Hepatitis Essay example:
Throughout the years, many diseases have had significant effects on the world such as Ebola, AIDS, and the plague. Hepatitis is one of them. Hepatitis is defined as any irritation of the liver, or anything that makes it inflamed. It also described a group of infectious diseases cause by viruses that attack the liver. There are six different types of the disease that have already been discovered. They are Hepatitis A, B, C, D, E, and G. All of these end up causing disease except for Hepatitis G, which just lives in the blood and does not cause the infectant to show signs of any illness (Berkman 2). Although, some of the most important cases of Hepatitis deal with Hepatitis A, B, and C.
The history of Hepatitis dates back to almost the beginning of medicine. (Berkman 3) The first recorded cases of the disease were thought to have been right after the distribution of the small pox vaccine in a shipyard in Germany in 1883. During the early and middle parts of the 1900s. The disease was watched closely with the use of contaminated needles and syringes. The effect that hepatitis has on the liver is similar to the effects that alcohol causes. Both end up scaring the liver in the end. When the virus hits the liver, it causes it to be inflamed. The body’s immune system trys to fight the virus with cells called lymphocytes, which end up hurting the liver even more. Fibrosis occurs because now the liver has been scarred. When the scarring gets bad enough, the blood flow gets slower and causes cirrhosis. Then, the blood begins to back up and leak into other organs. The important functions that the liver performs (Berkman 4), such as manufacturing proteins and regulating the transport of fat stores and controlling the production and excretion of cholesterol (Berkman 3), become more difficult to do.
Hepatitis A is unusual in nations with developed sanitation systems, such as the United States. It is one of the five human hepatitis viruses that infect the liver and cause illness (Hepatitis.org). Hepatitis A is usually transmitted by oral contact with the stool of infected persons. For example, it can happen in schools where there is infected swimming pool water or just by eating seafood that had lived in infected water (Berkman 5) This is why they always remind people to wash their hands after they go to the bathroom, cause diseases can be spread if one doesn’t. In very rare cases, it can be transmitted by infected blood. There are really no symptoms for this type of hepatitis, although, older people might be more effected than younger people because of their age. They can experience fever, loss of appetite, nausea, stomachaches, and dark urine, just to name a few. People can experience these symptoms without even having the disease but the only way to actually know if one has contracted the disease is to take a blood test. Symptoms can last for up to less than two months, and as long as six months (Berkman 5). About a hundred people die each year from this kind of HAV. The last big epidemic was recorded in 1989. Epidemics occur every ten to fifteen years in cycles. Young children and older individuals are at the most risk for this virus. There is no known cure for hepatitis A but there is a known vaccine. Also, “immune globulin” can be given after the person is infected that can help reduce symptoms (Berkman 6). People who are recommended to get the vaccination are travelers who travel to high-risk areas of this virus, men who have sex with men, injecting and non-injecting drug users, and young children and older adults (Hepatitis.org).
Hepatitis B can be considered to be more serious than Hepatitis A. You can have the infection and not show any symptoms between 45 and 180 days. A lot of the people who do get sick from this who recover have immunity towards it from there on out. The large number of people infected that do not recover can have a chronic disease and sometimes will have to be hospitalized. Young adults have the highest rates of infection for this type (Berkman 7). The symptoms for this type are very unpleasant. There can be a loss of appetite, tiredness, pain in the muscles and joints, stomachaches, diarrhea and vomiting. The chronic version of this disease ends of damaging the liver to the point where it can cause cancer and death. HBV is blood born and sexually transmitted. Its highest concentration can be found in the blood and blood fluids. Tattooing, ear piercing, acupuncture, and accidental needle sticks can be found to contain and transport this disease (Berkley 8). There is a highly effective and very safe vaccine for Hepatitis B. The United States is now reaching for total elimination of this virus.
The worst type of hepatitis is Hepatitis C. If you get infected with this type you can never get rid of it, or as so far tested. “Chronic liver disease afflicts about 70 percent of people who are infected with hepatitis C..” (Berkman 9). Between 8,000 and 10,000 people a year die from the effects of the infection. As well as in hepatitis A and B, there are several blood tests that can be used to determine whether or not a person is infected with the virus (Berkman 9). It usually takes about 6 to 7 weeks after a person is infected to show symptoms. The symptoms usually lead to chronic liver disease, as mentioned earlier. There is no known vaccine for this type of virus, but there is treatment. Some doctors use a drug called interferon. Interferon does not usually work. It ends of working for only a small percentage of infected persons. The drug causes symptoms like fever, chills, and muscle and joint aching. Other symptoms can occur later on that similar to those of chemo- therapy like tiredness, loss of hair, and depression (Berkman 10). HBC is not that easy to get. You can get it by injecting drugs; if you were treated with a blood product made before 1987 or from a blood transfusion or transplanted organ. Basically, there is only a blood born way to contract this type of virus (Berkman 11). There is still a possibility of contracting the disease through anal sex.
As you can see, there are many different effects created from each different type of the hepatitis virus. Each type is a little bit different from each other. In the recent years, there has been a decline in the infection rates of this disease. This is probably due to the behavioral changes that followed some of the hepatitis epidemics. Drugs users who inject themselves are more careful about not sharing needles and being for sanitary about their tools. Also more tattooing and piercing places practice safer practices. Hospitals now screen each pack of donated blood for different diseases, just checking to make sure it is clean. People are trying to create more awareness of this disease, and with that knowledge, one can think that the infection rates in the Unites States will start to decrease, and people’s knowledge of this disease will become to grow.
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