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World Hepatitis Day: One Life, One Liver

Looking at the topic above you’re probably thinking, which phrase is this one again as one of the common ones goes by “you only live once”, but the phrase above actually gives a rethink and points to the fact that our liver is very vital to our wellbeing and anything that affects it has great chances of jeopardizing an individual’s. Hepatitis is another silent killer that has been identified as over 90% of the world’s population are living with it without knowing they have it and because of its lifelong effects approximately 354 million people globally with hepatitis live with it having to be on continuous treatment, almost like HIV/AIDS.
Because of its silent but deadly nature, seeing almost 3000 or more people die on a daily basis from its devastating effects, we thought it a great idea to create awareness on what exactly Hepatitis is; causes, symptoms and also bring you ways on what preventative measures to take to care for your liver.
What is Hepatitis?
Hepatitis is one of the major diseases that affects the liver which causes it to be enlarged or inflamed. The condition is preventable but can cause a series of other serious health conditions if not adequately attended to.
In addition, there are five different types of Hepatitis namely, Hepatitis A, B, C, D & E, with B & C being the most common types.
You may want to ask, what causes hepatitis? here are some of the most common causes of Hepatitis:
1. Viral infection (major cause)
2. Alcohol consumption
3. Other pre-existing health conditions
4. Some certain medications used in the treatment of other illnesses
Hepatitis is highly infectious and transmitted majorly through these channels: ingesting water/food contaminated with fecal matter of an infected person and blood/body fluids from someone who is infected either from sexual contact, improper use of injections or poor patient care or handling.
Signs and Symptoms
The signs and symptoms of hepatitis are dependent on the type of Hepatitis a person is infected with and type C is usually symptom free till liver damage sets in. Here are few common ones:
1. Fatigue/general body tiredness
2. Flu-like symptoms
3. Build up of fluids in the belly (ascites)
4. Dark urine and pale stools (usually grey/ash in color)
5. Abdominal pains
6. Signs of jaundice (yellowing of the eyes and skin)
7. Loss of appetite
Diagnosis and Treatment
Diagnosis is done by a doctor through a series of tests which include; ultrasound, blood tests, liver biopsy and liver function tests (LFTs). Treatment of people diagnosed with Hepatitis is not once off and is given based on which type is being treated. Antiviral medications are given that span over several months and quite often lifelong with a series of regular check-ups and evaluations.
How to be kind to your liver (preventative measures)
1. Eat healthy; foods that contain fibre, beans, nuts and vegetables
2. Exercise; keeps the body mobile, reduces fatty tissue and promotes elimination of toxins
3. Reduce alcohol consumption
4. Avoid unrecommended drugs and herbs as concentrations are not regulated
5. Make water your friend
6. Wash fruits and vegetables thoroughly
7. Practice safe sex and injection use where needed
Hepatitis adverse effects can be prevented and stopped at an early stage if preventative measures are aggressively engaged and treatment is sought on time. Immunizations for Hepatitis A, B & C exist, whilst only type B & C have treatment available.Since most people only find out they Hepatitis when the condition has advanced a little our advice is let’s be proactive in our health by even going for regular check-ups whether we or not we feel sick, it will go a long way in avoiding complications.
If you notice any signs and symptoms and suspect you may have Hepatitis due to any exposure, kindly visit your nearest hospital or contact your health practitioner. Lets join hands together and save our liver; we only have one of it to live this life.
If you have any further questions, don’t hesitate to reach out and we would be glad to connect you with any of our specialists.
Written By:
Rebecca Adeleke-Adesanmi,
BSc. Nursing, MA, Healthcare Management

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