In simple language, hepatitis refers to a viral infection of the liver. There are 5 types of viruses affecting the liver namely hepatitis A, B, C, D and E. Hepatitis C is the most common and dangerous of all causing mild acute illness to a chronic life-threatening one.

Prevalence:
– widely prevalent globally
– both sexes equally affected
– having HIV or other STDs predisposes one to hepatitis

Spreads through:
– infected blood by sharing needles, syringes, razors, etc
– having unprotected sex with the infected individual
– having sex with multiple partners
– transfusion of infected blood
– mother to child via pregnancy

Alcohol, smoking, drug abuse, other illnesses that weaken the immune system increase the risk of contracting the disease

Symptoms:
Often produces no symptoms, however following may be present-
– pale or yellowish eyes
– dark yellow urine
– pale or gray stools
– nausea or vomiting
– pale skin
– weakness
– fever
– low appetite
– joint pains
– pain in the abdomen

If untreated, the infection may become chronic causing liver damage, cirrhosis of the liver or even liver cancer.

Prevention:
– avoid sharing needles or razors
– sex with a single partner
– ensure the usage of sterilized needles or equipment during any medical procedure.
– use a condom for every sexual act
– no smoking, alcohol or drugs

Diagnosis:
By blood examination

Treatment:
Anti-viral medications can treat the disease

 

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