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Hepatitis

The medical disease known as hepatitis damages and inflames the liver, an important organ. With a high frequency in Ghana and other African nations, it is a major global public health problem. A number of things, such as viral infections, alcohol usage, and some drugs, can result in hepatitis.

Types of Hepatitis:

  • Hepatitis A (HAV): Highly contagious, usually spread through contaminated food and water.
  • Hepatitis B (HBV): Spread through bodily fluids, mother-to-child, and contaminated needles.
  • Hepatitis C (HCV): Primarily spread through blood-to-blood contact and contaminated needles.
  • Hepatitis D (HDV): Only affects those already infected with HBV.
  • Hepatitis E (HEV): Usually spread through contaminated water and food.

Causes and Risk Factors:

  • Viral infections (HAV, HBV, HCV, HDV, HEV)
  • Alcohol abuse
  • Certain medications
  • Toxins and chemicals
  • Autoimmune disorders

Symptoms:

  • Fatigue
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Abdominal pain
  • Dark urine
  • Pale stools
  • Loss of appetite
  • Joint pain
  • Jaundice (yellowing of skin and eyes)

Diagnosis:

  • Blood tests (e.g., liver function tests, viral load tests)
  • Liver biopsy
  • Imaging tests (e.g., ultrasound, CT scan)

Treatment and Prevention:

  • Vaccines (HAV, HBV)
  • Antiviral medications (HBV, HCV, HDV)
  • Interferon therapy
  • Liver transplantation
  • Safe sex practices
  • Avoid sharing needles
  • Proper hygiene and sanitation

Complications:

  • Chronic liver disease
  • Liver cirrhosis
  • Liver cancer
  • Liver failure

Global Impact:

  • According to the World Health Organization (WHO), hepatitis B and C affect over 300 million people worldwide.
  • Hepatitis is responsible for over 1.3 million deaths annually.

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