Expert Guide on Hepatitis

This article has been written by Sanskrity Sinha for METROMELA.COM

Dr. SatyaprakashThe incidence of Hepatitis is growing and approximately one in every 12 people worldwide is living with either chronic Hepatitis B or chronic Hepatitis C, say experts. The awareness levels are quite low for such a deadly disease.

MetroMela spoke with Dr. Satyaprakash, Senior Professor and Chief of Gastroenterology at MS Ramaiah Memorial Hospital in Bangalore, to know more about the conditions, possible treatments available and the precautions one should take. Here are the excerpts from what Dr Satyaprakash shared with us.

About Hepatitis

Hepatitis is an inflammation of the liver that is caused by various viruses. Over time, Hepatitis can seriously damage the liver and can eventually lead to hospitalization, liver cancer or even death. It may even call for liver transplantation. Hepatitis C (or HCV – Hepatitis C virus) accounts for one-fourth of all cases of chronic liver disease in India. There are at least six different strains of the Hepatitis virus, including Hepatitis A, B, and C. Hepatitis B and C are considered the most serious strains and affect the greatest number of people.

Symptoms and Effects
There may be no symptoms in the first six months of infection. Nearly 20% of those infected by Hepatitis C clear the virus from their body naturally and experience no long-term effects from the infection. However, for the remaining 80% a chronic or long-term infection can develop. Because of the common absence of symptoms, many people are unaware that they have a Hepatitis C infection until sometime after infection.

Another reason so many people with Hepatitis B and C remain undiagnosed is that many of the symptoms are subjective, at least in severity, and easy to attribute to something else. So, for example, depression, fatigue, skin problems, insomnia, pain and digestive disorders could all have other causes. Nine out of 10 people who have Hepatitis B or C don't know they've got it. For these reasons Hepatitis C is often referred to as a silent killer.


If detected on time, Hepatitis can be treated with medications and cured. It can become life-threatening if it remains undetected for long. It can be diagnosed by simple blood tests, and can be treated. Successful treatment can stop progression of the disease to liver failure or liver cancer.


Hepatitis B can be prevented by taking 3 doses of a HBV (Hepatitis B virus) vaccine. Currently, there is no vaccine for HCV. The best way to prevent HCV is to avoid high-risk activities like infected blood transfusion, injections or operations using non-disposable re-use needles and intravenous drug use, especially through sharing of contaminated needles. People who are at high risk involve those suffering from diabetes, Thalassemia (blood disorder) and those who indulge in tattooing or body piercing and unprotected sex with multiple partners or having a history of STDs (Sexually Transmitted Diseases). Hepatitis B is often transmitted unknowingly from a carrier mother to her offspring and hence tends to affect other family members.

Quick Facts on Hepatitis B & C

• According to a World Health Organization (WHO) estimate, Hepatitis C kills four times more people than HIV. Of every 100 Indians, 4 are infected with Hepatitis B and one with Hepatitis C (5%).

• Worldwide, an estimated 3-4 million people are infected with the virus each year. In India alone, the death rates from Hepatitis C exceed over 100,000 per year.

• 1 in 5 patients with chronic HCV develops irreversible liver damage (cirrhosis) and about 1 in 4 patients with cirrhosis progress to liver failure and die.

This article has been written by Sanskrity Sinha for METROMELA.COM


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