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Alpa African liver patients association

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100 question about the Liver

 1- What is the #liver?

The liver is a station responsible of the purification of blood as well as of removing toxins from the bloodstream. Scientists estimate the number of liver functions by more than 500 vital functions.


2- what are the most important functions of the liver?

The liver clears the blood of toxins that enter the human body due to the consumption of medicines and other chemicals, converts food into substances that the body can absorb to benefit from, regulates blood clotting, stores substances that give energy to the human body, makes bile which helps in the digestion process, and changes harmful ammonia to urea that is excreted by the kidneys.


What is Viral Hepatitis?

Hepatitis is a disease most commonly caused by a viral infection.

There are 5 main hepatitis viruses, referred to as types : A, B, C, D and E.

These 5 types are of greatest concern because of the burden of illness and death they cause and the potential for outbreaks and epidemic spread.

It is noted that hundreds of millions of people are infected with chronic hepatitis B and C. Dual hepatitis B virus and hepatitis C virus infection is the most common cause of cirrhosis and liver cancer.

What are the types of hepatitis viruses?

Scientists have discovered five viruses that cause hepatitis, referred to by letters as : A, B, C, D and E.
While all these viruses cause liver disease, there is a significant difference between all types.



Hepatitis (A)
1- what are the modes of transmission?

This infectious disease is most commonly transmitted from person to person through ingesting food and water that have been contaminated with the virus of an infected person. For instance, the infection is transmitted through eating raw foods (such as salads) and unpeeled fruits , after washing the food with contaminated water or after getting contaminated with the virus of an infected restaurant worker.


Hepatitis (A)

2- what are the symptoms?

People with obvious symptoms may have flu-like symptoms (fever, chills). Symptoms may also include loss of appetite, nausea, jaundice (a yellowish tinge to the skin and the whites of the eyes), dark urine tea-like color, pale stools, upper abdominal pain, general weakness and fatigue.
Hepatitis A does not become chronic. However, full recovery is slow. Infection among children is usually asymptomatic (especially among those aged under 6 years).
As for adults, the symptoms last for about a month and full recovery takes 6 months. A relapse occurs in 20% of patients, noting that it weakens the patient for about 15 months.


Viral Hepatitis (A)
3- Is there a vaccine?
Infection can be prevented by vaccination against hepatitis A which offers long-lasting protection for approximately four years.


Viral hepatitis (A)

How do I protect myself from liver infection caused by hepatitis A?

If you live in or intend to travel to a country where the virus is spreading, or if you find yourself at risk of infection for any reason, infection can be prevented by taking the following precautions:
_ Wash your hands thoroughly before eating.
_ Boil Drinking Water or buy mineral water.
_ Avoid eating raw foods such as oysters, salads, and unpeeled fruits.
-Avoid drinks sold on the streets.
- Get vaccinated against hepatitis A virus


Symptoms of Hepatitis B:

_ Jaundice (a yellowish tinge to the skin and the whites of the eyes).
_ Dark urine, tea-like color.
_ Flu-like symptoms.
_ Fever, headache and joint pain.
_ Rash or itching.
_ Upper abdominal pain.
_ Fat and tobacco intolerance.
These symptoms usually do not appear in the majority of patients, but are more common in adults who develop infection. The only way to diagnose the disease is through blood screening for hepatitis B virus.


What is the difference between acute and chronic Hepatitis B?

After exposure to HBV, the immune system clears Hepatitis B infection in 95% of adults, thus they can completely recover within a few months and will not get infected again due to the formation of antibodies to HBV, which means that the patient has been cured, he is no longer a carrier of the virus and will not transmit the virus to others.
However, 5% of adults, 25% to 50% of children aged under 5 years and 90% of newborns with hepatitis B cannot get rid of the virus: they are either infected or carriers of the virus, and they can transmit the virus to other people.


How infection with HBV is spread?

The virus survives in the blood and in other bodily fluids such as (sperm - vaginal secretions - breast milk - tears - saliva).
Infection occurs after exposure to these fluids during sexual intercourse or through wounds in the mouth by the use of contaminated needle, or through cuts or scratches on the skin's surface.
HBV survives on the surface of contaminated material for one month and one can be infected after the use of a contaminated razor blades or toothbrush. However, in about 30% of infected cases, the mode of transmission of the disease remains unknown.


