Let’s be clear about Hepatitis

 

In our most recent health focus we take a closer look at Hepatitis in its various forms and highlight the risks ahead of next month’s World Hepatitis Day.

Hepatitis is the term used to describe inflammation of the liver, caused by either viral infections or from damage caused from drinking too much alcohol. Hepatitis can be either acute (short term) or develop into a chronic condition (long term).

Short-term effects can include muscle and joint pain, high temperature, feeling unusually tired all the time and yellowing of the eyes and skin. Long-term effects may not be obvious until the liver stops working (liver failure), but in the latter stages it can cause jaundice, swelling in the legs and feet, confusion and blood in your stools.

The most common viral cases of Hepatitis are Hepatitis A, B, C, D and E.

Andrew Harris,Client Wellbeing Manager at Healthy Performance commented “Whilst there are several forms of hepatitis, one on the most prevalent in the UK can be prevented by reducing alcohol consumption. Alcoholic hepatitis is common in the UK and many people don’t realise they have it because it doesn’t usually cause any symptoms, although it can cause sudden jaundice and liver failure in some people. Stopping drinking will usually allow your liver to recover, but if you continue to drink alcohol excessively, there’s a risk you could eventually develop cirrhosis, liver failure or liver cancer.”

Hepatitis A:

Usually caught by consuming contaminated food or drink in countries with poor sanitation

Generally passes within a few months of contracting the virus, but can cause pain, itching, and nausea.

Hepatitis B:

Is a blood borne virus, commonly spread from infected women to their babies; or through child-to-child contact

Can also be caused through unprotected sex or injuries from needle use.

Adults can generally fight off the virus within a couple of months However, children that contract the infection often develop chronic Hepatitis B, which can lead to cirrhosis and liver damage

Hepatitis B is now on the routine immunisation programme for children

Hepatitis C:

Also a blood borne virus, it’s commonly spread through sharing needles, or other needle injuries

It is the most common type of viral Hepatitis in the UK

80% of people who contract Hepatitis C will develop a chronic infection

Hepatitis D:

Only affects those already infected with Hepatitis B as it needs the virus to be able to survive in the body

Usually spread through blood-to-blood contact or sexual contact

It’s uncommon in the UK, but is more widespread in other parts of Europe, the Middle East, Africa and South America

Long-term infection with Hepatitis D and Hepatitis B can increase your risk of developing serious problems, such as cirrhosis and liver cancer

No vaccine but the Hepatitis B vaccine can help protect you from it

Hepatitis E:

Has spiked in recent years, and has been linked with eating raw or undercooked pork, as well as wild boar, venison and shellfish

Maintaining good food and water hygiene when in countries with poor sanitation is the main way to reduce your risk

Alcoholic Hepatitis:

Caused from years of excessive drinking

Reduce your risk by consuming no more than 14 units a week

 

 

 

Notes:

Andrew Harris is Client Wellbeing Manager at Healthy Performance, the employee health and wellbeing specialists. He has 15 years’ experience of delivering Health and Wellbeing Services to businesses throughout the UK .

As well as employee health checks, Healthy Performance deliver a variety of workshops, and sleep is a popular topic.  For more information visit www.healthyperformance.co.uk

The medical information on Hepatitis was provided by Healthy Performance.

 

 
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