Everything you need to know about Hepatitis
At slightly over 1.3kgs, the liver is one of the largest and busiest organs in the human body.
It performs multiple functions such as converting the nutrients in the food you eat into substances your body can use. It also assists in producing proteins that help the blood to clot. The liver also produces bile, a digestive liquid which breaks down and enables your body to absorb fats.
We can see from the examples above that liver is vital to your health when its working well. One of the biggest threats to the liver is an inflammatory condition known as hepatitis which manifests itself in several strains.
With World Hepatitis Day set to be marked on Sunday 28 July, we thought that we should enlighten you further about hepatitis.
Hepatitis A (HAV)
The virus that causes this strain of the disease is food borne. It may be spread through food or water containing microscopic amounts of stool from an infected person.
Some preventative measures include avoiding water that is contaminated with fecal matter as well as washing your hands with soap and water before and after visiting the bathroom.
HAV patients usually make a full recovery and the virus may leave the body within a few months, it can be prevented through a simple vaccine shot that is recommended for all children aged a year and older.
Hepatitis B (HBV)
HBV is only transmitted through blood or other body fluids. An infected mother may also transmit it to her baby.
Failure to seek treatment may lead to cirrhosis or liver cancer, both potentially life threatening conditions. It is quite difficult to diagnose as many people usually don’t have symptoms.
There is a vaccine for HBV which has been available since the 1980s. It is however cumbersome to administer as it requires 3 shots over a 6 month period. Only 50% of those who begin the vaccination regime get to take the last shot.
Hepatitis C (HCV)
HCV, just like HBV is transmitted through blood and other body fluids. It is sometimes also transmitted sexually.
Another similarity that HCV has with HBV is that it is difficult to spot. It is estimated that up to 80% of people exhibit no symptoms at all, even for decades.
People who seek to get tattoos and piercings or have received blood transfusions are at risk of HCV.
Early diagnosis is however the key to avoiding more serious liver problems down the road.
Hepatitis D (HDV)
Although HDV, also known as “hepatitis delta,” is considered the most severe form of hepatitis, it’s what’s known as an “incomplete” virus. It requires hepatitis B to copy itself. That means you can only get HDV if you have HBV
Of the estimated 240 million people in the world who have hepatitis B, as many as 20 million of them may also have HDV.
An HBV vaccine can protect you against this particular strain of hepatitis. And, in fact, the only treatment for HDV is treating for HBV.
Hepatitis E (HEV)
Like hepatitis A, HEV is transmitted through infected food and water. It’s rare in the United States but common in other countries where water and sanitation are in short supply.
Like HAV, HEV is fecal-oral transmitted. Super sanitation — hand washing, making sure you eat cooked food — can go a long way towards preventing it.
Now that we have shared some insights into hepatitis, it is important to note that you can observe strict hygiene standards or seek vaccination in order to avoid being stricken by the disease. Even as we conclude this conversation, it is always important to pay keen attention to your general health and wellbeing as we seek to enjoy the quality of life. You can log on to the BONGODAWA website to get an array of wellness products that can enable you enjoy and live life to the fullest.