Take Better Care of Your Health on World Hepatitis Day27th Jul, 2016
World Hepatitis Day is finally here. Celebrated on 28 July every year, this event aims to educate the public on the dangers of Hepatitis. Its goal is to eliminate this disease by 2030. After Egypt, Pakistan has the second highest rate of Hepatitis C in the world. Up to eight percent of the population carries Hepatitis C virus (HCV). Hepatitis A and E are a major concern too because of the poor water and sewage systems.
Hepatitis in Pakistan
Hepatitis affects millions of people worldwide, causing inflammation of the liver. It has several forms, such as Hepatitis A, B, C, and D. This condition can be acute or chronic depending on the viruses that trigger inflammation. The chronic form of the disease may lead to liver failure, liver cancer, and cirrhosis.
Pakistan has one of the world's highest rates of chronic Hepatitis and mortality due to hepatocellular carcinomas and liver failure. Worldwide, Hepatitis B affects over 350 million people. Another 170 million have been diagnosed with Hepatitis C.
The high prelevance rate in Pakistan may be due to the reuse of syringes by health care providers, improper sterilization of medical devices, and transfusion of unscreened blood. Other possible causes include poverty, improper disposal of hospital waste, and exposure to the Hepatitis C virus through broken skin and mucous membranes.
What Are the Symptoms of Hepatitis?
Symptoms depend on the form of the disease. In general, hepatitis causes yellowing of the skin and eyes (jaundice), nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, loss of appetite, fatigue, headaches, and joint pain. Patients may also experience unexplained weight loss, enlarged spleen, enlarged liver, and abdominal discomfort.
Diagnosis is typically made through blood tests and imaging tests. Liver biopsy may be needed. A history of alcohol use or abuse could indicate alcoholic steatohepatitis (ASH). The doctor will also ask about the patient's sexual history, overall health, and lifestyle habits.
Treatment options vary from one person to another, based on the cause, form, and severity of the disease. Most patients don’t require hospitalization. Doctors usually recommend dietary changes, rest, adequate hydration, and interferon for Hepatitis A and B. Hepatitis C is treated with Ribavirin, Pegylated interferon, and Vitamin B12 supplements. So far, there is no treatment available for Hepatitis D and E.
Let’s join our forces on World Hepatitis Day to fight this disease and prevent its occurrence. Together we can make a difference!