Hepatitis affects hundreds of millions of individuals around the world, producing acute and chronic diseases and killing around 1.34 million people each year. So, to advocate global action against viral hepatitis, July 28th is celebrated as World Hepatitis Day to raise awareness about the viral disease, its consequences, and the ways and means to prevent the spread of hepatitis and fatal complications.
What Is Hepatitis?
Hepatitis is a liver inflammation. The hepatitis virus is classified into five types: A, B, C, D, and E. Hepatitis B and C cause chronic disease in hundreds of millions of individuals worldwide, and are the leading causes of liver cirrhosis, liver cancer, and viral hepatitis mortality.
History of World Hepatitis Day:
The Hepatitis B virus was discovered in 1967 by American physician Baruch Samuel Blumberg.
To commemorate the Nobel Prize-winning scientist, July 28 was designated as World Hepatitis Day.
It was founded in the year 2007 and the first community-organised World Hepatitis Day was observed in 2008.
Causes of Hepatitis:
Viruses are the main cause of Hepatitis. Hepatitis A and E are typically transmitted by contaminated food or water; while, Hepatitis B, C, and D are transmitted by sexual contact or contact with infected blood and possibly other bodily fluids.
Other viruses might also cause hepatitis symptoms. In most cases, the body is capable of fighting off these viruses. However, they can sometimes become chronic or long-lasting.
Hepatitis can also be caused by excessive alcohol consumption, pollutants, certain drugs, and autoimmune illnesses. Autoimmune disorders develop, when the body’s defensive response to illness or disease fails. This can lead to your body attacking its own cells and organs, such as the liver.
Chronic hepatitis can have devastating consequences. It can harm the liver and cause it to fail. It can also result in liver cancer.
Symptoms of Hepatitis:
The most common symptoms of these infections include loss of appetite, yellow discolouration of the skin and eyes (jaundice), pale stools, dim pee, stomach pain, joint wains, fatigue, abrupt weight loss, and nausea, fever, vomiting, and so on.
Prevention and Cure of Hepatitis:
As we know prevention is always better than cure, so with Hepatitis also simple precautions such as not consuming potentially contaminated food or water, ensuring raw foods are thoroughly cleaned or cooked before eating, avoiding eating food from outside during the monsoon season, and so on can be extremely beneficial.
Maintaining good personal hygiene and getting vaccinated are also some preventive measures that can be taken to avoid Hepatitis.
Excessive alcohol consumption can also induce liver damage and inflammation. So, alcohol consumption should be minimized to prevent hepatitis.
The best method of preventing Hepatitis B and C is to get tested if one has any symptoms. HBV and HCV also have a hereditary predisposition, and hence should be tested as soon as feasible. Additionally, one has to be certain that the blood transfusion is performed securely and from a licensed blood bank and fresh needles should be used.
Once infected, a less calorific but highly nutritious and diet rich in anti-inflammatory elements is required to restore the immune system to normal and aid in long-term recovery.
Also, the patient must drink a lot of water or fluids to keep themselves hydrated.
In addition to these, a diet should be easy to digest, so it’s preferable to opt for gentle cooking methods: grilling, baking, steaming, or boiling.
World Hepatitis Day 2022: Theme
Global efforts focus on the eradication of hepatitis B, C, and D infections as these three diseases induce chronic hepatitis that can linger for decades and result in over 1 million deaths every year from cirrhosis and liver cancer.
While we now have the knowledge and means to diagnose, treat, and prevent chronic viral hepatitis, these treatments are frequently out of reach for communities and are sometimes only offered in centralized/specialized hospitals.
The theme for this year is “Bringing Hepatitis Care Closer to You,” and it aims to raise awareness about the need to simplify and bring hepatitis care to primary health care facilities, community-based venues, and locations other than hospital sites.
This will bring the care closer to communities and people wherever they are.
Significance of World Hepatitis Day 2022
The WHO aims to eradicate hepatitis by 2030. To get there, WHO asks countries to meet specific goals:
Reduce new infections of hepatitis B and C by 90%;
Reduce hepatitis-related deaths from liver cirrhosis and cancer by 65%;
Ensure that at least 90% of people with hepatitis B and C virus are diagnosed; and
At least 80% of those eligible receive appropriate treatment.
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