World Hepatitis Day is July 28

More than 400 million people worldwide are living with hepatitis, and of those 400 million people, 1.4 million die from the disease every year. Sadly, all of those deaths could be prevented with the right medical treatment and better awareness of how to avoid contracting the virus in the first place. Hepatitis is a completely preventable and treatable disease, and every year on July 28 we celebrate World Hepatitis Day to help bring awareness to people around the world about what they can do to save lives and eliminate hepatitis for good.

Hepatitis is a viral disease that causes infection of the liver. There are five types of hepatitis, the most common of which are hepatitis B and C. Hepatitis B, C and D are spread mainly through contact with an infected person’s bodily fluids while hepatitis A and E are typically contracted by consuming food or water contaminated with the feces of an infected person. It is possible to spread hepatitis B through sexual contact, sharing needles and other drug paraphernalia, improperly sterilized tattoo needles, blood transfusions, working in a health care profession, or even from sharing certain hygiene items, like razors and toothbrushes.

Hepatitis C is blood-borne and is most common among those who have injected drugs through shared equipment, though it is possible to contract it in any situation in which you are exposed to infected blood. It is even possible for mothers who have certain strains of the disease to pass it to their children during childbirth. Hepatitis is not just a disease for drug addicts and third world countries, though; if you have used intravenous drugs or shared needles, you should definitely get tested. Anyone can get the virus, and it’s important to know how to prevent it as well as what to do if you are exposed.

Hepatitis does not typically exhibit any symptoms and can even lie dormant in your system for years before making an appearance. When they are present, symptoms of certain hepatitis strains can include fatigue, pain around the area of the liver, fever, nausea and loss of appetite. If left untreated, certain strains of hepatitis can lead to organ failure, liver cancer and even death. This is why getting vaccinated and tested is so important. With the proper knowledge, preventing hepatitis is easy. There are vaccinations for both hepatitis A and B, as well as effective treatments for the most common types of hepatitis, should you contract the disease.

If you think you might have hepatitis or might have been exposed to it, talk to your doctor about getting tested. If you have not had the vaccination, talk to your doctor about getting that as well. Make sure to know the risks and use safe practices when engaging in any activity that may expose you to the disease. With just these simple precautions, you can help bring the world one step closer to being hepatitis-free.

Hepatitis: Understanding the Risks and Prevention Steps

First established in 2001 by the Center of Disease Control and Prevention, Hepatitis Awareness Month continues to serve as a month-long campaign in May centered to raising awareness of Hepatitis. Defined as inflammation of the liver, Hepatitis can occur due to heavy alcohol use, intake of certain drugs or toxins, a bacterial infection and/or viral infection. There are three major forms of Hepatitis: Hepatitis A, Hepatitis B, and Hepatitis C.  In the United States today, up to 5.3 million Americans have chronic Hepatitis B or Hepatitis C infection and about 75% of the infected population are unaware that they are infected.

What is Hepatitis A?

Hepatitis A is a liver disease caused by the Hepatitis A virus (HAV). In these cases, the liver swells and is unable to work properly. The HAV virus is most commonly spread in situations where a person has not washed their hands before preparing or eating food, has not washed their hands after using the restroom, or has eaten raw or undercooked shellfish that came from waters polluted by sewage.

Out of the three types of Hepatitis, Hepatitis A is the least serious and can be prevented through vaccination. Other ways to prevent spreading include washing of the hands before preparing and eating food, and after use of the restroom.

What is Hepatitis B?

Similar to Hepatitis A, Hepatitis B is a liver disease caused by the Hepatitis B virus which also causes the liver to swell and not work properly. Those at risk include anyone who has come in direct contact with HBV-infected bodily fluids (through blood, semen and/or vaginal secretions).

Hepatitis B is, in general, more serious than Hepatitis A and if left untreated, can lead to cirrhosis of the liver, liver cancer and liver failure. Again, vaccination is the best way to prevent this infection. Other ways to stop the spread of HBV include practicing safe sex, not sharing needles, razors, toothbrushes or other personal items, and talking with your doctor, dentist and other healthcare providers.

What is Hepatitis C?

Hepatitis C is caused by the Hepatitis C virus which infects the liver. This disease is spread primarily through contact with the blood of an infected person. Compared to Hepatitis A and B, Hepatitis C is the most life-threatening disease among the three forms and is the only form yet to have a vaccine available for prevention.

Those most at risk include people who have shared needles to inject drugs, had unsterile equipment used on them when receiving a tattoo, were born to a mother with HCV, or  have had unprotected sex with multiple partners.

If you think you may be at risk of Hepatitis, we at Any Lab Test Now® are here to help. Our Hepatitis Panel tests for the three common variations of Hepatitis discussed above: Hepatitis A, Hepatitis B, and Hepatitis C.  Upon receiving your lab test results, you and your doctor will have the information you’ll need to have a clear understanding of your current health and how to move forward. Contact us today to schedule your appointment and let us help you begin to Take Control of Your Health®.

How To Stop Hepatitis

In 2011, there were an estimated range of 2,700 actual new cases of Hepatitis A, 18,800 of Hepatitis B and 16,500 of Hepatitis C in the United States according to the Center for Disease Control. As these numbers continue to climb, join us in taking part in Hepatitis Testing Day, today, May 19 to stop that number from increasing. We are supporting the cause and hope you do too.

May has been deemed Hepatitis Awareness Month and in light of that, the CDC and its public health partners work hard to bring awareness to the epidemic and encourage people to get tested. It’s extremely important to get tested because if Hepatitis is left untreated, it can turn into serious health issues including liver failure. Another reason getting tested is so important is because the disease can remain dormant in your body for years without causing any symptoms. Don’t let it go unnoticed if you may be affected.

Check out the ABC’s of viral Hepatitis provided by the CDC to learn more and get tested today.