two are low immunity: It is much easier to catch minor infections and for these infections to linger longer than they normally would.

Many people experience a slow but sure improvement, over this later period. They are generally able to function fairly normally, still needing more sleep and reduced athletic activity. It is common for recovering patients to experience occasional “off” days, during which they need to rest more.

Jaundice

Jaundice is a yellowing of the skin, sclera (the white of the eyes) and mucous membranes caused by increased levels of bilirubin in the human body (or the body of another red blooded animal).

When red blood cells die, the heme in their hemoglobin is converted to bilirubin in the spleen and in the hepatocytes in the liver. The bilirubin is processed by the liver, enters bile and is eventually excreted through feces.

Consequently, there are three different classes of causes for jaundice. Pre-hepatic or hemolytic causes, where too many red blood cells are broken down, hepatic causes where the processing of bilirubin in the liver does not function correctly, and post-hepatic or extrahepatic causes, where the removal of bile is disturbed.

Hepatic causes include acute hepatitis, hepatotoxicity and alcoholic liver disease, whereby cell necrosis reduces the liver’s ability to metabolise and excrete bilirubin leading to a build up in the blood.

Jaundice seen in the newborn, known as neonatal jaudice, is common, occuring in almost every newborn as hepatic machinery for the conjugation and excretion of bilirubin does not fully mature until approximately two weeks of age.

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27 September 2006. Health.

58 Comments

  1. wayne replied:

    well my girlfriend is in her bed now as we speak and one day coming home from work she felt ill and had to go to the doctors the doctor put her to hospital and done tests on her to find out what is wrong and the rusults came back as her liver is not working properley
    and she found out this while in hospital now that she is out of hospital shes allways tired and expierences bad headachs please help me to understand as i am so upset i cant cope ,, when she sleeps then she has energy and then when she stands up she can only do it for 20 mins and then its back to bed ,please help me

  2. LinDa replied:

    Hi wayne, I’m not a doctor myself so I can’t give you much proper advice.

    Has the doctor done a blood test and liver scan? If the liver is not functioning properly, much can be tell by a blood test and a liver scan to determine what’s wrong.

    There are many reasons which you can find from wikipedia under liver. Just google/yahoo on it.

    I did feel extremely unwell and was practically sleeping all the way in the first week.

    Its been about 6 weeks and I’m feeling all right now. My case is just Hepatitis A which is the least worrying of all liver infections.

    Please get your girlfriend to seek a specialist advice if the doctors in the hospital cannot detect the abnormality.

    Best regards!

  3. Jaya replied:

    Hi,

    My hubby has been detected with Hepatitis A,what do you suggest as his best way of getting it away.

  4. LinDa replied:

    hi, if its being diagnosed, there is no getting it away. i’ve done research online when i caught it and it all says rest is the best way. don’t over exert. its only real terrible during the first 2 weeks. after that, its less torturous as you just feel lethargic most of the time, hard to concentrate, weak, poor appetite. but the jaundice can be a bit more tricky as it made me feel real itchy all over now and then. most important is still rest as liver is self-healing, there is no medicine for it. take care!

  5. myra replied:

    hi Linda! don’t worry, i dont have any liver infection problems to ask about. i just want you to know that ur blog on hepatitis A helped a lot in doing our research. I am a 3rd yr. pharmacy student and we will be reporting about that topic later this month. thanks to you. be healthy always!=)

  6. LinDa replied:

    hi myra, student from singapore? i’m glad to be of help! :)

  7. sokhor replied:

    I want to know the function of the human liver.
    From Rov Sokhor,second year of medicine universety of Cambodia.

  8. LinDa replied:

    Just wikipedia on it. Lots of information there! :)

  9. ina replied:

    Your blog was a godsend! Excellent information. My 16 year old son was diagnosed with Hepatitis A 8 days ago.
    At first he had no appetite but now he’s starting
    to get it back. Can you suggest a good diet during
    this early period? Is it alright to give him meat,chicken and fish?

    Thanks and all the best from Cairo!

