A 2019 report released by the World Health Organization (WHO) revealed that, globally, 296 million individuals in all age groups were suffering from Hepatitis B. Another 58 million individuals were living with Hepatitis C. Another WHO report, combining all hepatitis cases worldwide showed an estimated 500 million. The report also shows hepatitis claimed the lives of 1.5 million victims each year.
Of the approximately 500 million cases, an estimated 13.3 million are suffering from Hepatitis B ‘HBV’, another estimated 15 million are suffering from Hepatitis C ‘HCV’. These estimates came from data collected from the European Region (Central Asia and Europe).
What makes hepatitis such a deadly disease is the onset of symptoms. Most people do not go in for a checkup unless there is a reason for a physician’s visit. Therefore, people who have contracted hepatitis are asymptomatic (presenting with no symptoms) and not receiving treatment.
Medical experts highly recommend people of all age groups, having unprotected sex to get routinely tested. Early detection will ensure speedier treatment, resulting in a longer lifespan.
Types of hepatitis
- Hepatitis A ‘HAV’. Hepatitis A, more commonly known as ‘HAV’ among people living with the condition. This hepatitis virus is spread through water or food contaminated with fecal matter, belonging to an infected patient. Medications designed to combat these conditions are available at Kangaroo.
- Hepatitis B. Although there are other types of hepatitis, the most common is likely B. It is primarily caused by the HBV virus. One thing to remember about this form of hepatitis is that it can be spread through blood and semen. Plus, it is an STD, so you can catch it after having sex with an infected individual. Most people develop Hep B after intercourse, but it can also be picked up through bites, needle sharing, razors, and tattoos. It is pertinent to never share these utensils with another individual. Doing so could cause you to develop Hepatitis B before you know it. Like other forms of Hepatitis B is going to cause your liver to swell. Some patients cannot eliminate the Hep B virus, so they will be more likely to experience a chronic infestation. In some rare cases, it could be lifelong. Blood banks tend to test for hep B to ensure it is not spread to other people. If you’ve donated blood, the blood bank will notify you when your blood has Hepatitis B.
- Hepatitis C. Hepatitis C is likely the most common form of hepatitis in the Americas. It is regularly found in North America, so you may encounter someone who has this condition. The C version of Hepatitis is developed but to the HCV virus. It is similar to Hep B because both are spread through the same methods. For instance, it can be transmitted to you via someone’s blood or semen. B and C have a lot in common since both will cause your liver to swell. Sadly, C tends to be worse because it could lead to serious liver damage. If not dealt with promptly, it could cause you to develop cancer at some point. Plus, you’re going to be much more likely to experience chronic infections and cirrhosis. If you’ve been to a blood bank in the past few weeks, you’re likely going to learn more about your health. Since all banks test for hep C, you’ll know whether you’re carrying this disease. Unfortunately, researchers have never manufactured a vaccine for the Hep C virus. Instead, you must take steps to minimise your risks. Be careful and practice safe sex, so you can avoid exposure to bodily fluids that contain HIV.
- Hepatitis D. Although it isn’t common in America, Hepatitis D is found around the world. It is primary caused by the HDV virus. Remember that you will not develop Hepatitis D unless you already have Hepatitis B. The condition is regularly spread by sexual contact and drug abuse. If HDV is found on a dirty needle, the needle could spread Hep D. In addition to this, Hepatitis D is spread through infected blood and unprotected intercourse. It is essential to protect yourself when having sex with strangers. Using a condom can help avoid Hepatitis. Patients experiencing this form of Hepatitis will likely experience liver swelling. One way to avoid developing Hep D is by getting vaccinated for Hepatitis B. Once the patient has done that, the risk of developing Hep D will be significantly lower. Again, Hep D can be found around the world, including in Africa, Asia, South America, and ME. Protect yourself from such conditions when travelling to these parts of the world.
- Hepatitis E. Although there are numerous types of hepatitis, one of the most common is type E. Surprisingly, the disease is contracted when the patient drinks water that has been infected with Hepatitis E. The good news is that this illness isn’t frequently found in the United States. Instead, it is regularly diagnosed in the Middle East, Central America, Asia, and Africa. If you reside in the US, learn more about this condition, but don’t fear it. You likely won’t encounter it. Once you’ve developed Hepatitis E, there is a good chance that your liver is going to swell. Nevertheless, you shouldn’t develop any long-term damage. Remember that this type of hepatitis can easily be spread due to oral and anal contact. Unfortunately, researchers and doctors have not developed a vaccine for this type of Hepatitis. The best way to avoid it is by remaining clean and tidy. When you travel to another country, do not drink water directly from the tap. Stick to bottled water, and you might be able to avoid Hepatitis E.
Unfortunately, Americans, Canadians, Europeans, and others may develop Hepatitis. Regardless of the type you’re dealing with, there is a risk that it is going to be life-threatening. Therefore, it is vital to begin working to rectify the problem as quickly as possible. While there is no specific cure, it can be treated, so the patient can maintain a high quality of life. In some cases, mild varieties do not need treatment. Be sure to consult with a medical professional to find out what you’re dealing with and how to fix the problem. Otherwise, you’ll ignore it and your health will quickly worsen.
Ellen Diamond did her degree in psychology at the University of Edinburgh. She has an ongoing interest in mental health and well-being.