It's important to know your Hepatitis ABC risk. Hepatitis AB or C is another silent but deadly killer. May 19th marked world Hepatitis day. That's right, Hepatitis has its own "world day"! There are millions of individuals infected with Hepatitis. Public awareness is one of the most important factors in fighting the disease. President Obama spoke on world hepatitis day. He stated that "Millions of Americans are infected by viral Hepatitis, and too many do not know that they are infected." With a disease that millions are affected by there is certainly little knowledge among average person.
Hepatitis A is a liver infection that extremely affects an individuals liver function. Individuals typically contract Hepatitis A through contaminated food or drink. An individual may also contract the disease by being in contact with a person who already has the disease. Although serious, if the case is mild enough an individual could recover with no treatment. Hand washing and general good hygiene is the best way to avoid Hepatitis A. However, vaccines are available for individuals who have more severe cases. Symptoms of Hepatitis A include fatigue, nausea, fever, itching, muscle pain and jaundice as well as abdominal pain.
Hepatitis B, has some similarities to Hepatitis A as they both affect liver function. Most adults who contract Hepatitis B stand a good chance of full recovery. However, infants and children are more likely to experience more difficulties with the disease. There is no cure for Hepatitis B but there is a vaccine that can prevent it. Symptoms include abdominal pain, dark urine, weakness, loss of appetite and jaundice. Common ways to contract the disease include sexual contact (which includes an infected partners saliva entering your body), needle sharing and infected pregnant women have been known to pass the disease on to their child during childbirth. Some complications include: Liver infection, which can lead to liver scarring. Liver scarring can affect the liver's ability to function, Liver cancer and Kidney problems, which may extremely lead to kidney failure.
Hepatitis C, is similar to both A and C in that it attacks the liver. Hepatitis C is considered the most serious of all. It could lead to chronic liver disease and is one of the most common reasons individuals need liver transplants. Symptoms include fever, muscle and joint pain, fatigue and nausea. An individual may contract Hepatitis C by blood transfusions (generally this issue was prior to 1992 before there were viable test to detect contaminated blood), needle sharing and sexual contact (although considered rare).
It is important to note that treatment is not always necessary. Although a physician should determine it, slight liver abnormalities may not require treatment (although it is likely that an individual will be required to routinely follow up to monitor liver function). However, if an individual must receive treatment it may include antiviral medications intended to expel the virus from the individual's body. Several medications over a period of several weeks could help an individual to gain control. However, the physician may determine that another round of medication is necessary.
Finally, individuals who experience any pf the previously mentioned symptoms should seek the advice of a physician immediately. Early detection is key when it comes to most diseases but especially Hepatitis A, B or C. Hepatitis that is able to linger with no diagnosis or treatment may lead to liver transplants or even death. It is impossible for the average individual to determine whether he or she has Hepatitis A, B or C. However, upon noticing changes in an individuals body that include a combination of weakness, fever, muscle and joint pain, tenderness in the liver region, itching and / or jaundice (yellowing of skin or eyes) an individual should contact his or her physician and inform him of the symptoms. Individuals should always research his or her symptoms and should never be afraid to address their concerns immediately. As with all disease, early detection is key to recovery and maintenance.
Stay tuned and stay informed!