    • Ravi Kumar replied:

      As your son is now 16 years old, If he has Hepatitis A now, Please advise him to follow a strict diet atleast for 6 months to cure the infected liver completely. Eat lots of different types of fruits and vegetables. Drink well made Sugarcane juice,mosambi juice. Drink a small cup of lime juice everyday in the morning as it is very helpful for jaundies peoples. U can have it with honey also. Please dont give him meat as it contains fat and its hard to digest. Be in rest for 4-6 weeks. Dont do any physical activity. Give your liver a complete rest. But plsssssssss I will tell you, avoid eating oily and fried foods. Use hygenic foods only. Boil and eat. Boil the water and drink. Avoid outside foods completely. Dont eat spicy foods. If you follow this diet strictly for next 6 months. U will be completely normal. Hepatitis A is not at all a dangerous one. It can be cured by itself. But it takes time

  10. LinDa replied:

    I think its meat, chicken and fish is fine. Just have small portions of the food.

  11. Xecutioner replied:

    Hi all !!!
    I suffered from Jaundice twice in two years . Last time I was diagnosed with HEV or Hepatitis E . Now I suffered with HAV . So U guys can ask me anything U wanna knw coz I suffered more than I could explain . Btw got vaccinated myself with Hepatatis B . God kws why didnt I vaccinated against HAV . But get Vaccinated and stay safe thats my sincere request to all ! Two seconds of pain is better than two months of suffering !!!

  12. cyrus replied:

    Hi, I was wondering having fish in regular food scheduale more than normal could be harmful to liver …another words eating more fishes can cause a sort of disorder to liver ?

  13. cyrus replied:

    I hereby need to declare that Im a healthy and atheletic person and have no illness sindrom at all.

  14. LinDa replied:

    hi, honestly i have no idea. not doctor. :)

  15. chendu replied:

    What is the diet to be followed by the person suffering from jaundice?

  16. LinDa replied:

    Just Wikipedia it. Lots of information there!

  17. Ramjesh replied:

    Hello all,
    My spouse couple was affected with a sort of jaundice. We are still in the process of doing blood test. He has all the symptoms that describs for Jaundice. But waiting for the blood test results. Mean while I would like to know whether I will be also get affected to this decease when am beside him. Like while eating sleeping and all other times.

  18. LinDa replied:

    Hi, I don’t think jaundice is transmittable but best if you can google or wikipedia on it. Take care!

  19. rahul vasu replied:

    hi, im rahul from india and i got jaundice on 19th july 2008 and its one month over now when it will take to recover for jaundice and how many days???

  20. LinDa replied:

    i really don’t know. trying wikipedia-ing. take care..

  21. Paddy replied:

    IT was very nice to get so much of information about the Small Word Jaundice….. i was affected it with the same a month back …..i was just wondering …. that y exactly a patient is advised to take rest ….i can understand with the initial stage ….but after a month . i think he should get back to a normal ..routine …if u have any Idea ..plz do mail me up abt the same ….w8ing for ur reply …..

    thanks for the info ….and best luck for the future ..and another please keep doing such good things …so thats useful for the people like us ….thanks a lot ….

  22. G.p replied:

    jaundice is a symptom and not a dissease it my be either hepatitis ABCDE or gall stone or obstructive jaunice any way u have to make a blood profile markers on sgot sgpt bilirubin and all hepatitis markers and make ultrasound to detect size of the liver ,and about hav no treatmeant except rest well balanced diet and little protin and oil never to be used and u have to see a doctor once weekly to be away from complication like fluminant hepatitis but in children it ay pass witout appearance of symptom

  23. branden replied:

    yes does jaundice go away on adults by its self and if so how long..

  24. sneh replied:

    hey guys
    i sort of am suffering from jaundice right now.

    but on the path of recovery. been drinking lots of water (my doctor advised 8-10 liters, yeah thats hard to reach), told me to avoid oil, spicy food,

    1st 2 weeks totally on boiled food, especially i would say take lots of RADISH and try drinking the juice of it’s leaves. it tastes really awefull but its the only way to reduce the goddamn BILIRUBIN.

    trust me drinking water doesn’t lower it. keep resting and dont go hard on ur liver.
    stay on oilfree and spicy free diet for 2-3 months to get back on track……….

    get ur blood tests for sgpt and bilirubin done to keep track…..

