World Hepatitis Day

400 million people live with Hepatitis. 325 million people are living with chronic viral hepatitis B & C infection worldwide.

  • 400 million people live with Hepatitis
  • 325 million people are living with chronic viral hepatitis B and C infections worldwide
  • 6 -10 million people are newly infected annually
  • An estimated 95% of people with hepatitis do not know there are infected

WHAT IS HEPATITIS?

It is an inflammation of the liver, characterized by the presence of inflammatory cells in liver tissue mainly caused by viruses; hence it is also known as Viral Hepatitis. Not all Viral Hepatitis cause long term infections but certain types become chronic, lifelong infections and can lead to serious Liver damage, Cirrhosis and even Liver Cancer.

SYMPTOMS

  • Fatigue
  • Sudden nausea and vomiting
  • Abdominal pain or discomfort on the upper right side
  • Clay-colored bowel movements
  • Intense itching
  • Loss of appetite
  • Low-grade fever
  • Yellowing of the skin and the whites of your eyes (jaundice)
  • Dark urine
  • Joint pain

CAUSES

Hepatitis infections are most commonly caused by a group of five known viruses designated A-E.

Other possible causes include:

  • Excessive consumption of alcohol
  • In some cases, immune system identifies the liver as a foreign object and begins to attack and causes inflammation
  • Metabolic disorders

TYPES OF HEPATITIS:

There are three major types of Hepatitis. The symptoms seen for the Hepatitis are similar but the treatment options are determined based on the type of the virus and whether it is acute or chronic.

  • Hepatitis A (HAV) - is caused by the Hepatitis A virus and is one of the major causes of food-related infections and illnesses. It appears as an acute infection and doesn't cause chronic liver diseases. Vaccination is available and usually resolved within 2 months of infection.
  • Hepatitis B (HBV) - is a chronic Liver inflammation caused by the Hepatitis B virus. It is potentially life-threatening infection leading to severe Liver conditions like Cirrhosis and Liver cancer. Vaccination is available for Hepatitis B.

  • Hepatitis C (HCV) - is a long term infection caused by the Hepatitis C virus. People become infected with the Hepatitis C virus by sharing needles or other equipment to inject drugs. There is no vaccination available for Hepatitis C.

Other Less common types of Hepatitis are:

  • Hepatitis D - is caused by the Hepatitis D virus and occurs when a person is infected with Hepatitis B.
  • Hepatitis E - is self-limiting liver inflammation caused by the Hepatitis E virus and usually associated with water contamination.
  • Autoimmune Hepatitis - is a chronic, autoimmune disease of the Liver that occurs when the body's immune system attacks Liver cells causing the liver to be inflamed. Treatment of Autoimmune Hepatitis involves the prescription of immunosuppressive glucocorticoids.

DIAGNOSIS:

Common tests that help diagnose Hepatitis are:

  • Liver function tests (AST and ALT elevated out of proportion to alkaline phosphatase, usually with hyperbilirubinemia)
  • Viral serologic testing
  • PT/INR measurement
  • Ultrasound
  • Liver biopsy

TREATMENT
Treatment for Hepatitis is determined based on the type and stage of the viral infection:

  • Interferon injections – Most common treatment to manage and slow diseases progression
  • Anti-viral Drugs – Early treatment can stop the chronic infection and prevent Liver Cirrhosis
  • Liver transplant – If the liver is severely damaged, a liver transplant may be an option

COMPLICATIONS OF HEPATITIS

Hepatitis can progress to further complicated diseases. Some of the most common complications of Chronic Hepatitis are:

  • Fibrosis
  • Cirrhosis
  • Liver cancer
  • Liver failure

PREVENTION

Viral Hepatitis can be prevented through hygienic lifestyle and other precautionary measures like:

  • Getting Vaccinated
  • Safe Blood transfusion
  • Safe Injection
  • Don't share or re-use sharp objects or syringes

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