It may be in you right now and you don’t even know it. As you read this, a strain of hepatitis may be attacking your liver and breaking down its functions. If left unchecked, hepatitis can lead to health issues, cancer, cirrhosis, and death. We have all heard of hepatitis and some of us have probably even received vaccinations for it before going abroad. But, how much do you really know about the different strains of hepatitis? Time to get educated. Knowledge is power and an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.
Hepatitis is a disease that attacks and causes inflammation to the liver. Acute hepatitis is considered a short-term flare-up while chronic hepatitis is prolonged inflammation. Chronic hepatitis can lead to cancer, liver failure, and cirrhosis. The most common forms of hepatitis are:
Hepatitis A: This form of hepatitis is contracted through contaminated food and water. There is no treatment, but it rarely moves past the acute stage and will usually clear up on its own. There is a vaccination for Hepatitis A.
Hepatitis B: This is a sexually –transmitted disease. It is usually chronic and, if left untreated, can lead to cancer. It is usually treated with bed rest, a diet high in protein and carbohydrates, and possibly anti-viral agents. There is a vaccination for Hepatitis C.
Hepatitis C: This form of hepatitis is contracted through direct contact with infected blood. It is chronic and must be treated with anti-viral agents. There is no vaccination. In Canada, Hepatitis C is the leading cause of liver transplants. It is estimated that 220,000 to 245,000 Canadians are living with chronic hepatitis C. Of those infected, 44% are unaware that they have the disease. Hepatitis C is most common in those born from 1955 to 1974.
Symptoms of acute hepatitis are similar to the flu and can include fever, diarrhea, fever, muscle pain, nausea, loss of appetite, and weight loss. If it progresses to chronic hepatitis, symptoms can include circulation problems, dark urine, dizziness, hives, drowsiness, and a yellowing of the skin, tongue, and whites of eyes. Aside from vaccinations, the best way to avoid hepatitis is through cleanliness, safe sex, not sharing needles or razors, careful consumption of alcohol, and vigilance.
If you suspect your loved one might be suffering from hepatitis, get them tested immediately. If they are already living with the disease, it is time to consider home care. Caring for an elderly loved one is already a challenging task. But, when they are suffering from hepatitis, a professional home caregiver can relieve you of the pressure and offer your loved one the care that they really need. iCare Home Health provides premier home care services to Toronto, Mississauga, and the Greater Toronto Area. Offering a variety of services including our Nurse at Home, Personal Support at Home, and Friend at Home packages. iCare Home Health will bring the best care to where your loved one is most comfortable- in their own home. Contact us today to find out how we can help you.