Hepatitis or Jaundice is one of the diseases that could turn life-threatening, if neglected. According to a report by World Health Organisation (WHO), at least 5.2 crore Indians are suffering from chronic Hepatitis. While four crore are affected by Hepatitis B, some 60 lakh to 1.2 crore people are suffering from Hepatitis C. The report has identified viral Hepatitis as a severe public health problem in Indian. National Centre for Disease Prevention statistics show that in 2014, at least one lakh people died because of this. At least one per cent of Indian population faces the threat of being attacked by Hepatitis, it has warned.
In Hepatitis, the liver is enlarged and becomes red. It is because of the viral infection. Hepatitis might also set in due to some drugs, medicines, toxins and consumption of alcohol. Another condition is Auto Immune Hepatitis. In this, anti-bodies that are supposed to fight the disease-causing germs and viruses, attack the liver cells, leading to Auto Immune Hepatitis. Hepatitis, under certain circumstances, leads to Fibrosis, cirrhosis or liver cancer.
Liver absorbs harmful chemicals and toxins from the blood. It also transforms food particles in to nutrients and energy for the body. Excess is stored in the liver and released whenever necessary. When liver is enlarged due to Hepatitis, all these functions are suspended. Health of the person is affected.
Types of Hepatitis
Primarily there are five types of Hepatitis. A(HAV), B(HBV), C(HCV), D(HDV) and E(HEV). The symptoms for all these are similar. B,C,D are chronic illnesses. If you suffer from these, it will take time before your are cured. Hepatitis A and E are chronic. But you can recover from them quickly. There are many reasons for Hepatitis to set in. Among them, bacterial infection and virus complex (A,B,C,D,E) are the main factors. They cause Hepatitis. These enter the body and attack the liver. Hepatitis is contagious. You will suddenly become ill. Their effect will last for a few weeks to few months. In some, the symptoms are not visible, even though they are affected by the disease. It will show up after in the long run. In the meantime, it might spread to others.
This is caused with Hepatitis A virus (HAV). Those who consume water or food that is contaminated with the faeces of those who are already infected, will be affected. Even a micro part of body waste of those who are suffering, might cause the infection. There is more chance of it spreading due to sewage. Also, it spreads from those who are infected but are not maintaining hygienic standards.
It might be carried through the vegetables and fruits they use. Those who live in close proximity of infected persons will also be affected. Fever, loss of appetite, nausea and diahorrea are symptoms of jaundice. The treatment for Hepatitis A depends on the severity of the infection. The patient should be admitted in the hospital, if there is liver failure.
Hepatitis B virus is a chronic infection. It might lead to life-threatening liver disease or liver cancer. Hepatitis B virus spreads to others from those who are infected. Using the same needle that is used for infected patients, exchanging tooth brush or razor or through sexual intercourse with infected partner, also causes the disease. This might even infect new born, if the mother has it. Abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite, jaundice, joint pains, fatigue, are external symptoms.
Even this is caused due to close contact with the body waste of those who are infected or through sexual intercourse with them, like in Hepatitis B. Fever, fatigue, loss of appetite, vomiting, nausea, discomfort in the stomach, joint pains and jaundice are the symptoms that show up once the person is infected. Among 20-30 per cent of them suffer severe ill health, and 75-85 per cent of them suffer from chronic illness. The immune system throws out the infection. Even in chronic conditions, damage to the liver is rare. Based on the prognosis that it is HAV, doctors can determine whether it is curable or not. Modern medication has improved the chances of curing 95 per cent of HCV. But the treatment is expensive. Prevention is possible by maintaining hygiene. By disposing off the things used by infected persons, so that it is not reused, staying away from drugs and practising safe sexual habits, will lower the chances of falling prey.
Hepatitis D occurs in Hepatitis B virus-infected patients. It is also called Delba Hepatitis. It is a life-threatening liver disease. Hepatitis D increases the severity of Hepatitis B infection. It leads to life-threatening diseases like cirrhosis and fibrosis. That too in a short time. Treatment options for severe, chronic Hepatitis D disease, are limited. However, pegylated interferon alpha medicine might help. The treatment is for a year.
However, the disease was found to recur in many cases, even after complete cure, with this medication. The one and only cure for this is liver transplantation. If you can prevent Hepatitis B, then there is no need to worry about Hepatitis D. The needles should be disposed off after one time use. Test the blood of donors for these conditions, before transfusion. Drug consumption should be completely stopped.
This resembles Hepatitis A virus. It spreads because of contaminated water and lack of cleanliness. It lingers for over a week, to six weeks. It is least life-threatening. However, in some severe cases, the patient might die due to liver failure. Fever, nausea, vomiting, stomach ache, itching, joint pains, jaundice, loss of appetite are some of symptoms, by which Hepatitis E is detected. Normally, the problem does no need hospitalisation. Maintaining the flow of sewage and personal hygiene are important. Do not eat anything that comes in contact with ice, outdoors.
Symptoms for all types of Hepatitis
General symptoms like fever, tiredness, loss of appetite, nausea, abdominal pain (on the right side, under the ribs and around the liver), urine colour changing, stools dark in colour, joint pains, jaundice (eyes and skin changing to yellow), will be seen, in all types of Hepatitis. It is also not necessary that all these symptoms should be present in all Hepatitis patients. A few might show up in some. In others, there might be no symptoms at all. In Hepatitis A, almost all patients recover within two to six months. Only in Hepatitis B patients, the conditions becomes chronic. This risk is 90 per cent in children, while it is six-10 per cent in adults. In 70 per cent of the cases, it leads to chronic liver disease. Some five to 20 per cent suffer cirrhosis. Chances of death are one to five per cent, among cirrhosis and liver cancer patients. If any of these symptoms are seen and Hepatitis is suspected, see the doctor at once. He will be able to detect the problem through the symptoms, blood and urine tests.
Cost of Hepatitis treatment
Treatment for Hepatitis C,B or D costs thousands of rupees. The cost escalates, depending on the severity of the disease. It is necessary to take an medical insurance policy that covers Hepatitis. Along with general medical insurance, ensure that there is a rider, promising cover for critical illness. This will make sure that you are not dejected when you fall ill.
How to prevent Hepatitis?
Protection is created by taking vaccines. Mainly children should be inoculated. You must wash your hands thoroughly, with soap and water, immediately after changing diapers or before taking meals. Adopt safe sexual habits. It is revealed in a report that there are 50 to 100 per cent more chances of contracting Hepatitis, rather than HIV, in unprotected sexual activity. Do not use tools used by others, like syringes, needles or razors. Pregnant women should be extra careful.