Hepatitis Symptoms and Prevention
Hepatitis is an inflammatory condition that affects the liver. This condition is a result of a viral infection though there are other elements that are known to cause hepatitis. These other elements include autoimmune hepatitis which occurs as a result of antibodies that fight liver tissues. Other elements include medication, alcohol, toxins and drugs.
The liver is in the upper right area of the abdomen and performs many different functions in the body the most important being the filtering of toxins from the body, production of bile, synthesis of clotting factors, activation of enzymes, breaking down of fats, proteins, and carbohydrates, storage of glycogen, vitamins and minerals, synthesis of blood proteins like albumin among many others.
According to statistics by the CDC, there are approximately 4.4 million people living with chronic hepatitis type B and type C in America. There are many other people who do not know if they have hepatitis. There are some types of hepatitis that can be prevented through lifestyle precautions and immunizations.
It is possible to have hepatitis and not know it. This is because in some cases there might not be any noticeable symptoms. Chances are that you might also not get the right diagnosis since the disease has symptoms that look like the flu.
The following are some of the most common symptoms of hepatitis:
There might be people who experience other issues such as:
– Bleeding inside the body
– Stupor, coma, and other mental changes
– Jaundice which is the yellowing of the eyes and the skin
– Light-colored stool
– Dark urine
Spread of Hepatitis
Hepatitis B and C are transmitted through direct contact with infected body fluids. These might be vaginal secretions, semen, or blood. Injected drugs and the sharing of items such as razors and syringes can lead to the transmission of hepatitis. According to CDC, there are about 1.2 million people living with hepatitis B in the US and about 350 million in the world. There are about 3.9 million American living with chronic hepatitis C.
There is a hepatitis vaccine available for infants, adolescents and sexually active individuals. It is important not to share needles used in intravenous drug injections, tattooing and piercing. The use of Latex condoms correctly and consistently can help prevent the spread of sexually transmitted diseases. Use a latex condom for all vaginal or anal sexual intercourse. In case of oral sex, you should use dental dam to prevent the transmission of any STDs. Limit the number of sexual partners to reduce the risk of infection.
Do not share personal items such as razors and needles. If a child is born to an infected mother, it is important that the infant is immunized at birth. It is always a great idea to get tested if infection is suspected because the faster the treatment, the better the management.