What is Hepatitis

Did you know that 95% of people suffering hepatitis globally are unaware that they even have the disease?

This is because in most cases people don’t show symptoms of hepatitis and, when symptoms do show, people often mistook its symptoms as common diseases until it’s too late.

This is the reason why hepatitis is also known as a ‘silent killer’.

According to Mitra Keluarga Hospitals, there are more than 780.000 new cases of hepatitis being reported every year in Indonesia. That’s roughly 3 out every 1000 people in Indonesia alone.

This issue is even more apparent with the recent announcement from the World Health Organization of the spread of mysterious acute hepatitis cases on 23 April 2022. This ‘acute hepatitis of unknown aetiology’ has even reached Indonesia and as of 11 May 2022, 5 people have died from this disease while many more similar suspected cases are still awaiting lab results related to this disease.

While most hepatitis is treatable, and even curable, there are many cases when people missed the early symptoms for too long and only find out about their diseases when the damage are already too severe.

To avoid this, it is never too late to learn more about hepatitis and its symptoms.

So, read this article carefully and it might just protect you and your loved ones from this silently deadly disease.

Hepatitis Are Different

First thing first, know that there are many types of hepatitis.

In general, all hepatitis could be simply explained as an inflammation of the liver. However, each of this hepatitis may not only have different causes, but also different symptoms and degrees of severity.

The United States’ Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) explained that hepatitis could occur due to a variety of things.

The most common cause for hepatitis is viruses, also known as viral hepatitis. There are five types of viral hepatitis and they are:

  1. Hepatitis A, most commonly transmitted through contaminated food or water.
  2. Hepatitis B, most commonly transmitted through sexual contact.
  3. Hepatitis C, most commonly transmitted through blood to blood contact.
  4. Hepatitis D, most commonly transmitted through blood to blood contact with those infected with the virus and only occur with someone infected by Hepatitis B.
  5. Hepatitis E, most commonly transmitted through contaminated food or water.

Other known causes of hepatitis include excessive alcohol consumption, consumptions of drugs and toxic substances, and even certain medical conditions triggered by either genetic or environmental factors.

Severity of hepatitis vary between patients relative to the level of damage their liver sustained and their hepatitis types.

Some patient may suffer acute short-term infections that are curable by adequate rests and hydration, nutritional case, as well as through medicines like in most cases of alcoholic hepatitis, hepatitis A, C, and E.

In other case, some may suffer chronic long-term infection which could lead to liver failures, like in the cases of people suffering from hepatitis B, D, and autoimmune hepatitis.

While the more dangerous types of hepatitis are treatable and preventable such as through the use of medicine, vaccinations, even a liver transplant, there are many cases where the patients’ hepatitis are incurable and they have to live with this life-long harsh conditions.

Hepatitis vaccine

Hepatitis vaccine. Image Source: Freepik

So, how can we tell if we or someone we know have hepatitis? What are the hepatitis symptoms should we be aware of?

These are the four common symptoms of hepatitis you can look out for.

1. Decreased Appetite

One of the most commonly overlooked symptoms of acute hepatitis is the loss appetite.

Liver plays an important role in digestive system, mainly in producing a substance called bile to help the small intestine in processing newly absorbed nutrients from foods we eat.

When the liver is infected with hepatitis, bile production might be compromised and this messes up the body’s ability to properly absorb nutrients.

This in turn causes the loss of appetite in people with hepatitis.

Not only that, but prolonged loss of appetite could also result in unhealthy weight loss and the weakening of the body immune systems with the lack of nutrients entering the body.

2. Nausea

Related to the loss of appetite, hepatitis patients could also show symptom of nausea.

The liver plays an important role in cleaning your body from any toxic substances you may have consumed and bodily waste products produced by the body in your daily life.

However, a buildup of toxins and wastes in the body could occur if the liver is damaged.

This buildup then results in bodily reactions from the digestive system which leads to the patient feeling nauseous or even outright vomiting because of it.

3. Fatigue

Another most commonly overlooked symptom of hepatitis is extreme tiredness or fatigue.

While people might be familiar with being tired as a normal part of our daily lives, people who suffers from liver diseases may suffer show symptom of what we call chronic fatigue.

This kind of fatigue is so bad that it is best described as waking up every morning always feeling tired as if you never have rested. It is an unhealthy condition where the body is constantly in a state of tiredness that might even be incapacitating to a person’s daily life.

While it is not yet clearly known why, one study by Dr. Mark G. Swain from University of Calgary, Canada, suggest that this fatigue might be caused by disruptions in the connection between the brain and the diseased liver.

4. Jaundice

The last symptom on this list is Jaundice which is most visible dead giveaway of any liver disease, like hepatitis.

Jaundice is a condition where the skin or the whites of a person’s eyes turn into sickly yellow. This condition happens when there is too much bilirubin, a yellow-orange substance, in a person’s red blood cells.

Usually, your liver filters out bilirubin from your blood cells when these cells die. However, when the liver is damaged or infected with diseases such as hepatitis, it could not properly filter these substances up.

This leads to the buildup of bilirubin and thus causing the skin to look yellow.

‌Conclusion

It is very important to look out for early hepatitis symptoms since in 95% of the cases globally, people with hepatitis does not even know they have the disease and might mistook their subtle symptoms for common diseases.

Although all hepatitis generally results in inflammation of the liver, it is important to know that there are many kinds of hepatitis – each with their own causes, symptoms, and severity.

While there are certainly many symptoms that patients may show because of the different kinds of hepatitis, four easy ways to self-diagnose for early signs of hepatitis could be done by observing any signs of loss of appetite, nausea, fatigue, and jaundice.

So, is hepatitis treatable? Yes, if proper medical treatments are taken as soon as possible.

Therefore, it is highly recommended that you take medical check-ups with medical professionals if you suspect these symptoms on you or your loved ones.

After all, it is always better to be safe sooner, than be sorry later.

About Puri Medical Vaccination Program

Hepatitis are scary and so are other infectious diseases. However, you can take the right step today to avoid catching these diseases by taking vaccinations.

Today, vaccination is the best and most effective way to protect you and your loved ones from acute infectious diseases. Here at Puri Medical Clinic, we provide the best quality vaccination services through our Puri Medical Vaccination Program.

Puri Medical Vaccination Program not only provide vaccinations against viral hepatitis A and viral hepatitis B, but also rabies, flu, diphtheria, whooping-cough, measles, rubella, parotitis, papilloma virus, poliomyelitis, tetanus, tuberculosis, and many more from approved suppliers who adhere to quality storage and transport standards. We also take vaccination procedures very seriously for kids and adults with prior physician exam and proper consultations for preventive injections.

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