Get a good “shot in the arm” by honoring National Liver Awareness Month in October. Everything we eat, breathe, drink, and touch absorbs and processes through our liver. Guard against hepatitis.
Hepatitis is a silent killer around the world, and the International Liver Foundation of America works tirelessly to increase awareness of liver disease. Every October, National Liver Awareness Month is observed to educate the public and raise funds for research.
Without the liver, a human cannot survive. Taking care of the liver helps it take care of the person and prevents deadly disease, like cirrhosis and liver cancer.
Hepatitis – What is it?
Hepatitis is a group of viruses that attack the liver. These viruses are introduced to the body by the activities people participate in. Activity that may cause exposure to another person’s bodily fluids risks exposure to a liver damaging disease. Tattooing, body piercing, sharing injecting drugs, drinking alcohol, toothbrushes, sexual contact, and razors increase chances for hepatitis B, C, or D. Particularly, hepatitis B or C can sometimes lead to chronic liver injury, cirrhosis and liver cancer. Hepatitis B is a silent epidemic in this age of casual sex partners, fashionable tattoos and body piercings, as well as the on-going habits of sharing needles, and other personal items. Hepatitis A and E are caused by ingesting contaminated food or water.
The World Health Organization (WHO) lists hepatitis symptoms as abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, extreme fatigue, dark urine, and jaundice (yellowing of the skin and/or the whites of the eyes).
See the Free Award-Winning Liver Health Web-Video
Honor your liver health, or the liver health of someone you love, by viewing any of the 14 free videos created by The Hepatitis Foundation International, on their website, appropriate for all ages, promoting liver health. The newest production, Give Your Liver a Break, won an Emmy for outstanding achievement in children’s television programming. Some of the 14 videos are also available in Spanish, Mandarin, Korean, and Vietnamese.
Simple Liver Screening
Hepatitis is often silent until it is very advanced into liver cancer or cirrhosis. Early diagnosis helps people with hepatitis B and C to learn how to prevent or reduce the risk of cirrhosis and liver cancer with lifestyle changes through counseling. Early diagnosis also can lead to successful response to antiviral treatment, which can also help prevent liver deterioration. Early diagnosis can also prevent the spread of hepatitis to other individuals.
Hepatitis screening tests are done with simple, inexpensive blood tests at county health clinics and private practice doctor offices. Hepatitis C can be checked with a home test kit available for purchase at pharmacies. Circle a day on this October’s calendar to do a simple liver screening test for hepatitis at a local health provider’s office. The blood tests can be for both hepatitis B and C, so both can be done at the same time and insurance may very well help pay for this preventative health screening.
Who Needs to be Screened?
If you or a person you care about is in any of the following groups, a liver screening is very important to stay empowered in good liver health and wellness. Everything in the body depends upon the liver’s health and function:
Screening for Hepatitis-B: HIV patients, pregnant women, chronic hemodialysis patients, children born to hepatitis-B infected mothers after they completed the vaccine series, all people born outside of the U.S.A. (adopted children or immigrants) from regions with 2% or more hepatitis-B or more (Eastern Europe, Asia, Africa, and Pacific Islands), have ever used illegal drugs, lives with anyone who is diagnosed with hepatits-B, or has gotten a tattoo or body piercing in unsanitary conditions, according to the American Association for the Study of Liver Disease (AASLD), are all at risk for hepatitis-B infection.
Screening for Hepatitis-C: According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), anyone who ever injected drugs, received long-term hemodialysis, those who received organ or blood transfusions before 1992, people with jobs that put them at risk (health care workers, emergency personnel, and police/fire after exposure to hepatitis-C by mucous or a needle stick, and those with unexplained increased liver enzymes. These people are at risk for hepatitis-c.
Hep-B Vaccination: Get a “Good Shot in the Arm!”
Vaccinations and immune records are not just for children. Honor Liver Awareness Month by keeping current on adult vaccinations. The hepatitis-B (hep-B) vaccination series helps to prevent the liver damaging disease, and is covered by many medical insurance companies. A large portion of the CDC website is dedicated to preventative health care and immunization schedules for children and adults.
Support the Cause
The World Health Organization (WHO) states that research for vaccines to guard against hepatitic C and E are on-going. Let October be the time for giving to this cause which works so hard to find treatments and cures for liver diseases of all types, including liver cancers from all causes, whether hepatitis or something else. Join a Liver Life Walk in your area or donate to the research and grant endeavors sponsored by the American Liver Foundation.