‘Late diagnosis of hepatitis heightens risk of liver cancer’

Viral hepatitis B and C remain major health challenges, affecting 325 million people globally. They are the root causes for liver cancer that claims 1.34 million lives every year, according to R.L. Praveen, consultant gastroenterologist and hepatologist of KIMS-ICON Hospital.

“At least 60% of liver cancers occur due to late testing and delayed treatment of viral hepatitis B and C,” he said ahead of the World Hepatitis Day which is observed on July 28 to raise awareness on hepatitis, a group of infectious diseases known as hepatitis A, B, C, D and E. Hepatitis A and E are transmitted due to contaminated food and water. Hepatitis B and C are transmitted from affected mother to child, unsafe sex with infected persons, sharing injection needles, syringes, tottooing needles, shaving blades contaminated with blood of affected persons. Hepatitis D occurs only simultaneously or as super infection with Hepatitis B.

Major symptoms

Acute viral hepatitis patients will have yellowish eyes, yellowish urine, generalised body itching, fever, body aches, decreased appetite, abdominal pain, and in severe cases altered sensorium and coma. Chronic hepatitis gradually damages liver leading to cirrhosis.

“One must consult a doctor as soon as possible on getting any of the symptoms for correct diagnosis and treatment. There is treatment for chronic hepatitis B and C. Many new drugs, with better results, are available,” Dr. Praveen says.

Precautionary measures

Viral hepatitis can be prevented by drinking clean water, proper hand washing before eating food, following proper hygienic food habits, safe sexual practices, avoiding contaminated needles and blades, screening and vaccination.

Source: Read Full Article