Hepatitis is an inflammation of the liver. Its viral kind is further classified as type A, B, C, D or E. Hepatitis A is brought about by fecal matter contamination in food or water. On the other hand, Hepatitis B is spread through blood and body fluids like saliva, semen and vaginal discharge. Lastly, Hepatitis C can also be spread through blood, specifically with intravenous drug injections or blood transfusion. This disease can lead to death, but early diagnosis and treatment can prevent serious implications.
While there is a notion that Hepatitis is a common disease, there are still many things people do not know about it. Read on to find out the important facts you should know about Hepatitis:
Hepatitis is a global public health threat
The World Health Organization reports that viral hepatitis has caused 1.34 million deaths in 2015. Most deaths were due to complications like chronic liver disease and liver cancer. The organization further disclosed that an estimated 257 million people are living with chronic hepatitis B infection. In terms of the number of people with chronic hepatitis C infection worldwide, there are 71 million individuals according to WHO.
It may not display symptoms
People with hepatitis don’t know that they already have it. There are cases where people with hepatitis do not present with common symptoms like jaundice or the yellowing of the skin. Asymptomatic patients are only informed about them having hepatitis after going through a series of blood tests.
It can be obtained from dirty food and water
Hepatitis A and E can be obtained by eating food and drinking water contaminated with hepatitis viruses. Food that were poorly cooked and those made in unsanitary conditions are most likely to cause hepatitis. It is especially true if you frequently consume this kind of food. Moreover, the disease can also be obtained from flooded areas and other places where hepatitis viruses tend to thrive. Thus, good hygiene together with careful food and beverage consumption are the solutions to lessen the chances of getting hepatitis.
Some types can lead to cancer
Inflammation from long-term hepatitis, a common complication among those with Hepatitis B and C, can lead to cell damage and liver cancer. If you have a family history of liver cancer, there is a greater chance of developing this cancer once diagnosed with hepatitis.
Drinking alcohol can worsen it
In a recent study, people with Hepatitis C who drank three or more alcoholic drinks per day were more likely to die compared to heavy alcohol drinkers who don’t have the infection. Even moderate consumption of alcohol has a higher risk of developing cancer or even death.
5 Things You Should Know About Hepatitis – American Liver Foundation. American Liver Foundation. https://liverfoundation.org/5-things-you-should-know-about-hepatitis/. Published in 2019. Accessed June 10, 2019.