Hepatitis is a disease of the liver which affects millions of Americans each year. For most people, symptoms are mild and are resolved within a few weeks or months. For others, however, hepatitis is life-altering, becoming a chronic problem which causes irreparable internal damage. The diversity of causes - which range from bacteria and toxins to metabolic disorders - and their corresponding methods of transmission have made hepatitis a hard ailment to control. In recent years, vast progress has been made toward the identification, prevention and treatment of this disease. Combining scientific knowledge with practical concerns, this comprehensive guide provides a plethora of information on the broad class of diseases referred to by the collective term of hepatitis. With a view toward patient education, it discusses the history, symptoms, cause and disease course of hepatitis' various forms. Covering Hepatitis A and Hepatitis B as well as more recently discovered varieties, the text examines immune system response to the disease and its effect on liver function. Non-infectious causes such as metabolic disorders are also discussed. Practical information regarding diagnostic laboratory and imaging tests as well as conventional and alternative treatments is provided. The final chapter lists a variety of resources for anyone dealing with the reality of the disease including books, CDC publications, hepatitis organizations and foundations, drug treatment financial assistance and transplant information. An extensive glossary of medical terms and an index are also included.
Elaine A. Moore has worked in hospital laboratories for more than 30 years, primarily in immunohematology and toxicology. She is a freelance medical writer and laboratory consultant. For more information, visit her website at www.elaine-moore.com. She lives in Sedalia, Colorado.