World Hepatitis Day is celebrated on the 28th July and it is aimed at reducing deaths from viral hepatitis infections and reducing new infections. Hepatitis is an inflammatory condition of the liver that is commonly caused by a viral infection. The condition can be self-limiting or can progress to liver cancer. Other possible causes of hepatitis may occur as a secondary result of medications, toxins, drugs and alcohol. The signs and symptoms of hepatitis may not be visible in the beginning and may not occur until the damage affects the liver function.
Signs and symptoms of acute hepatitis can include:
- Dark urine
- Abdominal pain
- Unexplainable weight loss
- Yellow skin and eyes
- Loss of appetite
- Flu-like symptoms
Chronic hepatitis develops slowly so the signs and symptoms might be hard to notice.
There are five main types of hepatitis and they are referred to as type A, B, C, D and E. Hepatitis type A is an acute, short term disease. Types B, C and D are most likely to become chronic and are the most common causes of liver cancer.
Hepatitis A: This type of hepatitis is most commonly transmitted through consuming water or food that is contaminated with faeces from a person with hepatitis A.
Hepatitis B: Hepatitis B is transmitted through contact with infectious bodily fluids. Sharing razors, injection drug use and sexual intercourse with an infected person can increase your risks of getting hepatitis B.
Hepatitis C: Hepatitis C is transmitted through direct contact with infected body fluids, through contaminated injections during medical procedures through transfusions of contaminated blood and blood products
Hepatitis D: Hepatitis D, also known as delta hepatitis, is a serious liver disease caused by the hepatitis D virus. It is contracted through direct contact with infected blood. Hepatitis D is a rare form of hepatitis that can’t multiply without the presence of Hepatitis B.
Hepatitis E: Hepatitis E is a waterborne disease that is mainly found in areas with poor sanitation. ₁
“It is important for us to keep our livers in a good condition as they contribute to our overall health. People with hepatitis should follow a healthy diet and lifestyle plan to reduce the risks of damage to their liver,” says Gert Coetzee Pharmacist and Diet pioneer, who founded The Diet Everyone Talks About.
Below he lists some hints and tips that will help protect your liver from getting damaged by hepatitis:
Have a diet that includes:
- Whole grains such as oats and brown rice
- Low-fat or non-fat dairy products
- Healthy fats such as avocados, olive oil
- Lean protein such as skinless chicken, egg whites and beans
- Fruits and vegetables
Avoid the following:
- Food that is high in salt
- Saturated fats
- Sugary treats such as cake, cookies and soda
- Raw or undercooked shellfish as they may have bacteria
Also make sure that you wash your hands thoroughly before handling food and wash all meats, fruits and vegetables to remove and potentially harmful residues.
For more information or if you’d like to join The Diet Everyone Talks About – 016 362 4890 or visit www.the-diet.co.za/