Gastroenterologist-recommended ways to keep hepatitis at bay

A good diet can help in preventing hepatitis.

Hepatitis is an inflammation of the liver. Common symptoms of hepatitis include fatigue, flu-like symptoms, dark urine, pale-coloured stools, abdominal pain, loss of appetite, unexplained weight loss and yellow skin and eyes (which may be signs of jaundice).

There are five types of viral hepatitis (A, B, C, D and E) and prevention depends on the type of hepatitis. Hepatitis A and E virus are excreted through the feces of an infected person. You can become infected with hepatitis A or E if you consume contaminated food or water. Hepatitis B, C and D are spread primarily through contact with infected blood. This can happen through contact with contaminated needles, syringes or blood samples.Unprotected sexual transmission is another route of exposure, especially in the case of hepatitis B.

The best way to reduce your risk of viral hepatitis is to reduce your exposure to these factors. There are vaccines available that offer protection against hepatitis A and B. We do not have any vaccines to prevent hepatitis C, D or E. However, hepatitis C is now curable in over 95% of cases because of new and effective antiviral medication.

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"Some patients also experience muscle and joint pain and high fever (100.4F or above). However, many people with hepatitis do not know that they are infected because they remain asymptomatic. This is why prevention and regular screening for the hepatitis virus become important," said Dr Asokananda Konar, MBBS, MD, FRCP Gastroenterology.

Can good diet help in preventing hepatitis?

Diet can help in fighting the ailment better and faster. "Practice good personal hygiene, wash your hands before preparing and cooking food, and avoid consumption of unhygienic food. If you are recovering from a viral infection, a good diet will help restore your liver's health and function," added Dr Konar.

According to Dr Konar here are some ways you can ensure that you stay away from hepatitis:

Eat regular, balanced meals

Maintain healthy calorie intake

Eat whole-grain cereals, breads, and grains

Eat lots of fruit and vegetables

Get adequate protein

Go easy on fatty, salty, and sugary foods

Drink enough fluids

Maintain a healthy weight and BMI

Avoid excessive consumption of alcohol

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