District – It is the largest metabolic organ in humans. However, most people pay little attention to the liver. This is one of the reasons why hepatitis diseases are not recognized at all or are recognized too late. The hospital GmbH wants to change that.
Around 1.3 million people worldwide die every year after contracting hepatitis. In 2010, the World Health Organization included the hepatitis virus in its list of “global killers”. There are ways to protect yourself, or good treatment options. The viruses are transmitted in various ways: via water and contaminated food (hepatitis A), body fluids (B), direct contact with contaminated blood, as well as sexual contact and contaminated needles from drug use (C). Eating raw meat is a common cause of hepatitis E infection.
Each variant has different consequences. Basically, hepatitis is inflammation of the liver. The viruses can cause acute liver failure, cirrhosis and cancer. All variants have in common that they are often not noticed at first. Some can often heal unnoticed, as is the case with hepatitis E. Others are at very high risk of developing cirrhosis and carcinoma. Hepatitis B is the most common cause of these serious consequences worldwide.
But what can be done about it? There are vaccinations against hepatitis A and B such as Dr. Jochen Dresel, chief physician for internal medicine in Schongau and head of the gastroenterological center in Weilheim-Schongau, and his colleague, senior physician Dr. Andreas Benesic explain. Anyone who has a chronic hepatitis B infection can also contract hepatitis D. Until 2021, chronic hepatitis B/D was almost untreatable. The last chance for many patients was a liver transplant. But the therapy has made “enormous progress” in recent years, as Dresel confirms. Drugs are now available that can be used to favorably influence the course of the disease.
There are no vaccinations for the remaining hepatitis variants. However, if the infection is detected in time, they can be treated quite well, as Benesic informs. That’s why, since autumn last year, all those with health insurance have had the opportunity to have their family doctor test them for hepatitis B and C free of charge. Benesic recommends that every adult should take this test.
In addition, the hospital GmbH has been offering consultation hours at its Weilheim location since the beginning of the year. The experts advise free of charge every Tuesday and Thursday afternoon or by appointment. With a special ultrasound device, the patient’s liver can be examined in detail. Current figures from the district show how important this is: There is currently an accumulation of hepatitis A cases here.
The two doctors hope more people will pay more attention to this often-overlooked organ. After all, early detection is the most important thing. Even with an incurable, chronic disease, those affected could still lead a normal life.
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