26-year old Neeta was experiencing nausea, fatigue and abdominal pain. She had a young baby to take care of and worked for two-three shifts twice a week. She, therefore, assumed that the tiredness maybe because of her lifestyle. With time she was not able to tolerate most of the food items and went to see a doctor. She was diagnosed with hepatitis B but even after treatment she continued to suffer disabling fatigue and relapses. Eventually, she found a specialist who reassured her of her recovery and this motivated her to learn more about hepatitis B and spread awareness. She worked to keep her hopes and dreams intact, despite the chronic infection, and is today leading a normal life.
World Hepatitis Day, organised by World Health Organization (WHO), is celebrated on July 28th every year to raise awareness about viral hepatitis, and to call for access to treatment, better prevention programs and government action.
- Viral hepatitis is caused by 5 distinct hepatitis viruses.
- Infection from these viruses results in approximately 1.34 million deaths each year.
Liver damage caused by hepatitis
Hepatitis causes injury to the liver with inflammation of the liver cells. The most common forms are hepatitis A, B, and C. It is important for everyone to be aware of hepatitis and to learn how they can protect themselves from being infected.
What are the different types of hepatitis?The initial symptoms of hepatitis are similar to those of flu. Here is a list of the main types of hepatitis and the causative agent of hepatitis.
- Hepatitis A is caused by consuming contaminated food or water and is highly contagious.
- Hepatitis B is a sexually transmitted disease spread through infected blood and bodily fluids, and an infected mother can pass the virus to her baby during her pregnancy.
- Hepatitis C is commonly spread via direct contact with the blood of a person who has the disease.
- A person can only become infected with hepatitis D if they are already infected with hepatitis B.
- A person can become infected with the hepatitis E virus (HEV) by drinking contaminated water.
- Hepatitis G is another type of hepatitis caused by a specific virus (HGV).
Common hepatitis symptoms to look out for
Hepatitis can cause mild symptoms or none at all. Fatigue, nausea, poor appetite, belly pain, a mild fever, or yellow skin or eyes (jaundice) can be symptoms of hepatitis A, B, and C. Once the patient gets worse, there are other indicators depending on the type of hepatitis.
Hepatitis treatment and prevention
If a test says you have viral hepatitis, you can take steps to protect the ones you love.
- For hepatitis A, there is no specific treatment. Abstain from alcohol and drugs during the recovery. Prevention measures include washing hands frequently, consuming cooked food, and not eating/drinking at places where you are unsure of local sanitation.
- For hepatitis B, take a high protein and carbohydrate diet and rest. Doctors can prescribe anti-viral agents if the condition is severe. Ask your family members to get a hepatitis B vaccine. Prevention measures include practising safe intercourse and allowing well-sterilised syringes, tattoo etc. to get into your skin.
- For hepatitis C, adding vitamin B12 to standard anti-viral treatment can improve the recovery significantly. Prevention measures include avoiding alcohol, covering open wounds, and not sharing drug equipment.
- Avoid sharing nail clippers, razors, or toothbrushes.
- Hepatitis D or E do not have any effective treatment yet. Prevention of Hepatitis D can be achieved by practising measures for Hepatitis B prevention.
Did you know?
Globally, around 250 million people are affected by hepatitis C and 300 million people are estimated to be hepatitis B carriers.
- World Health Organization. Accessed July 24, 2015.
- World Hepatitis Day.Org. Accessed July 23, 2015.
- Medical News Today. Accessed July 24, 2015.[av_promobox button='yes' label='Book a Consultation with a Specialist' link='https://www.medibuddy.in/?utm_source=blog_cta&utm_medium=blog' link_target='' color='blue' custom_bg='#f00' custom_font='#ffffff' size='large' icon_select='no' icon='ue800' font='entypo-fontello']Blood tests can determine the type of viral hepatitis if you are infected from any.
If the infection is diagnosed, monitored, and treated, you can stay one step ahead of the virus[/av_promobox]