Hepatitis means inflammation of the liver. Various infectious viruses, non-infectious agents can bring about this condition. Sometimes, the ailment can go to severe liver cirrhosis (a late-stage liver disease in which scar tissue replaces healthy liver tissue causing permanent liver damage) and even cancer. According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), an estimated 354 million people worldwide live with hepatitis infections.
Some of the most common causes for the different types of Hepatitis are:
- Consuming contaminated food or drinks, which cause Hepatitis A and E
- Transmission through blood, body fluids, engaging in sexual activity, in the case of Hepatitis B and C
- Sharing needles, syringes, and other injections can also cause Hepatitis B and C
Few other prominent reasons for Hepatitis that needs emphasis, especially in the current situation, are:
- No to self-medication – Fear and panic of the covid-19 have led many people to resort to boosting their immunity, as per the advice available on social networks or relying solely on self-expertise. Incomplete knowledge, fake news and unverified claims by many products increased this trend.
As the liver metabolises most of the medications, this can lead to unnecessary stress on the body organ, causing drug-induced Hepatitis.
- Avoid alcohol- Having an excessive amount of alcohol is a dominant factor leading to liver damage, which may eventually progress to Hepatitis. Alcoholism as a habit is quite distressing as it can cause a lot of physical and psychological issues.
- Diet and lifestyle– Unrestricted intake of fats, protein, carbs, and alcohol will increase the accumulation of excess fats in the liver. Thus, giving rise to the condition called fatty liver.
A sedentary lifestyle with no exercise and body movement also causes the same, which changes the typical structure of liver cells.
The liver is a vital organ of our body, which is needed to ensure an individual’s overall health and well-being.
Preventive health check-up company Indus Health Plus conducted over 10000 tests from April 2018 to Dec 2020. Data from the above revealed that 10% of the tested males and 3% of tested females had abnormal liver enzyme SGPT (serum glutamic pyruvic transaminase, responsible for converting food to energy).
Thus, health check-ups are handy in the early detection of any potentially severe liver condition.
Below are a few tests to understand whether your liver is healthy and functioning properly:
- To assess the functional status, one can get a liver function test that measures the serum bilirubin levels and liver enzymes like SGPT, total protein levels, etc.
- Radiological tests like ultrasound, CT and MRI help visualise the liver structure.
Precautions to maintain good liver status include:
- Periodic assessment of liver functions
- Maintaining a healthy lifestyle
- Avoiding alcohol and smoking
- Taking medications as per a doctor’s prescription
- Being aware and getting vaccinated against certain infections like Hepatitis B.
By Amol Naikawadi, Joint Managing Direct and Preventive Healthcare Specialist, Indus Health Plus