Liver suffers quietly: signs of hepatitis infection
Around 325 million people worldwide suffer from chronic hepatitis B or hepatitis C. Liver inflammation often remains undetected for a long time because the organ does not hurt when it is inflamed. If the disease is not treated, shrink liver or liver cancer can result. It is therefore important to know what symptoms can indicate a sick liver.
Increased action against hepatitis infections
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), around 325 million people worldwide are infected with chronic hepatitis B or hepatitis C. However, many of those affected do not know about their liver inflammation. Every year, about 1.34 million patients die from the dangerous disease. On the occasion of the presentation of the World Hepatitis Report, the WHO has now called for more action to be taken against infections with hepatitis B and C.
The liver suffers silently
In Germany alone, around half a million people have hepatitis caused by viruses. However, the liver suffers dangerously quiet, which is why many have not known about their disease for a long time.
The symptoms caused by inflammation of the liver are often non-specific. A simple check of the liver values as part of a routine check by the family doctor can quickly clarify this.
In healthy people, the disease usually heals itself after a while. However, the infection can become a risk to health for older people, those who are in poor health or have concomitant illnesses.
Chronic viral hepatitis can lead to long-term consequences such as cirrhosis of the liver and liver cancer and can thus be fatal.
Detecting hepatitis in good time can therefore be life-saving in exceptional cases.
In the beginning, hepatitis usually causes flu-like symptoms
Symptoms of hepatitis can vary depending on the type of virus, but at the beginning there are usually general symptoms such as tiredness, fatigue, headache, loss of appetite, fever and vomiting.
Other typical signs such as dark urine, light bowel movements and yellow eyes or skin ("jaundice") may appear later.
Hepatitis C can be cured
For example, hepatitis C could almost always be cured, but chronic virus infection is still a huge global problem, according to the WHO.
"Viral hepatitis is a major public health challenge that requires an urgent response," said WHO Director-General Dr. Margaret Chan according to a message.
"Hepatitis vaccines and medicines are available to fight hepatitis, and the WHO is committed to ensuring that these remedies reach everyone who needs them."
Europe most affected
The organization says the organization focuses on chronic hepatitis B and hepatitis C because these infections account for 96 percent of deaths.
Europe is most affected by hepatitis C infections behind the Eastern Mediterranean region from Afghanistan to Yemen.
"There are hepatitis services for people in need in more countries," said Gottfried Hirnschall, head of the WHO hepatitis program. "But the data make it clear that the gaps in testing and treatment have to be closed."
According to the expert, there is a successful vaccination against hepatitis B and a $ 200 three-month treatment for hepatitis C that heals infected people.
An increasing number of hepatitis E infections has recently been reported in Germany. In many cases, the reason for the infection is the consumption of infected pork.
Experts from the Federal Institute for Risk Assessment (BfR) have pointed out that consumers "by uniformly and completely heating the food through cooking or roasting" can significantly reduce the risk of infection with the hepatitis E virus. (ad)