Hepatitis is a liver disease. That’s the simplest definition of hepatitis. However, the disease isn’t simple at all. It is one of the most dangerous and life-threatening diseases in the world.
According to WHO, the World Health Organization, about 620,000 people die every year from hepatitis B only.
And this figure is when, we, the humans, have access to hepatitis B vaccine. FYI, hep B vaccine has been available across the globe since 1982. In most countries, it is included in the government healthcare program and is available for free
As the world observes the World Hepatitis Day on July 28, 2017, this blog underlines some of the facts, symptoms, causes and available treatments for different types of hepatitis with an intent to spread awareness about the disease and a few tips on how it can be prevented by following a healthy lifestyle.
In the language of medical science, hepatitis is the inflammation of liver. The most common symptom of hepatitis is yellowing of the skin and the white part of the eyes. The color of urine also turns yellow.
But, that aren’t the symptoms of hepatitis only. Jaundice and the treacherous Yellow Fever also have same symptoms. We will talk about basic and unique symptoms of hepatitis in the later sections of the blog. For now, let’s dig deeper what this disease is and how it happens.
The inflammation of liver tissues can be temporary as well as long term depending on the overall health condition and lifestyle of the sufferer. The short-term or acute hepatitis at times recovers by itself, however, can also develop into chronic hepatitis. It can result into complete liver damage or liver cancer as well. That’s the reason why even the most insignificant symptom of hepatitis needs early and immediate diagnosis and medical attention.
The most significant cause of hepatitis is viral or virus infection. There are five types of hepatitis through viral infection – A, B, C, D and E. Consider the table below –
The following infographic will help you understand some of the common and unique symptoms of hepatitis infection –
Characteristically, hepatitis happens because of lifestyle habits, drug and alcohol use, sexual practices and a variety of medical conditions and medications. Additionally, as said earlier, virus is the most common cause of hepatitis infection.
Government has set up several vaccination programs to prevent the spread and inflammation of hepatitis. However, the vaccines are available for the prevention of hep A and B only – not for hepatitis C and D. Vaccine for hep E has been developed reportedly, but is not accessible for public as of now.
Under the Hep A vaccination program, individuals should get two doses of the shots at six to eighteen months’ gap. Children between 12 months and 23 months should get the first dose of vaccine.
If considering Hepatitis B prevention, you should take three to four shots. Children should be given Hep B vaccine at the time of birth and complete the vaccination series by the time they are 6 months old.
Adults should consult their doctors before undergoing a vaccination program.
Before providing treatment for hepatitis, a physician would take a patient through various tests. These lab tests help the doctor ensure the exact medical condition of the patient and determine the right treatment approach for him/her.
As can be seen in the table above, hep A and E are curable or recoverable conditions. Patients suffering from type A & E hepatitis get well on their own within a few weeks. However, recovery totally depends on their precautions and lifestyle.
Best lifestyle practices for the cure of Hepatitis A and E are – complete bed rest, distancing oneself from alcohol and drugs, and medication.
The treatment of hepatitis B includes high-capacity medication along with bed rest and strict distancing from alcohol and drug.
Antiviral medications are used for the treatment of HCV. However, there is no denying that there is no vaccine available for the treatment or prevention of hepatitis C virus.
There is no vaccine and antiviral medication for hepatitis D. But since it is a worsened version of Hepatitis B infection, hep B vaccine is broadly used for the prevention of hep D in patients suffering from hep B.
Noticeably, in case of liver failure due to hepatitis B, C or D, liver transplant can be considered by doctors depending on the health condition of a patient.
To conclude, here are a few tips to prevent Hepatitis infection –
See your doctor if you feel unwell, especially if it is about your digestive system or stomach. If you notice a change in urine or stool color, then also, it is time to visit to your physician. To make sure you are safe and away from hepatitis diseases, your doctor will need your diagnosis report.
RealLab is here to help you fight against the epidemic of hepatitis. Let’s take a pledge to fight against hepatitis this World Hepatitis Day. Know it. Fight it!