World hepatitis Day is celebrated on 28 th July in devoted to Blumberg who invented Hepatitis B virus. Hepatitis B and Hepatitis c are leading causes of liver disease in our country.Both are blood transmitted viruses. They spread through contaminated blood products, injections, needles, syringes, dialysis sets, sexually through unprotected sex and mother to child.
These viruses can damage liver in two ways. Acute infection means fresh infection , this can lead to jaundice and sometimes liver failure requiring liver transplantation.This infection if cannot be cleared by body leads to chronic infection. Chronic hepatitis means the virus stays in body for more than 6 months. This can slowly damage the liver without showing any symptoms and hence sometimes this virus is known as “Silent killer”.Person will be moving around like you and me !!!
Hepatitis B virus is a DNA virus. It stays in human liver and slowly damages the liver over 15-20 years. Only sign that liver is being damaged can be highÂ SGPT(A Â simple blood test).Gradually it will damage the liver and cause liver cirrhosis. It can cause liver cancer also in presence or absence of liver cirrhosis. There are good drugs available for hepatitis which can recover liver, control or prevent damage. Unfortunately it is difficult to completely clear virus from the body.
Hepatitis C is a RNA virus. It also can cause liver cirrhosis and liver cancer albeit little slowly depending on virus type and other comorbidities. Hemodialysis patients are a special group which frequently get infected during dialysis.There are wonderful drugs available now which can practically cure hepatitis c (Means they can clear the virus permanently).
Hepatitis B can be prevented by vaccination. Hepatitis C there is no vaccine available.
Our experience is that many Indian patients do not take complete treatment due to lack of education and many patients being treated by nonspecialists who do not know till how long treatment is to be continued. Treatment drop outs are upto 70% in certain parts of the country.
The key is to raise awareness. So lets join hands and spread awareness.
Ask to consult a doctor if somebody is picked up positive to any of this viruses during pre operative check up, health check up, blood donation.
Check yourself if received blood transfusion,tattoo, injections, dialysis at unsafe place. Check if you have high SGPT, low platelet, abnormal liver function, unexplained edema, fatigue.
Spread the word