Thursday December 13, 2018

A Full Guide to Public Health Diesease Hepatitis

Considering the rate at which hepatitis is increasing, it is best to be aware of the condition, its symptoms and prevention methods.

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Hepatitis A and E are the commonly transmitted hepatotropic viruses transmitted due to poor hygiene, contaminated food and drinking water, poor sanitation, Pixabay
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According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), hepatitis is one of the widely-recognised public health diseases in India, and liver diseases are the 10th most common cause of death in the country.

Gone are the days when liver diseases were only associated with alcohol consumption, says Dr. D. Palaniyamma, Medical Advisor, The Himalaya Drug Company, while detailing all that you need to know about hepatitis.

Over the years, they are on a rise due to lifestyle changes and increased incidence of obesity and metabolic diseases such as diabetes. If we were to go by the statistics, 5.2 crore people suffer from chronic hepatitis in India, and, every year, 10 lakh new patients are diagnosed with liver cirrhosis.

Hepatits, Health
Representational Image. Flickr

Hepatitis is the inflammation of the liver; it damages liver cells and is normally caused by the hepatitis viruses A, B, C, D, and E. Worldwide, these viruses are the common cause of hepatitis. However, hepatitis is also caused by autoimmune diseases, inappropriate intake of medications, and intake of alcohol and harmful toxins. Among the viral causes, hepatitis A, B, and C are the most common.

Hepatitis A: The hepatitis A virus can spread from person to person and is transmitted through the consumption of contaminated water or food. Nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea, low-grade fever, and pain in the liver area are a few of the symptoms to look out for.

Hepatitis B: The hepatitis B virus is transmitted through exposure to infected blood, semen, and other body fluids. There are chances of transmission of the virus from an infected mother to her child during birth as well. The hepatitis B virus can remain dormant in the body for six months, before symptoms appear. Hence, it is imperative to be cautious of symptoms such as extreme fatigue, appetite loss, jaundice, pain in the liver area, nausea and vomiting, and get tested for hepatitis at the earliest. The WHO statistics reveal that four crore people are chronically affected by hepatitis B in India, and 1.15 lakh die due to the complications.

hepatitis, Health
Hepatitis C Blood Virus [HCV]. Photo Credit: michelsonmedical.org
Hepatitis C: The hepatitis C virus is transmitted through exposure to infected blood. This happens through blood transfusions and other products/procedures that involve handling blood. There are no visible symptoms for hepatitis C infection, and hence, it remains undiagnosed. Severe hepatitis C infection can lead to liver damage and liver cirrhosis. Thus, hepatitis C is the cause of more deaths than hepatitis A and B.

Hepatitis D and E: Hepatitis D generally occurs in those with hepatitis B. Hepatitis E virus is transmitted mainly through contaminated water.

Prevention and Treatment: With hepatic infections on the rise, the need of the hour is to create awareness about the viruses. Most people with hepatitis are unaware of the infection, thus leading to late diagnosis and not getting the right kind of treatment.

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Hepatitis Vaccination. Flickr

Avoid drinking contaminated water, especially from areas with poor sanitation. Ensure that a fresh needle/syringe is used on you each time, to avoid virus contraction through contaminated needles/syringes. Hepatitis B vaccination is recommended for children, since they are at a higher risk of developing the infection.

Since the liver performs multiple functions, such as eliminating toxins from the body and purifying the blood, it is imperative that the liver be healthy for good overall health. Natural ingredients and medications can help suppress and clear the hepatitis viruses from the body, thus establishing a conducive environment for the liver to restore and function optimally.

Also Read: Japan Bans Smoking Inside Public Facilities, Seen By Critics as Pointless

Herbs like Nut Grass (Musta) and Umbrella’s Edge (Nagaramustaka) can lower the viral load on the liver. Furthermore, their anti-inflammatory and hepatoprotective properties can help in managing liver diseases efficiently while normalising liver enzyme levels and liver functions.

