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World Hepatitis Day: What It Means For You!

By Dr. Nikita Toshi +2 more

World Hepatitis Day is on 28th July. This is the day when the whole world comes together to spread awareness regarding the disorder. This is because there are 400 million people with hepatitis globally. Not just that, it stands at number 8 in the list of diseases with high mortality rates.

What Is Hepatitis?

Hepatitis is an inflammation of the liver. The liver is responsible for a set of very important functions-

World Hepatitis Day: What It Means For You! - PharmEasy

  •   It produces a kind of bile that helps in digestion
  •   It helps in flushing away toxic matter from your body
  •   This organ helps in breaking down carbohydrates, proteins and fats
  •   It stores vitamins and minerals for the body’s use
  •   It plays a part in blood clotting

And when you get Hepatitis, your liver has trouble carrying out its duties.

In 2023 the theme is ‘We’re not waiting. On World Hepatitis Day, 28 July, we call on people around the world to take action because Hepatitis Can’t Wait. WHD is a day for the world’s hepatitis community to unite and make our voices heard. I advise everyone to get tested atleast once a year.

Dr. M.G. Kartheeka – MBBS, MD(Pediatrics)

What Are The Different Hepatitis Types?

There are 5 Hepatitis types– A, B, C, D, and E. Each is triggered by a different kind of virus.  

Hepatitis A –

Hepatitis A is caused by the Hepatitis A Virus (HAV). It is not a dangerous disease and does not last long. You may get this illness if you consume food or water that contains the faecal matter from a person infected with Hepatitis A.

Hepatitis B –

This disease is triggered by the Hepatitis B Virus. It can be transmitted to you if you come in contact with bodily fluids of an infected person such as blood, semen or vaginal fluids. Sharing razors or syringes with a person with Hepatitis B can also give you this disorder.

Hepatitis B is more dangerous than Hepatitis A and lasts longer. In India, nearly 40 million people have been diagnosed with this type of Hepatitis.

A person may e a carrier of hepatitis and may not even know. Therefore, one should be mindful of activities that involve exposure to bodily fluids and get tested when in doubt of exposure.

Dr. Arpit Verma, MBBS, MD (Pharmacology)

Hepatitis C –

Hepatitis C is the result of an infection caused by the Hepatitis C Virus or HCV. It is transmitted when you have sexual contact with a person diagnosed with Hepatitis C or if you use the same syringe. It affects 6-12 million people in India.

Hepatitis D –

This is triggered by the Hepatitis D Virus (HDV). It is the rarest kind of Hepatitis and always is accompanied by Hepatitis B.   The only way you can contract Hepatitis D is through contact with infected blood.

Hepatitis E –

Hepatitis E Virus causes this form of Hepatitis and it is water-born.   That is why the disease is especially common in those regions of the world where sanitation is inadequate.

The Autoimmune Aspect –

Hepatitis can sometimes be a result of an autoimmune response. Your immune system might see your liver as a threat and start attacking it. This will make your liver swell up.

Hepatitis if encountered in pregnancy won’t hurt your unborn baby or affect your pregnancy. If your doctor knows you have it, they can help you manage it during your pregnancy to lower the chances of any long-term liver disease for you and your baby, although Hepatitis B and D carry higher health risks.

Dr Ashish Bajaj – M.B.B.S, M.D.

What Are Some Common Hepatitis Symptoms?

There are a few signs that will indicate that you have a case of acute Hepatitis-

  • Yellow tint to your skin and eyes
  • Rapid and unexplained loss of weight
  • Fever
  • Body and muscle ache
  • Dark coloured urine
  • Your stool may become pale
  • Pain in the abdomen

A Hepatitis Screening Panel can tell you if you have contracted any of the five types of Hepatitis.

Treatment Of Hepatitis –

Hepatitis treatment is easily available-

  • You don’t require treatment for Hepatitis A because it goes away on its own. You may be ordered bed rest and rehydration fluids and fever medicines. Hepatitis A vaccines can be administered on both infants and adults.
  • Antiviral medicines can cure Hepatitis B. Hepatitis B vaccine in India is given in three rounds to infants within the first six months after their birth.
  • Hepatitis C is also treated with anti-viral drugs. No vaccines that can prevent Hepatitis C have been invented yet.
  • There are no medicines for Hepatitis D. Hepatitis B vaccine can make you immune to it.
  • Hepatitis E also disappears on its own. You will be given medicines to help with fever and pain.
  •   Autoimmune Hepatitis is treated with corticosteroids.

On World Hepatitis Day you can pledge to adopt measures that will prevent Hepatitis. Maintain personal hygiene, keep an eye on the food and water you are consuming, do not share needles or razors or toothbrushes and use protection during sex. Don’t forget to vaccinate your children, loved ones and yourself. Together we can make the world free of Hepatitis.

Also Read: What is Cirrhosis of the Liver: An In-Depth Look at Causes, Symptoms, and Treatments

Disclaimer: The information provided here is for educational/awareness purposes only and is not intended to be a substitute for medical treatment by a healthcare professional and should not be relied upon to diagnose or treat any medical condition. The reader should consult a registered medical practitioner to determine the appropriateness of the information and before consuming any medication. PharmEasy does not provide any guarantee or warranty (express or implied) regarding the accuracy, adequacy, completeness, legality, reliability or usefulness of the information; and disclaims any liability arising thereof.

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