LIFESTYLE NEWS - World Hepatitis Day is celebrated today, 28 July. Hepatitis refers to an inflammatory condition of the liver. It's commonly caused by a viral infection, but there are other possible causes of hepatitis.
According to the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) many people don't even know that they have it.
Viral infections of the liver that are classified as hepatitis include hepatitis A, B, C, D, and E. Hepatitis A is a milder version of the disease, and hepatitis C and D are more severe. Hepatitis A and E are normally contracted from eating contaminated food or drinking contaminated water.
Hepatitis B, C, and D are contracted through contaminated blood or bodily fluids. These forms of hepatitis can be either acute or chronic. Types B and C usually become chronic.
Hepatitis can be caused by liver damage from excessive alcohol consumption. Other toxic causes include overuse of medication or exposure to poisons. The immune system may mistake the liver as a harmful object and begin to attack it, hindering liver function.
Chronic forms of hepatitis (hepatitis B and C) are usually asymptomatic. Symptoms may not occur until liver damage occurs.
Since chronic hepatitis develops slowly, these signs and symptoms may be too subtle to notice.
Treatment options vary depending on what form of hepatitis you have and what caused the infection. You can prevent some forms of hepatitis through immunisation or lifestyle precautions.
Practising good hygiene is one key way to avoid contracting hepatitis. If you're traveling to a developing country, you should avoid drinking local water; ice; seafood; and raw fruit and vegetables.
Hepatitis contracted through contaminated blood can be prevented by:
not sharing drug needles
not sharing razors
not using someone else's toothbrush
not touching spilled blood
The utilisation of vaccines is a second key to preventing hepatitis.
This article is for informative purposes only.
Please see your doctor if you experience any symptoms.