Hepatitis can be Life Threatening
A viral infection or can be caused by other infections, toxic substances and auto-immune diseases
Hepatitis is the inflammation of the liver, a condition that can heal on its own or can progress to fibrosis and cirrhosis. Hepatitis can be as a result of a viral infection or can be caused by other infections, toxic substances such as alcohol and other autoimmune diseases. Drinking excessive amounts of alcohol over the course of many years can damage the liver, leading to hepatitis.Common modes of transmission of the viruses that cause hepatitis include receipt of contaminated blood or blood products, using contaminated equipment during medical procedures, mother to baby at birth, and also through sexual contact. There are five main hepatitis viruses, referred to as types A, B, C, D and E. In particular, types B and C lead to chronic diseases and are the most common cause of liver cirrhosis and cancer.
Many people with hepatitis go undiagnosed, because the disease is often mistaken for other medical conditions.The most common symptoms of hepatitis are: Loss of appetite, fatigue, fever, muscle or joint aches, nausea, vomiting and abdominal pain. In the most serious cases, it may lead to loss of liver function (liver failure) or liver cancer, which can both be fatal. These types of long-lasting hepatitis are known as chronic hepatitis.
Prevention: Reduce the Risk
The four most effective ways to reduce your risk of developing hepatitis are: maintain regular hygiene practices of washing and sanitizing your hands, drink only clean water and ensure your food is well prepared in a a clean environment; never share drug equipment with other drug users – this does not just apply to needles, but also syringes, spoons and filters, as well as bank notes or straws used to snort cocaine; avoid multiple sex partner and maintain one partner and if required have protective sex by using a condom; stay away from alcohol or at best moderate your alcohol intake; get vaccinated hepatitis A and B and ensure you keep records of the vaccination schedule.