It is World Hepatitis Day today. Hepatitis is an inflammation of the liver that may lead to areas of liver cell or tissue death due to disease, injury, or failure of the blood supply. Acute or chronic hepatitis is that which lasts for more than 6 months. It may progress to liver failure, cirrhosis and in some cases, liver cell cancer.
What are the causes of Hepatitis?
It may result from infectious (bacterial, viral, parasitic or fungal) and noninfectious causes (drugs, alcohol, autoimmune and metabolic diseases). Viral hepatitis is most commonly caused by hepatitis viruses especially hepatitis A, B and C and herpes viruses (cytomegalovirus, herpes simplex virus).
What are the types of Hepatitis?
The types of Hepatitis are A, B, C, D, E and (X – Hepatitis that cannot be attributed to one of the viral forms of the disease is called hep X, see more key points to note here).
Hepatitis A (HAV) – Transmission occurs via the faecal-oral route and most commonly results from poor hygienic practices and inadequate sanitation.
Hepatitis B (HBV) – Transmission occurs via blood and body fluids e.g unprotected sex, intravenous drug use, blood transfusions, tattoos, and body piercing. In Nigeria and other developing countries with high HBV prevalence, perinatal transmission (transmission from mother to baby immediately before and after birth) is more common.
Hepatitis C (HCV) – transmission can occur via blood products and the rate is higher in patients with HIV infection. Although, since universal blood screening for hepatitis was initiated in 1990, this transmission has not been very common. Also, patients usually do well for 20-25 years before developing cirrhosis.
Hepatitis D (HDV) – Transmission occurs via blood and body fluids. HDV is dependent on co-infection with the hepatitis B virus. If hepatitis D is acquired at the same time as hepatitis B, complete recovery can be expected. However, hepatitis D occurring as an infection after or on top of an earlier infection of hepatitis B in a patient can cause a syndrome of accelerated hepatitis, with progression to chronic hepatitis within weeks.
Hepatitis E (HEV) – Transmission is by faecal-oral route in certain areas usually from contaminated water sources. It can also be transmitted by blood transfusions or after organ transplants.
What are the risk factors of the types of Hepatitis?
A – Close or sexual contact, poor hygiene, inadequate sanitation and illicit drug use.
B – Exposure to blood or body fluids, high-risk sexual activity, blood transfusion and/or organ transport, occupational needle stick exposure.
C – Same as HBV, with IV drug use, is the greatest risk factor.
D – Same as HBV, patients with HDV are always positive for HBV as well. So, HBV infection is a risk factor on its own.
E – Poor hygiene and inadequate sanitation.
The underlying liver disease makes one at increased risk of developing signs of hepatitis. Alcohol use, smoking, HIV infection and fatty liver promote progression of hepatitis.
It is World Hepatitis Day today. So, we must note nutrition considerations to lead a healthier life in Hepatitis. See table below;
Nutrition in Action
Use low-fat cooking options:
Bile processes dietary fats. However, due to liver damage in chronic hepatitis, processing a meal that’s high in fat might be challenging. This can result in indigestion. Use lower-fat methods to prepare your food. Roast or grill lean meats, veggies, and seafood. Consider the use of applesauce instead of butter in baking. You can use non-stick cooking spray instead of oils when cooking.
Add flavour without sodium
Did you know that fresh herbs and spices to add flavour to your meals without adding salt? Some seasoning blends may also be helpful, but be careful to read nutrition labels.
Make healthy juices or smoothies
We suggest that you drink homemade juices when you aren’t comfortable consuming whole meals. Keep in mind that store-bought juices and smoothies may contain added sugars.
Make healthy, “quick-grab” selections:
Prepare and store full meals in the refrigerator or freezer and reheat when ready to eat.
Studies have shown
Hepatitis is associated with an increased risk of diabetes. Reducing your intake of added sugar can help to decrease this risk.
Drinking a caffeinated beverage like coffee reduces the risk of advanced liver scarring in people with chronic hepatitis. Evidence suggests that consuming two large cups of coffee—or about 100 milligrams (mg) of caffeine—is associated with a significant reduction in advanced scarring.