Hepatitis awareness: Here’s what you need to know

Viral hepatitis has been recognised as a serious public health problem in India by the World Health Organisation (WHO) with over 50 million people infected with chronic hepatitis in the country

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Q. Does sedentary lifestyle cause hepatitis?

A. Yes, poor eating habits, lack of exercise can lead to hepatitis.

It is the sedentary lifestyle that leads to build up of fat in the liver, which is 5 to 10 per cent more than normal.

But, if timely diagnosis and treatment occurs the condition can be reversed. Following a healthy lifestyle and physical activity can help prevent further damage to the liver.

If ignored, fatty liver can interfere with the functioning of the liver and can cause permanent damage. Diabetes can increase risk of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease.

Q. Is fatty liver or non-alcoholic fatty liver disease a part of hepatitis?

A. Yes.

Q. Are overweight individuals at a greater risk of developing liver cirrhosis?

A. Yes. Anyone who are overweight are at a greater risk of developing liver cirrhosis secondary to Steatohepatitis (inflammation of the liver with concurrent fat accumulation in liver).

Q. Liver cirrhosis is causes due to hepatitis?

A. Yes, recurrent swelling in liver, secondary to any reason either virus or fat in liver can cause liver cirrhosis which is irreversible condition and can be only cured with liver transplant.

Q. Does it transmitted through water?

A. Every year approximately 200 new cases are reported on hepatitis and during the monsoon, the numbers are even higher.  We need to focus on prevention of hepatitis a and E in general and during pregnancy as well as prevention of hepatitis B, C and D.

Hepatitis A and E are water borne diseases and are transmitted through contaminated food and water while hepatitis B and C get transmitted through blood, semen and saliva.

Q. Is jaundice same as hepatitis?

A. Sometimes people mistake jaundice for hepatitis but jaundice is just a manifestation of the disease. Likewise malaria, dengue, swollen liver are pre-symptoms of the disease.

Q. Those having cirrhosis are at a greater risk of developing liver cancer?

A. Yes, and they should be careful to avoid any of above mentioned causes causing hepatitis and this carries high risk to life.