According to expert estimates, over 800,000 Romanians are infected with hepatitis B virus, while about 650,000 suffer from hepatitis C. Because the disease can develop for years without symptoms, our country records a large number of deaths from cirrhosis, an evolution negative liver disease infected with hepatitis C virus.
Acute viral hepatitis are systemic infections with predominantly liver damage. Hepatitis is a condition that includes any type of inflammation of the liver, resulting from complex processes that trigger when the liver suffers an aggression. Inflammation of the liver lasting less than six months is considered acute hepatitis, and liver inflammation lasting longer than six months is considered chronic hepatitis. The most common hepatitis viruses are: hepatitis A virus, hepatitis B virus, and hepatitis C virus, each type of virus having its specific transmission, severity, and therapeutic approach.
Hepatitis B is a disease caused by liver infection with hepatitis B virus (HBV). B virus infection can be acute or chronic. In 95% of cases with acute hepatitis, the human body's immune system is able to remove the virus from the body and heal completely within a few months. But when the immune system can not fight the virus, the disease becomes chronic and persists for life at the risk of developing other serious illnesses such as liver failure, liver cirrhosis or even liver cancer.
Symptoms of hepatitis B virus infection
In the acute phase, viral hepatitis B generates mild symptoms and often does not produce any symptoms, being classified as a "silent" disease, with liver damage being accidentally highlighted by routine liver function tests. However, some infected people have symptoms similar to influenza:
- Exaggerated physical weakness
- Light fever
- Lack of appetite, nausea, vomiting
- Constant discomfort on the right side of the abdomen, below the ribs
- Diarrhea or constipation
- Muscle or joint pain
- Rash on the skin
- Icter (yellowing of the skin and eyes)
Vaccine yourself against hepatitis B!
Even if there is no curative treatment for B virus but the goal is to stop the disease, a vaccine that can prevent the disease is available. "Since 1995, in Romania, all children have been immunized at birth and I can tell you that there has been a spectacular decrease in the number of new illnesses. There is a change for the better. Vaccination can be done at any age, except that it is not settled. I have vaccinated my children from my own resources because they were born after 1995, "said Dr. Adriana Moţoc, a primary infectious physician, for Doctor of the Day.
Viral hepatitis C is the result of an infection with the hepatitis C virus (HCV) that causes inflammation and liver damage. HCV is transmitted when the blood of an infected person enters the body of another person. Unlike viral hepatitis A and B, there is no preventative vaccine against viral hepatitis C. When HCV enters the bloodstream, it finds its way to the liver cells within which it multiplies. When infection becomes important, the immune system that starts to fight the virus is triggered. In some people, the immune system even succeeds in fighting and controlling the virus. Hepatitis C virus infection can fall into the category of "acute" infection (up to 6 months after initial infection) or "chronic" (6 months after the initial infection). Most people who contact HCV (about 80%) will develop a chronic infection.
Symptoms of hepatitis C virus infection
Most people with viral hepatitis C, even those who have been infected for a long time, have no signs or symptoms. Where these occur, they include:
- increased fatigue
- muscle and joint pain
- itching of the skin
- dark urine / light faeces
- yellowing of the skin and eyes
Hepatitis C virus infection
In the chronic phase, the inflammation of the liver becomes permanent (chronic) and untreated evolves to hepatic failure, liver cirrhosis or even liver cancer. The higher the amount of HBV in the body, the higher the risk of liver cirrhosis or hepatic cancer, and the percentage of those who die of liver cirrhosis or hepatic cancer in this case is between 15-20%. The risk of chronic infection depends to a large extent on the age at which the infection was contacted. The highest risk of chronication is for infants born infected at birth and children up to 5 years of age. Signs and symptoms in this case may be:
- flushing of the palms
- the appearance on the skin of the chest, shoulders and face of some star-like red formations
- swelling of the abdomen, legs and soles
- reducing muscle mass
- bleeding from the veins of the digestive tract (varicella bleeding)
- brain and nervous system damage (also called encephalopathy) that may cause confusion, memory disturbance, and impairment of the ability to concentrate. Viral hepatitis C is associated with the presence of liver cancer. As with viral hepatitis B, most of those diagnosed with liver cancer also have liver cirrhosis. Several studies of natural evolution of viral hepatitis C have shown that on average, the time between exposure to hepatitis C virus and liver cancer is about 28 years. Approximately 3% of patients with cirrhosis due to hepatitis C virus infection will develop to the appearance of liver cancer.
