World Hepatitis Day
World Hepatitis Day is observed on July 28th. Every year digestive care physicians and many other specialists aspire to raise worldwide awareness of hepatitis. This disconcerting condition is a group of infectious diseases known as Hepatitis A, B, C, D, and E. However, the main objective of World Hepatitis Day is to encourage prevention, diagnosis, and treatment.
Death Toll Numbers are on the Rise
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), approximately 325 million people worldwide either have chronic hepatitis B or chronic hepatitis C. In fact, there were about 1.34 million deaths in 2015 that were due to viral hepatitis. Nonetheless, helpful methods like educational programs and hepatitis B vaccinations for hepatitis B infected mothers and for people who inject drugs would radically decrease hepatitis B and C infections around the world.
In addition, Wikipedia states that nearly 1.4 million people die every year from acute and chronic hepatitis.
Types of Hepatitis
There are five types of hepatitis – A, B, C, D and E. Each type is very distinct. In fact, each type can have different methods of transmission, affect a diversity of populations and result in a variety of health outcomes.
Hepatitis A is largely spread when a person comes in contact with food, drink or objects that are infected with the virus or are contaminated by feces from an infected person. It does not spread through sneezing or coughing. Hepatitis A is rarely fatal and does not cause liver damage. However, it can cause serious symptoms like:
- Joint pain
- Dark urine
- Appetite loss
- Intense itching
- Low-grade fever
- Sudden vomiting and nausea
- Bowel movements are clay-colored
- Abdominal pain or discomfort; especially on the upper right side underneath the lower ribs (by the liver
Hepatitis A can be prevented by good sanitation habits, food safety, and vaccination.
Hepatitis B is commonly spread during birth from an infected mother to her baby. Sometimes you can be infected through contact with blood and other body fluids such as:
- Sexual contact
- Injection drug use
- Unsterile medical equipment
Hepatitis B virus can cause both chronic and acute infection, from mild illness that lasts only a few weeks to a serious chronic illness. If infected at birth or during early childhood, chronic infection like liver cirrhosis or liver cancer can develop. The most effective prevention of hepatitis B is a vaccination.
Hepatitis C spreads through contact with the blood of an infected person via unsafe medical injections, injection drug use and even mother-to-child. This type of hepatitis can cause chronic and acute infections. Though, the majority of infections are chronic. However, a substantial number of the chronic infections develop into liver cancer or liver cirrhosis. Today’s new treatments actually cure 90% of people with hepatitis C within 2-3 months. In this case, diagnosis and testing is the key to prevention. Currently there is no vaccination for hepatitis C.
Hepatitis D is spread through contact with infected blood. It only infects people who already have the hepatitis B virus. The best prevention is to get vaccinated.
Hepatitis E is primarily passed through contaminated drinking water. Generally it clears in 4-6 weeks so there is no particular treatment. On the other hand, pregnant women who are infected are considered to be at mortality risk. Prevention includes good sanitation and food safety.
When to Consult Digestive Care Physicians
If you have any signs of hepatitis A it is important to make an appointment with Digestive Care Physicians as soon as possible. In fact, getting a vaccine or immunoglobulin (antibody) within two weeks of being exposed to hepatitis A may prevent you from getting the infection.
Other good reasons for getting a hepatitis A vaccine include:
- You recently visited an area that has poor sanitation
- There was an outbreak of hepatitis A where you recently ate
- You recently had sexual contact with someone who had hepatitis A
- You recently traveled out of the country particularly Central or South America.
- You know someone that you are close to or you work with that was recently diagnosed with hepatitis A
Digestive Care Physicians are located in North Atlanta
One of the best specialists for hepatitis is at Digestive Care Physicians, LLC. Not only are there four Board Certified Gastroenterologists but the group’s expertise is renowned as treatment specialists and they are recognized as perceptive diagnosticians.
Originally established in 2008 by Dr. Ranvir Singh, Digestive Care Physicians has now expanded to four locations in Georgia: Alpharetta, Johns Creek, Cumming, and Lawrenceville.
Note: This article is not a replacement for professional medical advice. Please contact a specialist at Digestive Care Physicians, LLC if you have any concerns or questions.
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