On the eve of World Hepatitis Day (on July 28), doctors from Kauvery Hospital explained the various types of liver conditions with a focus on chronic viral hepatitis (A to E) that are treatable and curable, but often ignorance and delay lead to complications.
K. Elankumaran, senior consultant and head, Liver Diseases and Transplantation Centre, at the Chennai unit of the hospital, and Kumaragurubaran, consultant Hepatologist in Tiruchi, were speaking at The Hindu Wellness webinar on “Hepatitis Can’t Wait”.
They said 90% of chronic liver illness starts with vertical transmission from mother-to-child at birth but the condition manifests years later. It is imperative for non-cirrhotic people to get screened regularly and every one, who has the infection, should get ultrasound test and blood test done regularly, Dr. Kumaragurubaran said.
To avoid progression from acute to chronic infection to cirrhosis and cancer of the liver which could be fatal, people need to watch out for early signs like fatigue, itchiness and jaundice and consult a doctor. They should take care of what goes into the body, from food to drugs to alcohol.
Dr. Elankumaran said fatty liver can be reversed within a month with balanced diet of low carbs-high proteins-moderate fibres and vitamins with regular 45 minutes of aerobic exercises five times a week. In case of viral hepatitis, prevention is the best safeguard as Hepatitis C spreads through contaminated food and water and unhygienic sexual contact with infected person and Hepatitis B spreads through blood and sharing and usage of infected needles. The two together annually affect 3,50,000 people the world over.
However, in 90% of viral Hepatitis cases, the immune system clears up the virus. Three doses of Hepatitis B vaccine help with keeping the virus at bay. Severely-infected cases could be treated with surgical intervention or liver transplant. But awareness among public is low because liver condition is not an immediate threat to life. For better quality and increased span of life, one can’t wait that long, the doctors reminded as a world hepatitis day message to public.