- by Manipal Hospitals
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- Feb 14 2017
Hepatitis: Over Time And Now
Man has never been free of disease. Since time immemorial the history of mankind has been studded with the coming of diseases, one after the other. Documents from the past have it that even though we were able to fight off most of them, they did leave behind some major scars upon the texture of our existence. We were able to push through and totally eradicate certain diseases while some came along but never left. With the evolution that followed within the wires of our everyday lifestyles and the fabric of social changes, some diseases found better ways to stay on and propagate multiple entry and exit routes within individuals and finally emerged as the most formidable challenge we’ve had to face along the journey of our very survival. Many such diseases have made a significant mark throughout the world and shattered societies at a go like Ebola, Plague, AIDS: Hepatitis being a certain one amongst them. The history of Hepatitis dates back to as early as the beginning of medicine.
“Hepatitis (plural hepatitides) is a medical condition defined by the inflammation of the liver and characterized by the presence of inflammatory cells in the tissue of the organ,”- the Wikipedia page on Hepatitis opens up thus! Hepatitis is also defied as a group of infectious diseases caused by the virus that specifically target and attack the liver. Of late there are six different kinds of Hepatitis conditions that have come into our notice, namely Hepatitis A, B, C, D, E and G and it is also a very well fact that all of these can create acute conditions for the host body except for Hepatitis G. Amongst these the most important cases of Hepatitis that comes up are Hepatitis A, B and C and particularly the most common, hence the deadliest certainly are Hepatitis B and C.
What actually goes on in the liver when Hepatitis strikes is similar to the effects caused by alcohol within the largest organ present in our body. When the Hepatitis virus hits the liver, the virus mostly causes it to be inflamed. Lymphocytes, a group of cells mechanised to fight of this attack is quickly summoned for action, which end up hurting the liver even more. The liver being assaulted by this vicious attack of the virus and the reaction of the natural defense apparatus now goes through something called fibrosis and it is when this scaring of the liver gets to the extreme, the flow of blood about the organ gets more lethargic and finally causes cirrhosis wherein the blood begins to back up and leak into the other organs. The fundamental functions that the liver performs for the everyday functioning of the body like the production of proteins and the regulating of the fat nutrients and the control over the derivation and the excretion of cholesterol becomes a tardy task over time and the condition of the host undergoing the Hepatitis syndrome deescalates to a case of hopelessness.
One another deadly feature of Hepatitis is that it is highly transmittable from one person to another through a number of modus operandi. This is one disease which can quickly spread like wild fire especially amongst the youth taking into account their natural choice and penchant for a ‘grey’ lifestyle. In a nut shell Hepatitis virus can travel from one person to another if they:
- Have sex with an infected person without using special protective tools
- Share needles (used for injecting drugs) with an infected person
- Get a tattoo or piercing with tools that were not cleaned well
- Share personal items like razors or toothbrushes with an infected person
- Are exposed to the body fluids expelled by an infected person
It also has to be duly noted that a mother who has the virus can pass it to her baby during delivery.
Having known what may carry the infectious virus across it is of supreme importance that we also know that casual contact such as hugging, kissing, sneezing, coughing, or sharing food or drinks do not result in the Hepatitis virus traveling from a victim to a potential target.
Another challenge that Hepatitis throws our way is that people with Hepatitis mostly do not know they have it at least initially because the symptoms to the disease are no different to the signs of a common flu. However, the most immediate signals to look out for if in case one does suspect being a case of Hepatitis virus takeover are:
- Extreme tiredness
- Mild fever
- Poor appetite
- Constant belly ache
- Diarrhea or constipation
- Muscles ache and joint pain.
- Skin rash.
- Yellowish eyes and skin
Disease, be it common or rare cannot be ever rated as big or small. There is no such thing as a small disease. Be it an everyday flu or a mild headache, without proper diagnosis and ultimate care, it might turn out to be a serious case which may turn the table around within a moment a two. While the same goes for the diseases that we know and claim to be an immediate threat to life, in this case Hepatitis, which we may recognise as a fearsome disease but with proper guidance and care even it can be kept at bay, thanks to the marvel of medical science. What needs to be input is a fundamental approach of DOs and DON’Ts and a worked out structure of faith and dedication towards the advice of the professionals and a self applied routine, charted out with the ultimate end of recovery in mind.
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