World Health Organization marks July 28 as World Hepatitis Day every year in a bid to raise more awareness about this liver disease. Hepatitis is quite common worldwide and can be spread by exchange of fluids as well as it is a virus. We earlier gave you tips to prevent the spread of hepatitis and now we tell you some facts about this disease that affects the liver.
Hepatitis attacks the liver
Hepatitis causes inflammation of the liver. It can cause either acute and chronic infection or inflammation of this organ. However, liver is one of the few organs in the human body that has regenerative properties which means it takes years before the symptoms show up and that is why it often goes undetected unless you get it checked.
There are five types of hepatitis
Hepatitis is a virus and depending on the type of virus, it is classified into five different ones namely Hepatitis A, B, C, D and E. Hepatitis B, C and D are commonly transmitted through blood, semen and other body fluids. Although Hepatitis A does not generally result in chronic infection, Hepatitis B and C can increase incidence of liver cirrhosis, liver failure or liver cancer.
Most Indians are affected by Hepatitis B
As per World Health Organisation (WHO), in India, 40 million people are infected with Hepatitis B and around 6 to 12 million people are infected with chronic Hepatitis C. Since hepatitis is asymptomatic, it is estimated that only 5% of the people with chronic hepatitis know of their infection, and less than 1% have access to treatment. Vaccinations are now available for Hepatitis A, B and C but Hepatitis B and C are the most common cause of liver cirrhosis and cancer, according to WHO.
Symptoms of hepatitis
Even though there are no obvious symptoms that show one has hepatitis, doctors can run a check if they find symptoms such as jaundice, dark colored urine, fatigue, nausea, vomiting and abdominal pain. Most of the times, people ignore the symptoms and receive treatment in the later stages of the infection.
Hepatitis can be treated
Even though hepatitis is common, it can not only be prevented with vaccinations but also be treated if someone has contracted it. Says Dr Pradeep Mahajan, Regenerative medicine researcher, “In many countries, autologous cells therapy is used for clinically treating the liver disease. The major advantage with using these cells is that because they come from the patient, there is no risk of rejection when they are transplanted back.”