by Marshaneil Soumi D’ Rozario | 28 JULY 2018
Hepatitis is an inflammation of the liver. The condition can be self-limiting or can progress to fibrosis (scarring), cirrhosis or liver cancer. Hepatitis viruses are the most common cause of hepatitis in the world but other infections, toxic substances (e.g. alcohol, certain drugs), and autoimmune diseases can also cause hepatitis. Hepatitis B virus and Hepatitis C cause 80% of liver cancer cases in the world.
Viral hepatitis is one of the leading causes of death globally, accounting for 1.35 million deaths per year – that’s as many as HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis or malaria together. Hepatitis A virus is the most common virus and most common cause of viral hepatitis.
July 28, 2018 is World Hepatitis Day. The Theme this year is – “Test. Treat. Cure.” The objective of the World Hepatitis Day is to send out a strong message to people across the world, to create awareness, act, and join the massive movement to find the ‘missing millions’.
The appalling reality is that most of those suffering from viral hepatitis are unaware that they have the disease. It is imperative that those affected with viral hepatitis are identified and that they are linked to care and given necessary treatment. Affected people have poor appetite, nausea, vomiting, fever, pain in the abdomen, and jaundice.
Speaking on the occasion, Senior Hepatologist Dr Dharmesh Kapoor said, “We have some excellent drugs against Hepatitis C which can be given in a short duration of time of roughly 12 weeks. If exceptional cases treatment has to be prolonged to 24 weeks and we can achieve cure rates from 95-100%.” This treatment for Hepatitis C and vaccines for Hepatitis B can combat, and possibly eliminate viral hepatitis.
In joining the global effort on World Hepatitis Day 2018 Gleneagles Global Hospitals desire to make a difference.
According to Dr. Kapoor, “The community prevalence of Hepatitis B in our country and in most part of our state is between 2 to 3 per cent. The prevalence of Hepatitis C is much lower and is at 1 to 1.5 per cent. There are certain pockets where there is a higher density of the Hepatitis C and Hepatitis B. The high-risk individuals are those who receive the multiple transfusions, those who have been incarcerated and those who have history of high risk behaviour in the past.” He explains that transfusions, angiograms, and tattooing can potentially transmit the virus to an individual. The condition could be exacerbated by drinking alcohol and taking addictive drugs.
The doctor advises, “Please remember that these infections are very easy to treat at the early stages of the liver disease but once you develop a chronic scarring in the liver, the infections become more difficult to handle and the treatment also becomes much, much longer. So, help is readily available, all you need to do is to get yourself tested and see an expert doctor.”
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