What is Hepatitis?

The WHO (World Health Organization) marks July 28 as World Hepatitis day to raise awareness about Hepatitis. Hepatitis is a disease that is common and widespread in India. Almost two to three per cent of the Indian population is said to be affected by this disease. It causes inflammation of the liver and can cause either acute or chronic infection or inflammation of this organ. However, the 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. Many people often do not identify the disease since there are no strong or obvious symptoms.

Different Types of Hepatitis

There are a total of five different types of Hepatitis- A, B, C, D and E, of which B and C are the most common. As per World Health Organisation (WHO), around 6 to 12 million people in India 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. Around 400 million people are infected with Hepatitis B virus in the world today.

Hepatitis B

The rise in Hepatitis B is because of multiple blood transfusions and surgical procedures that follow unsafe practices. People who have minor Hepatitis B might suffer from weakness, vomiting, nausea, loss of appetite, jaundice, skin rashes and even joint pain. And for those who have chronic Hepatitis B, the infection will last for about 6 months and usually will have no symptoms. It may just directly affect the liver causing liver failure. There has been an increase in cases of Hepatitis B and C and thus doctors are researching more about this disease.

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 coloured 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.

Prevention

Even though hepatitis is common, it can not only be prevented with vaccinations but also be treated if someone has contracted it. With proper and timely medication, your risk of a liver cancer or liver failure can decrease considerably. So look out for the symptoms of Hepatitis B and get yourself treated on time before it turns serious.