SAN DIEGO,: Across the globe, World Hepatitis Day is celebrated on July 28th. The goal is not to celebrate the disease but to raise awareness of the compelling need for hepatitis being completely eradicated.
What is hepatitis
According to United European Gastroenterology, it is believed that there are approximately 325 million persons worldwide infected with viral hepatitis; and, it is estimated that up to 290 million of them are unaware they suffer from it.
A potentially deadly inflammatory condition of the liver, oftentimes a virus, hepatitis is believed comparable to other worldwide health threats such as HIV malaria and tuberculosis. Over approximately 1.3 million people die from hepatitis each year, with 2 out of every 3 liver cancer deaths believed to have been caused by it.
It is a growing and deadly phenomenon which affects all peoples on every continent.
The CDC estimates approximately 4.4 million Americans are living with chronic hepatitis B and C.
There are five different viral forms of hepatitis, according to the World Health Organization – WHO. The disease may stem from a variety of toxins or exposures and are each uniquely manifested in the human body:
A virus (HAV):
Found in human feces, sexual activity, contaminated water and food. Areas with poor sanitation increase likelihood of exposure. With mild to severe symptoms, HAV is known to be oftentimes preventable with appropriate vaccinations.
B virus (HBV):
Transmitted with exposure to infected blood, semen and other bodily fluids, HBV is also transmittable from mother to fetus. Contaminated blood and blood products, medical and drug injections and health care worker exposures. HBV is preventable with appropriate vaccinations.
C virus (HCV):
Through exposures to infected blood, blood transfusions, medical- and drug-related injections and sexual transmission and there are no known vaccines to prevent HCV.
D virus (HDV):
This infection is caused only who are infected with HBV, complicating and worsening this form of hepatitis. Vaccination for HBV might provide some protection for contracting HDV.
E virus (HEV):
Primarily caused by consumption of contaminated food or water, it is found mostly in developed countries. HEV is preventable with the appropriate vaccination.
A variety of infections, alcohol, prescribed and other types of drugs, environmental toxins and autoimmune disease might also be the cause of deadly hepatitis. All forms of Hepatitis could cause scarring of the liver, cirrhosis and liver cancer -ultimately necessitating the need for liver transplant.
Symptoms of being infected with hepatitis vary, and could be subtle or difficult to detect.
Acute hepatitis could developed quickly with the following symptoms, according to Healthline;
-Loss of appetite
-Unexplained weight loss
-Yellowing skin or eyes
If there are one or more of these symptoms, and there have been some exposures common to contracting hepatitis, consult an appropriate medical provider immediately. Physical examination, liver function blood testing, antibody testing, ultrasound and more are some of the many common methods medical professionals use to diagnosis and resolve any symptoms.
There is no doubt that with the rise in homelessness, increasing poverty, unhealthy living conditions, global mobility and travel, increasing drug usage, unprotected sex and growing world population, hepatitis is an epidemic.
Raising Awareness through World Hepatitis Day
The massive global, annual World Hepatitis Day is a tribute to the World Hepatitis Alliance in its efforts to bring awareness, education, environmental considerations and health to the fore.
With this year’s theme, Eliminate Hepatitis, the tireless advocacy of WHA is to be lauded for its commitment to the quality of health and well-being of our global community.
Moreover, the critical contributions of WHO, with Country Regional Offices in Africa, The Americas, South-East Asia, Europe, Eastern Mediterranean and Western Pacific continue their massive efforts to bring peoples together from all over the world in massive effort to provide solutions and cures for some of the most pressing health care threats to our world today.
Until next time, enjoy the ride in good health!