While we are reeling under the effects of the covid-19 pandemic, let’s not forget about viral hepatitis which can be lethal for your liver.

Every year World Hepatitis Day is commemorated on 28th July to create awareness about viral hepatitis and why vaccination against it is important. But do you know why? Well, because according to the World Health Organisation (WHO), viral hepatitis B and C can affect 325 million people worldwide causing 1.4 million deaths a year. Shocked? Here’s more.

In India, according to the Indian National Society for Liver, 40 million people are chronically affected by hepatitis B and 12 million are affected by hepatitis C. The worst part is that many hepatitis patients don’t even know that they have the disease.

According to Dr Mrudul Dharod, consultant gastroenterology, hepatology, and endoscopy at Wockhardt Hospital, Mumbai, the symptoms at times take many years to develop and that’s why people are unable to catch them. This makes it all the more important that you know about the symptoms of viral hepatitis.

Symptoms of viral hepatitis:

Hepatitis The name itself gives away what this disease can do. Hepa means liver, while itis means inflammation. Liver controls the metabolism of our body and produces bile juice which is essential for digestion. Viral hepatitis affects that and many other important functions of the liver.

“There are five strains of hepatitis: A, B, C, D, and E. But in India, we don’t have hepatitis D,” says Dr Dharod.

These are the symptoms of hepatitis A and EAccording to Dr Dharod, hepatitis A and E are acute in nature and can be cured in a few weeks time. The major symptoms are:

  • Fatigue
  • Fever
  • Joint pain
  • Decreased appetite
  • Weight loss
  • Jaundice

These are the symptoms of hepatitis B and C When it comes to hepatitis B and C, the problem intensifies as both these strains develop over years and affect your liver.  Only one per cent of hepatitis B patients show signs similar to hepatitis A and E.

In severe cases of hepatitis B and C, cirrhosis of the liver takes place. Here are the symptoms that prevail after cirrhosis of liver:

  • Blood in vomiting
  • Abdomen distention (fluid accumulation in the abdomen)
  • Swelling in feet
  • Some altered behavior and personality changes

“Thankfully, vaccines for A and B are available but it is also very important to get the shot on time. In case you see any of the above symptoms in you or anyone around you then visit a doctor and get an opinion,” he concludes.