Do you know what we folks at DocDoc rank second only to death? Ignorance with a capital “I”. Ignorance isn’t bliss. It’s just Ignorance — an unhealthy, “Eat,Pray….we don’t care” attitude that will come back to bite you.
This week, DocDoc will be celebrating the 6th World Hepatitis Day, in partnership with the World Hepatitis Alliance. We believe that as pervasive and deadly as the disease is, most people are somewhat ignorant about hepatitis. And we don’t want to be a part of “most people”, do we?
So, if you picked up our cute fact cards at Star Vista mall today, or just happened to stumble upon this page for a Hepatitis 101, yay you buddy!
ANSWER: Hepatitis means inflammation of the liver and can be caused by a wide range of things. One of the most common causes of chronic (long-term) hepatitis is viral infection. Hepatitis B is one of the most common viral infections in the world, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). Both hepatitis B and C can be contracted though blood-to-blood contact. Hepatitis B is more infectious than hepatitis C and can also be spread through saliva, semen and vaginal fluid. With hepatitis B, infection can occur through having unprotected sex with an infected person, but in hepatitis C, this is much more rare.
ANSWER: Hepatitis B and C are both ‘silent’ viruses, and because many people feel no symptoms, you could be infected for years without knowing it.
ANSWER: Since Hepatitis B and C are silent viruses, not treating them can lead to liver scarring (cirrhosis). If you have liver cirrhosis, there is a risk of life-threatening complications such as bleeding, ascites (accumulation of fluid in the abdominal cavity), coma, liver cancer, liver failure and death. With chronic hepatitis B, liver cancer might even appear before cirrhosis. In some cases, a diagnosis is made too late and the only option is a liver transplant.
Four out of five people with hepatitis C develop a chronic infection, which may cause cirrhosis and liver cancer after 15–30 years. For chronic hepatitis B sufferers, liver cirrhosis and liver cancer are some of the biggest risks.
ACUTE HEPATITIS B TREATMENT: Good news! it is not usually necessary to treat a new hepatitis B infection in the first 6 months. Since 9 out of 10 new infections go away on their own, treatment makes very little difference.
CHRONIC (LONG-LASTING) HEPATITIS B: Consult with your doctor, because some need treatment, while others should wait. Treatment does not usually provide a cure, but it can turn an ‘aggressive’ hepatitis B infection into a mild infection. This can help prevent liver damage. If the infection is considered mild, it might be better to monitor it and wait until later for treatment. You can treat chronic hepatitis B with peg-interferon or with pills, which are called nucleoside or nucleotide analogues.
HEPATITIS C TREATMENT: In many countries, the second quarter of 2011 marked the arrival of a new current standard of care for people with HCV genotype 1; Boceprevir (Victrelis) and Telaprevir (Incivek), which are protease inhibitors taken orally and added to the Pegylated interferon alfa and ribavirin combination treatment have been launched in different countries given their significantly higher success rates.There are a number of new hepatitis C treatments that are in development.
For more information on hepatitis , visit: http://www.worldhepatitisalliance.org/en/about-viral-hepatitis.html
After sifting through the 900-something words, if you just flitted from “I don’t even know the ABCs of hepatitis ” to “Okay, I need to get to the nearest GP clinic now and get poked”, we salute your patience and sensibility. Now take action, buddy! Book an appointment today. And also stand a chance to pocket 50 bucks–how wootworthy is that?! Also, DO share this post with your buddies. Do your part in sensitizing Singapore. We’re doing ours.