Considering the rate at which hepatitis is increasing, it is best to be aware of the condition, its symptoms and prevention methods. Consult your physician and get your liver tested to ensure the well-being of your liver. (IANS)

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Women Hit Especially Hard In Congo’s Worst Ebola Outbreak

For the afflicted, the road to recovery is long and lonely.

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Ebola, WHO, UNICEF, congo, Uganda, women
Congolese health workers register people and take their temperatures before they are vaccinated against Ebola in the village of Mangina in North Kivu province of the Democratic Republic of Congo. VOA

The Democratic Republic of Congo is in the throes of its worst-ever Ebola outbreak, with more than 420 cases in the country’s volatile east, and a mortality rate of just under 60 percent. But this outbreak — the nation’s tenth known Ebola epidemic — is unusual because more than 60 percent of patients are women.

Among them is Baby Benedicte. Her short life has already been unimaginably difficult.

At one month old, she is underweight, at 2.9 kilograms. And she is alone. Her mother had Ebola, and died giving birth to her. She’s spent the last three weeks of her life in a plastic isolation cube, cut off from most human contact. She developed a fever at eight days old and was transferred to this hospital in Beni, a town of some half-million people in the east of the Democratic Republic of Congo.

More than 400 people have been diagnosed with Ebola here since the beginning of August, and more than half of them have died in a nation the size of Western Europe that struggles with insecurity and a lack of the most basic infrastructure and services. That makes this the second-worst Ebola outbreak in history, after the hemorrhagic fever killed more than 11,000 people in West Africa between 2013 and 2016.

This is 10th outbreak to strike the vast country since 1976, when Ebola was first identified in Congo. And this particular outbreak is further complicated by a simmering civil conflict that has plagued this region for more than two decades.

Guido Cornale, UNICEF’s coordinator in the region, says the scope of this outbreak is clear.

“It has become the worst outbreak in Congo, this is not a mystery,” he said.

What is mysterious, however, is the demographics of this outbreak. This time, more than 60 percent of cases are women, says the government’s regional health coordinator, Ndjoloko Tambwe Bathe.

“All the analyses show that this epidemic is feminized. Figures like this are alarming. It’s true that the female cases are more numerous than the male cases,” he said.

Congo, Uganda, ebola, Women
Health workers walk with a boy suspected of having been infected with the Ebola virus, at an Ebola treatment center in Beni, near Congo’s border with Uganda. VOA

Bathe declined to predict when the outbreak might end, though international officials have said it may last another six months. Epidemiologists are still studying why this epidemic is so skewed toward women and children, Cornale said.

“So now we can only guess. And one of the guesses is that woman are the caretakers of sick people at home. So if a family member got sick, who is taking care of him or her? Normally, a woman,” he said.

Or a nurse. Many of those affected are health workers, who are on the front line of battling this epidemic. Nurse Guilaine Mulindwa Masika, spent 16 days in care after a patient transmitted the virus to her. She says it was the fight of her life.

“The pain was enormous, the pain was constant,” she said. “The headache, the diarrhea, the vomiting, and the weakness — it was very, very bad.”

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Marie-Roseline Darnycka Belizaire, World Health Organization (WHO) Epidemiology Team Lead, talks to women as part of Ebola contact tracing, in Mangina, Democratic Republic of Congo. VOA

For the afflicted, the road to recovery is long and lonely. Masika and her cured colleagues face weeks of leave from work to ensure the risk of infection is gone. In the main hospital in the city of Beni, families who have recovered live together in a large white tent, kept four meters from human contact by a bright orange plastic cordon. They yell hello at their caretakers, who must don protective gear if they want to get any closer.

And for Baby Benedicte, who is tended to constantly by a nurse covered head to toe in protective gear, the future is uncertain. Medical workers aren’t entirely sure where her father is, or if he is going to come for her.

Also Read: Congo Start Trials For Drugs Against Ebola

She sleeps most of the day, the nurse says, untroubled by the goings-on around her. Meanwhile, the death toll rises. (VOA)