HEPATITIS C SCREENING CAMPAIGN – HOW’S YOUR BLOOD

HEPATITIS C SCREENING CAMPAIGN – HOW’S YOUR BLOOD

Hepatitis Free Malaysia (HFM) has launched the How’s Your Blood? Campaign, a nationwide Hepatitis C awareness campaign to educate the public, especially high-risk groups, about Hepatitis C and the importance of blood test for early detection and timely treatment.

Hepatitis C is a type of liver inflammation that is caused by the Hepatitis C Virus (HCV) and can lead to cirrhosis or liver cancer, if left untreated. In Malaysia, there are at least 380,000 people living with HCV and the vast majority are unaware that they are infected. Globally, there’s an estimation of 70 million people who have chronic Hepatitis C and over 80% of liver cancer deaths are caused by Hepatitis B or C. The number of deaths caused by viral hepatitis have surpassed chronic infectious diseases such as human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and tuberculosis (TB).

The success of Hepatitis B vaccination showed significant reductions in Hepatitis B virus infection and death rates. Unfortunately, there is no vaccination for HCV which makes early detection the key to preventing the spread of HCV and for those who are infected to receive timely treatment.

The How’s Your Blood? Campaign’s key goal is to encourage the public, especially high-risk groups, to get tested for Hepatitis C and help Hepatitis C patients to receive timely treatment. Along with the campaign partners, HFM has teamed up with doctors, including general practitioners (GPs), clinics and blood test centres around the country to encourage high-risk groups to get tested.

How can Hepatitis C be detected?

80% of people who are infected with HCV do NOT develop any symptoms. Even if symptoms develop, these symptoms are non-specific such as:

  • Fever
  • Fatigue
  • Dark urine
  • Vomiting
  • Loss of appetite
  • Nausea

The only way to know for sure whether you have Hepatitis C is to get your blood tested.

What are the blood tests to diagnose Hepatitis C?

  1. Hepatitis C Virus (HCV) antibodies. If your blood shows the presence of HCV antibodies, it means you might have been exposed to HCV and will need a 2nd blood test to confirm if the virus is still present in your bloodstream.
  2. A second blood test is required to confirm the presence of HCV in your bloodstream by testing:
    a) HCV RNA Nucleic Acid Test (NAT): This test detects HCV RNA in serum or plasma and determines if the infection is active.
    b)  HCV Core Antigen (HCVcAg) Test: This test detects the protein produced by HCV. It can detect HCV infections about 40-50 days earlier, compared to other test

What should you do next?

Find the nearest blood test centre, medical centre or clinic to have your blood tested.

Download Teleme’s mobile app and consult a health practitioner today

NON-ALCOHOLIC FATTY LIVER DISEASE (NAFLD)

NON-ALCOHOLIC FATTY LIVER DISEASE (NAFLD)

Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is the term for a range of conditions caused by the built up of fat in the liver. A healthy liver should contain little or no fat. Early stage NAFLD does not usually cause any harm, but can lead to serious liver damage if it gets worse. Having high level of fats in your liver is associated with an increased risk of diabetes, heart attacks and strokes, again pointing towards metabolic syndrome. If detected and managed at an early stage it is possible to prevent the progression and even reverse the process.

Stages of NAFLD

NAFLD develops in four main stages. Most people will only develop the first stage though some will progress if they have a poor lifestyle.

Image Source: Cayman Chemical

Stage 1 – Simple fatty liver (steatohepatitis) is a largely harmless buildup of fat in the liver cells that is usually only diagnosed during tests carried out for another reason.

Stage 2 – Non- alcoholic steatohepatitis is a more serious form of NAFLD where the liver has become inflamed.

Stage 3 – Fibrosis where persistent inflammation causes scar tissue around the liver and nearby blood vessels, but the liver is still able to function normally.

Stage 4 – Cirrhosis which is the most serious stage, occurring after years of inflammation, where the liver shrinks and becomes scarred. This damage is permanent and can lead to liver failure and liver cancer.

Symptoms of NAFLD

Usually there are no symptoms. Some might complain of dull ache over top right of the abdomen, generalized lethargy, weakness and weight loss.  If cirrhosis develops than signs and symptoms of liver failure are seen.

Diagnosis of NAFLD

Usually a routine blood test for liver function or ultrasound scan of the liver might pick up fatty liver.

Treatment of NAFLD

Basically this is lifestyle change.

Image Source: First Derm

  • Lose weight – Losing 10% of your fat will remove the fat from your liver and reduce the inflammation. Reducing abdominal girth and total body fat is important.
  • Eat a healthy diet – Eat real food. Avoid refined carbohydrates and empty calorie foods. Sugars especially refined sugars increase inflammation. Also avoid preserved meats and processed foods. Also try eating smaller portions of food.
  • Exercise regularly – Aerobic exercise like walking and cycling is good but any exercise is beneficial. The idea is just move.
  • Stop smoking – This can cause overall inflammation and together with NAFLD is a risk factor for heart attacks and strokes.
  • Avoid alcohol – Alcohol is the other important cause of inflammation of the liver and should be avoided to prevent further damage to the liver.

Download Teleme’s mobile app and consult a specialist below

Dato' Dr. Rajbans Singh

Dato' Dr. Rajbans Singh

Wellness & Anti-Ageing Consultant

 

Dr S. Mahendra

Dr S. Mahendra

Gastroenterologist (gut physician)

 

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