Chronic Hepatitis – The Silent Killer

Gastroenterology Hospital in Mangalore

Hepatitis refers to the inflammation (swelling) of the liver, most commonly caused by a viral infection causing both acute (short-term) and chronic (long-term) liver disease. There are five main hepatitis viruses, referred to as types A, B, C, D, and E although other viruses such as  SARS Covid 19, EBV, etc can also lead to hepatitis. There are other non-infective causes of hepatitis such as drugs, alcohol abuse or toxins, and fat build-up in the liver called NASH (Nonalcoholic steatohepatitis).

Hepatitis A and E lead to self-limiting acute hepatitis which rarely progresses to acute liver failure. Both these viruses are transmitted through contaminated water and food. The transmission of these viruses can be prevented by improving personal hygiene and by consuming boiled water and cooked food. Effective vaccines are now available against hepatitis A infection.

Gastroenterologists in Mangalore at Manipal Hospital are experts in handling endoscopic equipment and performing minimally invasive procedures.

Hepatitis B and C may progress to chronic hepatitis (more than 6 months), a silent life-threatening disease in which the liver remains inflamed for decades together which can lead to major liver damage(cirrhosis), liver cancer, and hence premature death. More than 325 million people are living with the hepatitis B virus or the hepatitis C virus worldwide. Hepatitis B and C cause 1.4 million deaths per year – more than HIV/AIDS and malaria- with every 30 seconds one person losing their life to hepatitis. Hepatitis B and C are responsible for two out of every three fatalities from liver cancer. Nearly 9 out of 10 people with hepatitis B and C are unaware of their infection which leads to the development of serious liver disease or liver cancer and also unknowingly transmitting the infection to others. Vaccination, Screening, and treatment are the only ways to control this silent killer since liver damage progresses without symptoms till it reaches the terminal stage. Because of the risk of liver cancer with chronic hepatitis B and C, regular follow-up with a gastroenterologist to identify cancerous lesions at an early stage is mandatory.

Hepatitis B is spread through an infected person's blood, sperm, or other bodily fluids, which can occur through sexual contact, sharing needles and syringes, or from mother to baby at delivery. Getting vaccinated against hepatitis B is the best way to prevent it. Non-vaccinated people should practice safe sexual practices such as a single sexual partner, use of condoms, etc., and avoid sharing needles, Razors, and toothbrushes.  Most important is the prevention of transmission of hepatitis B from mother to child by treatment of mother and vaccination along with IV immunoglobulins to the child at birth. Even though no drug can cure hepatitis B effective drugs are available that slow viral replication and greatly reduce the risk of developing complications such as liver cirrhosis and liver cancer.

If you are looking for a hospital for Chronic Hepatitis Treatment in Mangalore then book an appointment with Manipal Hospital, the best gastroenterology hospital in Mangalore now.

Hepatitis C is spread through blood-to-blood contact which can happen through unsafe injection practices especially seen in drug addicts, inadequate sterilization of medical equipment, and unscreened blood and blood products. It can rarely be transmitted through certain sexual practices where blood is involved. Currently, there are no vaccines available for hepatitis C. Prevention is mainly through avoiding sharing needles, razors, etc., and by practicing good sterilization techniques. Nowadays effective oral medications are available which can completely cure hepatitis C in nearly 98% of the cases within 12 weeks.

With the availability of efficient vaccinations and treatments for hepatitis B, as well as a cure for hepatitis C, the elimination of viral hepatitis is possible. However, the awareness and understanding of the disease have to be enhanced, and also the access to cheaper diagnostics and treatment must be provided. World Hepatitis Day (WHD) takes place every year on 28 July, the birthday of Dr. Baruch Blumberg who discovered the hepatitis B virus and created a vaccine for it.  World Hepatitis Day is celebrated with an aim to unite the world to raise awareness and prioritize the elimination of viral hepatitis by 2030 by early screening and treatment. We need to accelerate hepatitis elimination efforts and prioritize treatment for chronic hepatitis B and C, even during the COVID-19 pandemic because ‘Hepatitis Can’t Wait’.

Manipal Hospital is the Best Gastroenterology Hospital in Mangalore where gastroenterology specialists have extensive experience helping people with all types of digestive conditions, including extremely rare ones.

 

Dr. Anurag J Shetty

Consultant - Gastroenterologist 

Manipal Hospital, Mangalore

 

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