World Hepatitis Day

Jul 28th, 2019

Archive for July, 2019

World Hepatitis Day

Sunday, July 28th, 2019

World Hepatitis Day is observed on 28th July every year. Hepatitis refers to an inflammatory liver condition. This is commonly caused by a viral infection, but there are other possible causes of hepatitis. These include autoimmune hepatitis and hepatitis that occurs as a secondary result of medications, drugs, toxins, and alcohol.

Your liver performs many critical functions for your body including:

  • Bile production, which is essential to digestion.
  • Filtering of toxins from your body.
  • Excretion of bilirubin, cholesterol, hormones, and drugs.
  • Breakdown of carbohydrates, fats, and proteins.
  • Activation of enzymes.
  • Storage of glycogen (a form of sugar), minerals, and vitamins (A, D, E, and K).
  • Synthesis of blood proteins, such as albumin.
  • Synthesis of clotting factors.

Hepatitis has several different types, but the symptoms of each are similar. Hepatitis can take acute or chronic forms. The three main types of hepatitis are known as hepatitis A, B, and C. Each is caused by a different virus.

Hepatitis A

It is often mild, and most patients make a full recovery, after which they are immune and therefore protected from the virus in the future. However, if it progresses, symptoms can be severe or life-threatening. There is a vaccination available against this virus.

The virus most commonly spreads when you eat or drink something contaminated with faecal matter. There is no specific treatment for HAV. The doctor will advise the patient to abstain from alcohol and drugs during the recovery.

Hepatitis B

Hepatitis B is caused by the hepatitis B virus (HBV) and is spread through contact with infected blood, semen, and some other body fluids. It can be a sexually transmitted disease (STD).

The liver of a person infected with hepatitis B swells. This can cause severe damage and the infection may become chronic too. This can lead to complications, including scarring of the liver, or cirrhosis. It may also cause a type of cancer known as hepatocellular carcinoma. There is a safe and effective vaccine that can protect against Hepatitis B virus (HBV).

A patient with HBV needs to rest and abstain completely from alcohol. The doctor may prescribe antiviral suppressive therapies.

Hepatitis C

Hepatitis C virus (HCV) can lead to liver damage and swelling. Around 1 in 4 people with HCV get cirrhosis, and this can lead to liver cancer. A person contracts the HCV by coming into contact with infectious fluids and secretions from someone else who is already infected.

There is no vaccine to prevent HCV, but treatment can cure it.  A combination of therapies is now available to treat the hepatitis C virus based on its subtype. These treatments target viral replication and prevent the virus from being able to reproduce. When taken correctly, the cure rate is very high.


Many people with hepatitis experience either mild or no symptoms. When symptoms appear, they can do so from 15 to 180 days after infection. This rule is common for all types of hepatitis.

Acute Hepatitis

The initial phase of hepatitis is called the acute phase. The symptoms are similar to mild flu, and may include:

  • Diarrhoea.
  • Fatigue.
  • Nausea and vomiting.
  • Weight loss.
  • Jaundice.
  • Loss of appetite.
  • Mild fever.
  • Muscle or joint aches.
  • Slight abdominal pain.

The acute phase is not usually dangerous, however, it may progress to a chronic infection. This is most likely with HBV or HCV.

As the disease progresses, chronic hepatitis can lead to progressive liver failure, resulting in jaundice, swelling of the lower extremities, and blood in the faeces or vomit.


Hepatitis can be dangerous and difficult to treat, so people are advised to take precautions against any possible infection.

Preventing hepatitis A

The following steps can help avoid infection:

  • Wash hands with soap after using the bathroom.
  • Only consume food that has just been cooked.
  • Only drink boiled water.
  • Get vaccinated.
Preventing hepatitis B

To minimize the risk of transmission:

  • Practice safe sex.
  • Only use previously unused, clean needles.
  • Do not share toothbrushes, razors, or manicure instruments.
  • Ensure use of the use of well-sterilized instruments for a tattoo, piercing, or acupuncture.
  • Get vaccinated.
How to prevent hepatitis C

To minimize the risk of transmission:

  • Do not share needles, toothbrushes, or manicure equipment.
  • Practice safe sex.
  • Make sure equipment is well-sterilized for any skin piercing.
  • Consume alcohol with moderation.
  • Do not inject illegal drugs.

Do you notice any Hepatitis symptoms? Consult our experts at our Department of  Hepato Pancreato Biliary for further tests and diagnosis.



Wednesday, July 24th, 2019

Depression is a mood disorder that causes a persistent feeling of sadness and loss of interest. Clinical depression affects how you feel, think and behave and can lead to a variety of emotional and physical problems. Sometimes you may find it difficult  to even lead your daily life and complete your routine chores. Depression requires long-term medical treatment. But don’t get discouraged. Most people with depression feel better with medication, psychotherapy or both.

