Hepatitis could be hiding, what does your liver say?

September 7, 2018 Liver Section 10150 Views


“Hepatitis calling, check into the liver of Ms. Sneh Pandey, checking in right now at 20:00hrs.”

There’s no such knock or warning call. A person is unsuspecting of this liver disorder until after a few weeks when the virus reveals itself through a blood test.

Both Hepatitis B & C reveal alarming statistics:

1) Prove to be fatal for 2 out of 3 liver deaths
2) Combined deaths are more than those caused by TB, HIV/AIDS, or malaria.
Not just Hepatitis B and C, but also Hepatitis A, D and E pose a huge threat to the general population globally, as they can lead to the outbreak of an epidemic.

What is it?

According to Hepatologist and Gastroenterologist, it is not just a fancy term that means inflammation of the liver but is caused by a mere viral infection. 28-year-old Jyotsna, a software operator living as a Paying Guest, (PG) in a far-flung Mumbai suburb, recalls with dread and horror. “A snakebite would have all the people from our building gather in alarm, rush the person who is bitten, to the nearest doctor. Everyone knows time is crucial and would make the difference between life and death. There are no taking chances. But how does one know of this type of disease, which shows up much later?”

Her 23-year-old sister adds, “It shows up in your blood test, but why would a person go for a check-up when he or she is fit and fine? There’s no way of knowing that you are harboring these germs. Isn’t that terrible?” The two sisters were seated on the bed, grim and worried. They weren’t from the city and the rest of their family resided at faraway Kanpur. They didn’t know too many people or their way around Mumbai, still. And they were now baffled with the next course of action as they awaited Jyotsna’s blood test results.
Their concerns are valid, typically, a person who is experiencing symptoms akin to flu, abdominal pain, unexplained loss of weight at times accompanied by similar inexplicable loss of appetite, yellow eyes and skin as in the case of jaundice, would visit a doctor. This is the best time to diagnose the disease.

Understandably, Kirti and her sister are baffled – just like thousands of others who contact Hepatitis and are flummoxed as to how they contracted it and its treatment. This is a paradox because treatment mainly depends on self-care and certain simple preventive measures or home truths and of course immunization.

Primary cause

Viral infection of the liver.

Secondary cause

Autoimmune hepatitis which results due to medication, alcohol, toxins, and drugs. What is meant by an autoimmune system response?  Hepatologist and Gastroenterologist say, it basically implies that the body identifies the liver as a villain and begins to act against it, by attacking it. The horrible result? Inflammation in the liver preventing it from functioning properly. More women are likely to suffer from this condition than men, almost three times more.

Types of the virus

While Hepatitis A is largely short-term that is a duration spanning six months or less but can be acute. On the other hand, Hepatitis B, C, and D can become chronic as they are long drawn out. Hepatitis E can prove to be dangerous during pregnancy.

Consuming contaminated food or water of an infected person spreads Hepatitis A. Contact with infectious body fluids such as semen or blood helps spread Hepatitis B. Even sharing razors can increase the risk of a person getting Hepatitis B.

Known as HCV, Hepatitis C virus has already affected almost 3.9 million Americans, currently. This is because this virus spreads rapidly through direct contact with body fluids especially since injection drug use is rampant in the Big Apple. Hepatitis D, on the other hand, is uncommon in the US – it needs Hepatitis B to spread.

Hepatitis E, being a waterborne disease typically breeds and multiplies in areas with extremely low sanitation and hygiene standards.

Different treatment for different types of Hepatitis

Bed rest can generally counter Hepatitis A, and chronic Hepatitis B with antiviral medication but has long drawn out, the course of treatment can work out to be expensive. Hepatitis C is requires testing. If there’s a possibility of liver cirrhosis has already set in; a liver transplant would be needed. Unfortunately, the  D variant of the disease seems to have no cure. But a drug, alpha interferon has indicated mild improvement in an insignificant number of cases. However, since it develops in conjunction with Hepatitis B, Hepatitis B can prevent it to a certain extent. Patients suffering from Hepatitis E, need to refrain from alcohol, and stock up on rest, fluids and nutritional food

Looking for treatment for Hepatitis? Book your appointment with  Hepatologist and Gastroenterologist today.

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