News Analysis

Early Detection and Treatment of Hepatitis

Hepatitis is an inflammation of the liver, a condition that can be self-limiting or can progress to liver cancer.

Hepatitis viruses are the most common cause of hepatitis in the world but other infections, toxic substances like alcohol, certain drugs, and autoimmune diseases can also cause hepatitis.

There are 5 main hepatitis viruses, referred to as types A, B, C, D and E.

The commonest types are B and C lead to chronic diseases in hundreds of millions of people and are main cause of liver cirrhosis and cancer.

Hepatitis A and E are typically caused by ingestion of contaminated food or water while hepatitis B, C and D usually occur as a result of parenteral contact with infected body fluids.

Common modes of transmission for these viruses include receipt of contaminated blood or blood products, invasive medical procedures using contaminated equipment and for hepatitis B, transmission from mother to baby at birth, from family member to child, and also by sexual contact. 

Acute infection may occur with limited or no symptoms, or may include symptoms such as jaundice, dark urine, extreme fatigue, nausea, vomiting and abdominal pain. 

According to medical experts, ninety percent of people living with hepatitis are unaware of this thus leading to health complications like cancer.

They, however, canvassed for testing to allow for early detection and treatment of the disease.

Due to the debilitating effect of the disease, world health organization set aside every Twenty Eighth of July as World Hepatitis Day to enhance awareness of viral hepatitis and encourage greater participation in curtailing the disease.

Together, Hepatitis B and C are the most common cause of deaths, with one point four million lives lost each year.

Amid the Covid-19 pandemic, viral hepatitis continues to claim thousands of lives every day as some patients refuse to present to the hospital due to the fear of the pandemic.

This year’s theme is “Hepatitis-Free Future,” with a strong focus on preventing Hepatitis B, HBV, among mothers and newborns.

HBV can be prevented among newborns through the use of a safe and effective vaccine.

Most importantly, hepatitis patients should make consumption of balanced diet and lot of fruits a lifestyle for a healthy living.

At this juncture, it is pertinent for hepatitis patients who have developed advanced liver diseases and deteriorating health as a result of hepatitis B or C to be vigilant in protecting themselves from contracting Covid-19 as they are at risk of more serious illnesses.

Titilayo Kupoliyi

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