Hepatitis Week - Time to Love your Liver

Hepatitis Awareness Week is a time to stop and pay respects to one of our most hardworking, but under-recognised organs ... the humble liver. 

It's reputation is not nearly as glamorous as the heart or brain, but it is a powerhouse of activity. The liver works 24hours a day to filter toxins from the blood,  help digestion, metabolise fats, proteins and carbs...and produce enzymes that help to clot blood and stop excessive bleeding.  All this and more ...yet we rarely ever think about it. 

With all that activity, it's easy to see that sometimes things can go wrong. 

The most common term used to describe liver problems is 'hepatitis'; which really just means inflammation of the liver. This inflammation can be caused by a number of things like: too much fatty food, too much alcohol, excessive drug-use (yep even some of the legal ones), or infection by a virus.

Viral infections of the liver can seem confusing, but they are easy if you know your ABC. 

Hepatitis A

is an acute liver infection which is caused by swallowing food or water that is contaminated with the hep A virus.  It can make you very sick for a (usually) brief period, and normally people will recover with very few long term effects. 

Hepatitis B

is a liver infection caused by the hep B virus. Most people living with hep B do not know they are infected, but those that do know, and are managed properly, can live a long and healthy life.  Learn more about hep B from the experts at Hepatitis NSW, and talk to your GP about being screened or vaccinated against the virus. 

Hepatitis C

if left untreated, leads to long term damage of the liver cells and can lead to cirrhosis. Often people have no idea that they have contracted the virus because symptoms are usually vague, and they resemble a flu-like illness. 

The good news is that hep C is now easy to treat and new medications have a very high success rate. Learn more about hep C from Hepatitis NSW.

Take our new Liver Well Hep C Self Assessment Quiz to see whether you may have been exposed to the hep C virus; then depending on your result, talk to your GP about whether you need a blood test. 

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Nepean Blue Mountains Local Health District