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Everything You Need to Know About Hepatitis

Everything You Need to Know About Hepatitis

14:51 27th June 2018 | Hepatitis

World Hepatitis Day takes place annually on 28 July in order to raise awareness and encourage education around the prevention of this potentially life-threatening disease. 

What is hepatitis?

Hepatitis is simply an inflammation of the liver. If left untreated, it may lead to scarring of the liver or liver cancer. The hepatitis viruses replicate in the liver cells, causing the liver to malfunction. The liver is one of the most important organs in the human body and produces hormones and proteins, stores fats and vitamins, and purifies the blood.

 There are various forms of hepatitis:

  • Hepatitis A can easily be transmitted from person to person via contaminated food or water. It can mostly be avoided by observing good sanitation and washing one’s hands.
  • Hepatitis B is spread by infected bodily fluids, contaminated needles or razors, and during birth if the mother is infected.
  • Hepatitis C is transferred through infected blood: sharing needles, hemodialysis, or blood transfusions.
  • Hepatitis D is a small viral agent that requires hepatitis B to be present and can be infected via the same methods as hepatitis B. The presence of hepatitis B and D is very difficult to treat, and those infected may develop severe liver scarring more rapidly.
  • Hepatitis E is a waterborne disease caused by fecal contamination, normally found in areas with poor sanitation.

Non-viral forms of the disease include toxic hepatitis from medicine and drugs; alcoholic hepatitis from alcohol abuse; and autoimmune hepatitis caused by the immune system attacking the liver. 

      What are the symptoms of hepatitis?

Symptoms include fatigue, mild fever, muscle ache, dark urine, stomach pain, and jaundice. By the time one notices symptoms, considerable damage may have already been done to the organ. If left untreated it can lead to cirrhosis and serious liver scarring.

Although there is no cure for chronic hepatitis, there is a variety of medication available to manage the symptoms. Bridge Clinic offers vaccinations for hepatitis B, which can reduce the risk of getting chronic hepatitis.


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