Hepatitis means inflammation of the liver. The word” Hepatitis”, has been derived from the Greek word hepat and the Latin word itis meaning liver and inflammation respectively. The origin of the word hepat is from the ancient Greek word hepar.
Hepatitis is caused mostly by Hepatitis A, Hepatitis B and Hepatitis C. Hepatitis A, B, C are hepatitis viruses. Autoimmune process (a condition where the body attacks itself), toxins especially alcohol, infections are other causes of hepatitis.
About 250-350 million people, all over the world, get affected by hepatitis every year.
Hepatitis A- Infected water or infected food is the root cause. HAV, a virus causing Hepatitis A, infects food and water, which if consumed, causes hepatitis. It is not chronic in nature and lasts less than six months. Almost all the affected patients get cured within six months.
Hepatitis B- HBV, a virus causing Hepatitis B, is a sexually transmitted disease and infectious in nature. Coming in contact with body fluids, semen, blood of an infected person can cause Hepatitis B. In some of the cases, hepatitis is chronic and leads to liver cancer.
Hepatitis C-HCV, a virus causing Hepatitis C, is spread through direct contact with the infected blood of an already infected person. It has been reported that only 20% of the total hepatitis patients get cirrhosis. As, risk of having liver cancer is more in patients having cirrhosis, Hepatitis C is comparatively less harmful than Hepatitis B.
Hepatitis D, Hepatitis E, Hepatitis X and Hepatitis G are also known Hepatitis viruses, rarely causing Hepatitis complications.
Donated blood should always be tested for Hepatitis B and Hepatitis C.
Hepatitis is either acute or chronic. When the disease lasts for a period of six months or less, it is called acute hepatitis but if it lasts longer, it is said to be chronic hepatitis.
NOTE- Usually the patients experience no symptom or mild symptoms at an early stage. Symptoms appear between 15 days and 180 days after getting the infection.
SYMPTOMS OF ACUTE HEPATITIS:
a) Abdominal pain
b) Joint aches
c) Muscle aches
d) Mild fever
f) Loss of Appetite
g) Weight loss
h) Aversion to smoking
i) Skin and eyes turning yellow
Symptoms in the chronic cases: Apart from the above symptoms mentioned in the symptoms of acute cases, the following complexities are noticed:
a) Dark urine
b) Itchy skin
c) Faeces containing pus
d) Dizziness, drowsiness, enlarged spleen, circulation problems (is noticed only in toxic/drug induced chronic cases).
Hepatitis, if ignored in the acute stage may lead to fibrosis/scar tissue and cirrhosis which can be very painful and fatal.
a) Get a vaccine for hepatitis
b) Consume freshly cooked food
c) Avoid stale food
d) Avoid uncovered food
e) Eat fruits after self peeling
f) Clean and wash hands before eating and after toilet
g) Drink pure bottled/boiled water
h) Avoid defiled food
i) Practice safe sex
j) Avoid using unsterilized syringes and needles.
k) Avoid sharing razors, toothbrushes and cosmetic instruments
l) Avoid alcohol and liver damaging drugs/chemicals