  25. Dinesh replied:

    Dear All,
    I am suffering from jaundice(hepatitis-A) since one month and i am recovering , Is it ok to eat chicken now.

    please reply

    • Ravi Kumar replied:

      No. Wait atleast for another 4-5 months

  26. oghogho replied:

    I lost my mum in April 2009 & the doctors said she had hepatitis/jaundice but according to your explanation its not a killer disease I don’t really understand.

  27. heillSepenoli replied:

    If you live in Weston Florida and plan on refinancing an existing mortgage or get a new mortgage beware of scam artist Tulio J. Rodriguez. This so called “Mortgage & Finance Specialist” will tell you just about anything to get your business. His group of scavengers “Real Estate Agents and Mortgage Specialists” lie through their teeth to take your money.

  28. ifra replied:

    i have been sufferng frm jaundice a mnth bak im fine nw bt recently agn my stomach aches badly as soon as i eat my food n passes stool many times a day !!! can any1 tel wts d reason

    • abdul khalique replied:

      you must consult your doctor soon.your lever is still malfunctioning.Medical tests is the best way to diagonse the actual problem.I hope that you will be 100% fit in near future.

    • Ravi Kumar replied:

      Even if you feel now that you are alright, your liver will not be alright. It takes time to completely recover the liver. Still you should be on a strict diet for 6 months after u get Jaundice. If you are not on diet, You will get these types of problems

      • Dzaster replied:

        Mr. Ravi Kumar, I really need to talk to you, really. I’ve had Jaundice a month back, and I really need to talk to you. Please do reply to this comment, I would be greatly thankful…! This post is most helpful amongst all the posts I’ve till now seen on the net..>! Please reply…!

  29. anusha replied:

    iam 17 years old. my normal body weight is 43 but after iam effected by jaundice my weight is 39. iam suffering frm jaundice frm 1 month. now i did not get my periods. every month i used 2 get my periods in time. but dis month iam late by 14days nd still i did not get my periods. can i know y. and what shud i do 2 get my periods?

  30. Ticybricy replied:

    Hi . . Ive had jaundice for about 3 weeks. Can anybody tell me when it will go away? I need to get back to work and I refuse to go looking like this.

  31. ajay replied:

    hi

  32. ajay replied:

    Hello all
    can some one help me
    I m suffreing from a jauindice since my childhood all time my eyes and urine get yellow in alopathic doctor said that the extrabilirubin in your body is waste and it have not any impact in your body but why it is generating in liver doctor did not said
    in My last test report my Bilirubin was showing 5.8 and SGPT 38
    Even I have no problem with that but all time my eyes and urin get yellow this thing keep me sepreate from normal human being
    I want to get rid of that please suggest me the best doctor or treatment

    if some one has seen such cases is cureable then please reply

    Ajay Rayal
    9760855892

  33. Dzaster replied:

    I had jaundice one month ago…There were no symptoms except I could not walk because it felt like I was straining on my abdomen. The bilirubin was 1.59 and the doctor said it’s the starting of Jaundice with a little inflammation. Now, can I eat the following foods? Bananas, Milk, Apples, Raddish, Chicken, Pulses, Groundnut, Honey, Almonds? Also, since then my stools are very soft, not as hard as I had before the disease. When I eat anything unsuitable, then they get even softer..Please, please, do reply to this post and share any information that you think might help me….Please, please, I need advice…! This is a really great post…I would really appreciate any suggestions…! Please help and you can mail me at blasterdzaster@yahoo.com I would really be greatful for any help…! Thanks in advance..!

  34. lucy replied:

    very helpful

  35. shrudi replied:

    hi… i have jaundice since almost 2 months… n my sgpt levels are not still normal… its 106… moreover i even have renal calculi since a month… and i m just 16…. so what should i do to recover?? please reply!

  36. conelson replied:

    Pls i have heppatitis A according to d doctor.i don’t eat very well bcos so many people have been telling me not to eat this not to eat that,i don’t know what to do.i was told not to eat any oily food,protienious food,fried food,any thing animal apart from smoked fish or dry fish that i can’t eat fresh fish.pls advice me on what to eat and drink.am from Nigeria

  37. Rahil replied:

    Hi,

    I’m 22 yr male,i was contracted with jaundice 20 days ago my bilirubin count was 4.8 at first now it has come down to 1.2, so can u suggest me the diet now?and can i have little bit oil in food or not ?and still for how many days i should follow the diet?