Am I at risk for hepatitis B infection?

- Have you ever had a sexually transmitted disease?
- Have you ever had sexual intercourse with more than one partner?
- Have you ever shared needles to inject drugs?
-Do you receive dialysis or blood transfusion or similar treatments?
- Do you live with someone who is infected with HBV?
-Have you ever got Cupping therapy, tattooed, your ear or nose pierced or circumcised?
- Do you share your shaving razors or toothbrush with another person?
- Do you work in an place where you are exposed to blood or other bodily fluids?

If your answer is yes to any of the above questions, you may be at risk for hepatitis B infection.


What steps should be taken to prevent transmission of HBV (1)?

- Do not engage in prohibited sexual intercourse, and encourage your family and acquaintances to see a doctor for examination.
If they are not infected with HBV and do not have immunity to the virus, they should be vaccinated against hepatitis B.
- Do not share any personal effects with others: toothbrush, shaving razor, nail file, and other items that can be exposed to blood or other body fluids.
- Should use condoms during sexual intercourse.
- Must inform your doctor and dentist in case you are carrier of HBV in order for them to take the necessary precautions.
- Refrain from donating blood.


What steps should be taken to prevent transmission of HBV (2)?

- If the hepatitis B carrier is a pregnant woman, it is a must to inform the doctor in order to protect the child at birth through vaccination against HBV.
- Clean any open wound with antiseptic and water.
- Dispose of any blood-contaminated material such as fillings, bandages, needles, broken glass, dental floss, in a plastic container and throw waste in the trash; and make sure to place blood-contaminated sharp materials in a safe container before disposal.
- Dress all wounds and ulcers.
- If you are working in the health field, you must tell your supervisor that you are a carrier of HBV.
-Avoid swimming in public swimming pools if you have open wounds or ulcers.


Is HBV transmitted casually?
Hepatitis B is not transmitted casually, it cannot be spread through:
- Handshakes.
- Kissing someone without swapping saliva.
- Eating food that is prepared by a HBV carrier.
- Visiting an infected person.
- Playing with a child who is termed carrier of HBV.
-Sneezing or coughing.
- Shared-plate eating.


What is the difference between HBV carriers and infected patients?

HBV carriers usually do not present any signs or symptoms, their liver enzymes are within the normal range and they can remain infected for many years and possibly for life. However, they can transmit the virus to others. Most inactive HBV carriers do not have a real health problem and although they are healthy, few of them are more likely to develop chronic hepatitis, fibrosis and liver tumors, noting that tumors occur in patients with cirrhosis


To prevent transmission of hepatitis B, the HBV carrier must not:

- Engage into sexual intercourse, unless the other partner has immunity to the virus or has already been vaccinated against hepatitis B. Otherwise, a condom should be used during sexual intercourse.
- Donate blood, plasma or any organs to others. Share personal effects, including razors, toothbrushes or nail clippers.
- Swim in a pool while having open wounds on the skin.


s there a vaccine that protects against Hepatitis B?

Yes, it is possible to prevent infection with HBV by taking Hepatitis B vaccine as a form of preventive care. The 3-Shot Hepatitis B vaccine is an injection that is given in the arm. The recommended schedule for the hepatitis B vaccine is to receive the first shot, followed in one month by the second shot. Six months following the first shot, you should receive your third and final shot of the series.
It is also recommended to take the 3-shot vaccine in the aforementioned specific time frame to ensure the effectiveness of the vaccine and prevention of HBV.
The 3-shot hepatitis B vaccine is effective in 95% of people who have received it and it prevents infection with HBV for a long time.


Who should be vaccinated against HBV?

Hepatitis B Vaccine is recommended for:

- Doctors and health workers.
- Newborn infants whose mothers are positive for HBV.
- People who have direct contact with persons infected with HBV.
- Susceptible household contacts of hepatitis B-positive partners.
- Patients who get treatments in dialysis, tumor and blood centers.
- Travelers to regions with increased rates of hepatitis B.
- Addicts.
- Patients with liver disorders or HCV.