First, for those of us who want to learn more, the word “hepatitis” literally means inflammation of the liver. Hepatitis can be caused by several viruses, which is why it is often called viral hepatitis.
Up to 5 million people in the US are affected by hepatitis. The most common types are Hepatitis A, Hepatitis B, and Hepatitis C. Hepatitis B and Hepatitis C can become chronic, life-long infections which can lead to liver cancer.
Unfortunately, many people don’t even know they are infected with these serious liver diseases. The more knowledge we can spread about these conditions, the more it will help improve screening and testing rates, which will in turn reduce the number of deaths caused from this diagnosis.
If you’re interested in getting tested, find a healthcare professional today to be assessed for your hepatitis risk.
Perhaps the most important thing to know about hepatitis is that both Hepatitis A and B can be prevented with vaccines.
Cases of Hepatitis A have dramatically declined in the U.S. over the last 20 years largely because of vaccination efforts. The Hep A vaccine is recommended for all children at one year of age and for adults who may be at increased risk.
Unfortunately, many people became infected with Hepatitis B before the Hepatitis B vaccine was widely available. The Hepatitis B vaccine is now recommended for all infants at birth and adults who may be at increased risk.