    • abc replied:

      little bit oil in food is ok…infact it is needed.. so dont completly stop ur oil intake..but u need to avoid oily food like chips etc almost for 6 months…drink lot of water…even have some sugarcane juice everyday…good luck!! get well soon!!

    • Terrance replied:

      Same as my wyf but the doctor says go to e scan e report is there is more water in the pelvis

  38. bhavesh replied:

    hi ..
    i have been suffering from hep A and have yellowness in the whites of my eye. My symptoms are only dizziness and the rest is fine. i am on a boiled food diet from last few days . would anyone please tell me for how many days do i need to continue on this diet ?
    Also i work in food and handling and have taken time off work , when can i start work again ? please help if anyone has been through the same situation. thank you so much ..

  39. virender singh replied:

    hi,
    i am suffering frm mild jaundice from 10 days,my symptoms are mild fever and tiredness.I want to know that how much time fever will take to completly go and professionaly i am a sportsman so what type of activties should i go for now.please do reply soon..

  40. vignesh wara replied:

    hi my name is vignesh I m having hepatitis a ……how long ll it take to cure

  41. vignesh wara replied:

    hi I am hepatitis a and I m having bilirubin count of11.6 is it curable ….pls help me with what foods to eat

  42. vignesh wara replied:

    i m having bilirubin count of11.6 is it curable ….

  43. Mis Khinda replied:

    Hi

    M havin HAV 4 abt wik now. My symptons were nt havin apetite, vomiting, dyreah, itching, yellow eyes n skin, i was even vomiting when i smell any perfum or fried food, filin deasy, being moody n dark urine.

    One day my legs couldn’t move, my eyes a bit going blind, mmhe*laughing* i remember prayin ,”m nt going blind in the name of Jesus nd m nt criple i m walking in the name of Jesus”

    My doctor adviced me nt 2 eat fats food, animal food, no spicy food and any yellow food e.g orange,eggs etc. I must only eat boiled food and drink lots of boiled water plus i must have a bed rest.

    And the more i drink water i get better 4 a liver it heals it’self.

    Now my question is, is it ok 2 sleep with my five year old son coz he wants to nd i heared dat HAV is transfereble, wont he get infected? Plz help!

  44. manjusha.bonam replied:

    i suffered from jaundice 6 months ago..I followed diet prefferd now I wanted to eat chicken but here the problem is i suffered jaundice repeatedly from 2 years with a gap of 1 year..I sufferd in 2010 again in 2012..can u plz suggest whether i can eat chicken

  45. kunal replied:

    i had hav a month back…i am absolutely fine now…only the ithching is still there…i dnt feel tired or weak..i am eating everything.fried,boiled,chicken,fish,etc,etc..my biluruben level was 27 on 3rd nov 2012..i am just fine..cause the doc told me the only way to get better was to eat…in the beginning i used to puke out everything i ate.but that did not stop me..i put on 12 kgs in the last month..i feel fit as a horse..so guys,remember…dnt think about the disease,,dnt worry about it..just live a normal life..thats the only way to recover…and yes have whey protein as it help you repair your liver..

  46. vir replied:

    hi! i m vir.
    i would like to know what is the dangerous level of jaundice? i got my sgpt ,and blood test done it shows TOTAL BILIRUBIN 12.70,WHEREAS DIRECT BILIRUBIN-9.84 AND SGPT(ALT)-3153.5,I know its high but am i sitting on volcano??and well how to recover quickly?

  47. vishnu replied:

    im suffering from jaundice last 9 months how i knw wht i got hepatitisA, hepatitisB, and hepatitis C..

  48. E.A.Mahdi replied:

    Hi
    I’m 40 years female
    I suffered from hepatitis A 8 months ago,although I’d recovered but still have days of hard fatigue accompanied with increased yellowness of sclera and skin,is this normal,why it happens
    My blood tests came out normal after 3 monthes from the start of infection
    Thank you

  49. ปวดหลัง replied:

    These conditions are primarily inflammatory in nature, which can cause ESR levels
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