Treatment that cure hepatitis C
Unfortunately for C virus there is not yet a vaccine. The only thing you can do is to protect yourself from bloody non-sterile maneuvers and not keep unprotected sex with unknown people.
For C virus, today there are high-quality interferon-free treatments that have an infection healing rate of over 95%. "Our experiences with reimbursed therapy resulted in over 99%. That is, almost everyone who has been treated has healed. But, carefully, it was cured by the virus not by liver disease. Those with cirrhosis remained with cirrhosis and should be monitored. Sometimes, the disease can regress, a patient who has had cirrhosis, over the years may not have it, sometimes it may remain the same, sometimes it can progress without a virus because there are other causes that affect the liver, "he added. infectious diseases Adriana Moţoc.
Everyone should be tested for hepatitis B and C at least once, given that 90% of those who are infected have no symptoms. "People expect to have jaundice if they have hepatitis. A state of tiredness or nausea goes unnoticed or can be attributed to fatigue and in fact to hepatitis. B and C viruses remain in the body and multiply not only in the liver but also in other organs and do not produce symptoms for years and years. Signs occur with complications. There are people who can get into cirrhosis without knowing and only when they do a digestive haemorrhage or get yellow they realize they have a liver disease. But then it is very serious and sometimes the only solution is transplantation, "said infectious physician Adriana Moţoc.
Dirty hand sickness
Viral hepatitis A, also known as "dirty hand disease," is generally transmitted through contact between people and food and water contaminated with feces containing the hepatitis A virus. Unlike other types of viral hepatitis, it does not cause chronic infections , but only acute infections.
Viral hepatitis A is a contagious disease caused by hepatitis A virus infection. Hepatitis A virus is only one of the five types of hepatitis viruses responsible for viral hepatitis, the only hepatitis virus that does not cause chronic disease. In the case of viral hepatitis A the liver is inflamed but in most cases it heals completely without being affected in the long term. If a person is exposed to hepatitis A, he develops long-term immunity and can no longer contact the disease again.
Hepatitis A is transmitted when a person comes into contact and / or consumes food and / or water / ice contaminated with hepatitis A virus, usually under inadequate hygiene conditions.
One in three people already have antibodies against hepatitis A because they have been exposed to the virus but have not developed symptoms.
If a healthy person has been exposed to an infected person, there is treatment for Hepatitis A to prevent it becoming infected, the maximum effectiveness of this treatment being observed in the first two weeks after the alleged infective contact.
Once a person is infected with hepatitis A virus, it may take 2 to 4 or even 7 weeks until the signs or symptoms of the disease appear. These may vary according to the age of the infected person. Some people may not have obvious symptoms, these are called asymptomatic. Often, however, infected people feel and look sick. Most of them will need hospitalization.
In the first stage of viral hepatitis A signs and symptoms are unspecific, often similar to those caused by influenza. These include:
- Strenuous fatigue
- Loss of appetite
- Muscle pain
- Nausea and vomiting
- Skin yellowing (uncommon in children less than 6 years old) and eyes
- Abdominal pain
- Feeling itchy skin
Also, children suffering from viral hepatitis A may have:
- Cold-like symptoms
- Sore throat
People aged over 50, and especially those already suffering from chronic liver disease, may experience a more serious form of viral hepatitis called fulminant viral hepatitis A with signs and symptoms that include:
- Blood clotting disorders
- Confusion and altered state of consciousness
- Rapid alteration of liver function
- Excessive yellowing of the skin and eyes
The duration of the symptoms also varies from person to person. They may vary in intensity from mild to severe. Typically, mild forms of viral hepatitis A last between 1 and 2 weeks. Most patients feel much better within 3 weeks. Small children with symptoms feel better within 2 months. Severe forms of infection can raise health problems for several months, during which hospitalization may be required. Also, in some patients the symptoms may last for more than 3 months or show symptoms of re-aggravation for 3 to 9 months.