As per World Health Organization (WHO) statistics, India is amongst the top 11 countries which carry the global burden of chronic hepatitis. Since, it accounts for a huge burden of illness, outbreaks and epidemic spread, resulting in increased death cases, the disease is one of the greatest concerns all over the world.
“The five main types of hepatitis virus include A, B, C, D and E. Infection by any of these viruses can lead to inflammation of liver and some infections can lead to liver cirrhosis or cancer. Based on the symptoms, a physical examination is done to check the enlargement of liver, skin colour and presence of fluid in the abdomen followed by a suitable antibacterial treatment. Awareness and early diagnosis is key to patient treatment as the infection can be difficult to cure at later stage,” Dr. Rakesh Kumar, Senior Consultant, Internal Medicine, Indraprastha Apollo Hospital, New Delhi.
“A person can have hepatitis B infection for many years before diagnosis, I see a lot of patients with liver cirrhosis and primary liver cancer (hepatocellular carcinoma, HCC) as their first presentation. The most important challenges remaining in the area of hepatitis B and HCC are development of improved means of early detection and treatment. Currently, HBV-related HCC is often detected late, at a time that surgical interventions and liver transplantation is no longer feasible,” said Dr. Govind Nandakumar, Chief of Gastrointestinal Surgery & GI Oncosurgery, Columbia Asia Hospitals, Bangalore.
“Better approaches of universal HBV vaccination and identification and treatment of chronic hepatitis B are needed especially in the smaller towns and villages to allow for application of the many advances that has been made in prevention and treatment of this important form of cancer,” added Dr. Sumana Kolar.
Some of the symptoms of hepatitis include Jaundice, fatigue, nausea, stomach bloating, itching, weight loss, loss of appetite and dark coloured urine.
Below mentioned are some ways to prevent the infection:
- Practice proper hygiene
- Wash hands well after using the restroom and before eating meals
- Avoid eating at unhygienic or contaminated places
Hepatitis B and C:
- Do not share personal grooming instrument like razors
- Check for used needles to prevent risk of infection
- Be careful about equipment used while tattooing
- Before getting piercing done, ensure the equipment is clean
- Practice safe intercourse
“About 50% of people with liver complications suffer from alcohol induced liver diseases, about 25- 30 % suffer from NASH (Non-Alcoholic Steato-Hepatitis) and 10-15% suffer from viral hepatitis and other liver diseases. Liver diseases are not only common among high alcohol consumers but many non-alcohol consumers also suffer from liver complications due to high Body Mass Index (BMI). Diabetes and obesity are the major causes that lead to fatty liver disease, increasing the risk of hepatitis infection in a person,” said Dr. Rakesh Kumar.