Hepatitis is a disease of the liver that involves inflammation of liver parenchyma. It can be caused by both infectious as well as non-infectious causes. The infectious causes are most common and include mostly viral infections like Hepatitis A, Hepatitis B, and Hepatitis C.
Viral Hepatitis has been recognized as a serious public health problem by the World Health Organization (WHO), with an estimated 52 million people infected with chronic Hepatitis in the country. The disease is posing a social and economic burden on our health care system as well as on the affected families. A bigger concern with the disease is that most people infected with the virus are unaware of it. According to the latest data by WHO, 95% of people suffering from chronic Hepatitis around the world do not know that they are infected and therefore develop complications like liver cancer or cirrhosis.
It is transmitted by contaminated food and water. It is an acute infection, usually affecting children and is self-limiting.
Hepatitis B and C
The incidence of both Hepatitis B and C is on the rise due to the increase in the incidence of intravenous drug abuse, unsafe sexual practices, multiple sexual partners and sharing of needles. Both these viruses, usually cause chronic Hepatitis which can lead to liver failure (Cirrhosis) and increased risk of Hepatocellular carcinoma.
In many patients there are no symptoms and hepatitis can go undiagnosed. In some of the patients, the following symptoms can be seen: Yellowing of skin and eyes (Jaundice), Fever, Loss of appetite, Nausea and vomiting, Fatigue, Abdominal pain
Hepatitis can be diagnosed in the laboratory by the following tests:
–Liver function tests which include bilirubin along with liver enzymes like Alanine Aminotransferase and Aspartate Aminotransferase.
You can easily prevent yourself from hepatitis by following these precautions:
-Wash hands thoroughly after using the washroom and before having a meal
-Have clean drinking water
-During blood transfusions, ensure that all blood and its products are screened for Hepatitis B and C
-Do not share needles, syringes, razor blades, and other personal items
-Practice safe sex and use condoms
-Get your child vaccinated against Hepatitis B
-Get a Hepatitis screening profile test done today for a Hepatitis free tomorrow.