@ Vikas Sharma | Sr Journalist
Hepatitis is a type of liver inflammation which can take the form of ‘fibrosis’ or ‘liver cancer’. It can also be caused due to the intake of alcohol, toxic drugs and autoimmune diseases. Hepatitis is mainly of five types – A, B, C, D and E and all cab be life-threatening. Millions of people suffer from severe diseases due to Hepatitis B and C, which can lead to cirrhosis of the liver and liver cancer. However, these can be treated in 80 percent of cases, in case of timely diagnosis.
Hepatitis B and C are caused due to viral infection and cirrhosis can be caused by excessive alcohol consumption, Cirrhosis, Hemochromatosis (A hereditary disease in which iron is produced in large amount in the body), Obesity, Infected syringe, unsafe sex, working with poisonous chemicals without precautions, using the same tattoo equipment for different people, lack of physical exercise, consumption of fried food, drinking contaminated water, getting infected by the virus, Metabolic syndrome and malnutrition.
Identifying its symptoms can be difficult at the early stage but can be diagnosed at a chronic stage. These symptoms can be jaundice, fatigue, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain and swelling, itching, loss of appetite and weight loss.
Dr. Amitabha Dutta, Sr. Consultant, Gastroenterology, Indraprastha Apollo Hospitals advises us on the precautions to be observed by adults to keep Hepatitis at bay “Improved sanitation, food safety and immunization are the most effective ways to combat hepatitis. The spread of hepatitis can be reduced by: adequate supplies of safe drinking water; proper disposal of sewage within communities; personal hygiene practices such as regular hand-washing before meals and after going to the bathroom.”
Hepatitis B is a virus that spreads from person to person through blood, semen and fluids from the vagina. A mother with hepatitis B can also pass it to her baby at birth. Some people who get hepatitis B can get rid of the virus. Others develop chronic hepatitis B – a lifelong infection that can lead to liver disease and even death.
Dr. Anupam Sibal, Group Medical Director, Apollo Hospitals Group elaborates on how to protect kids from hepatitis B “One needs to make sure that children get the hepatitis B vaccine (shot), apart from getting tested for hepatitis B in case of pregnancy or if are at risk for infection. Be safe while travelling to countries where hepatitis B is common alongwith kids. The hepatitis B vaccine is recommended for all babies at birth. Anyone under age 19 who didn’t get the shots as a baby, and get vaccinated later.”
Malnutrition can also be mistaken as a regular illness due to lack of balanced diet, but it could be one of the reason for chronic liver failure as well. With time there have been enormous changes in lifestyle of the urban population. This includes adoption of unhealthy habits by youngsters such as consumption of junk food, smoking etc. Due to these, the risk of non-alcoholic Steatohepatitis (N.A.S.H) also increases, which gradually harms the liver. Non-alcoholic Steatohepatitis is the main cause of swelling in the liver. If not treated on time, N.A.S.H can develop cancer in patient’s body.