What causes depression?

Depression usually results from a combination of recent events and other longer-term or personal factors. Here are a few causes:

  • Life events – Long-term unemployment, living in an abusive or uncaring relationship, long-term isolation or loneliness, prolonged work stress – are some factors that may lead to depression.
  • Family history – Depression can run in families and some people will be at an increased genetic risk.
  • Personality – Some people may be more at risk of depression because of their personality, particularly if they tend to worry a lot, have low self-esteem, are perfectionists, are sensitive to personal criticism, or are self-critical and negative.
  • Serious medical illness – The stress and worry of coping with a serious illness can lead to depression, especially if you’re dealing with long-term management and/or chronic pain.
  • Drug and alcohol use – Drug and alcohol use can both lead to and result from depression. Many people with depression also have drug and alcohol problems.

Although depression may occur only once during your life, people typically have multiple episodes. During these episodes, symptoms occur most of the day, nearly every day and may include:

  • Feelings of sadness, tearfulness, emptiness or hopelessness.
  • Angry outbursts, irritability or frustration, even over small matters.
  • Loss of interest or pleasure in most or all normal activities, such as sex, hobbies or sports.
  • Sleep disturbances, including insomnia or sleeping too much.
  • Tiredness and lack of energy, so even small tasks take extra effort.
  • Reduced appetite and weight loss or increased cravings for food and weight gain.
  • Anxiety, agitation or restlessness
  • Slowed thinking, speaking or body movements
  • Feelings of worthlessness or guilt, fixating on past failures or self-blame.
  • Trouble thinking, concentrating, making decisions and remembering things.
  • Frequent or recurrent thoughts of death, suicidal thoughts, suicide attempts or suicide.
  • Unexplained physical problems, such as back pain or headaches.
Forms of Depression

Here are a few common types of Depression:

  1. Psychotic depression occurs when a person has severe depression plus some form of psychosis, such as having disturbing false beliefs or a break with reality (delusions), or hearing or seeing upsetting things that others cannot hear or see (hallucinations).
  2. Major depression is when it affects your ability to work, sleep, study, eat, and enjoy life. An episode can occur only once in a person’s lifetime, but more often, a person has several episodes.
  3. A person diagnosed with persistent depressive disorder may have episodes of major depression along with periods of less severe symptoms, but symptoms must last for 2 years.
  4. Seasonal affective disorder (SAD), which is characterized by the onset of depression during the winter months, when there is less natural sunlight.
  5. Postpartum depression, which is much more serious than the “baby blues” that many women experience after giving birth, when hormonal and physical changes and the new responsibility of caring for a newborn can be overwhelming. It is estimated that 10 to 15 percent of women experience postpartum depression after giving birth.
How to help a loved one suffering from Depression?

Here are a few things to note while helping someone with Depression:

  • The symptoms of depression aren’t personal. Depression makes it difficult for a person to connect on a deep emotional level with anyone, even the people they love the most. It’s also common for depressed people to say hurtful things and lash out in anger.
  • Hiding the problem won’t help. It doesn’t help anyone involved if you try making excuses, covering up the problem, or lying for a friend or family member who is depressed. This may keep the depressed person from seeking treatment.
  • Depression is a serious condition. Don’t underestimate the seriousness of depression. Depression drains a person’s energy, optimism, and motivation. Your depressed loved one can’t just “snap out of it” by sheer force of will.
  • Your loved one isn’t lazy. When you’re suffering from depression, just thinking about doing the things that may help you to feel better can seem exhausting or impossible to put into action. Have patience as you encourage your loved one to take the first small steps to recovery.
  • You can’t “fix” someone else’s depression. As much as you may want to, you can’t rescue someone from depression nor fix the problem for them. Patience, professional help and patients support helps treat depression.
Can Depression lead to suicide?

Suffering from major depression does increase suicide risk compared to people without depression. The risk of death by suicide may, in part, be related to the severity of the depression.

Depression is treatable

The treatment for depression usually involves a combination of self-help, talking therapies and medicines. The treatment recommended will be based on the type of depression you have. Psychodynamic psychotherapy, cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT), counselling, interpersonal therapy(IPT) are some therapies commonly used. Please find below link to our Department of Psychiatry for further assistance:



Common Monsoon Illnesses

Tuesday, July 16th, 2019
  • It is a disease caused by a parasite that belongs to the plasmodium genus. A certain type of female mosquito called the Anopheles mosquito is a common carrier of this parasite
  • Of the four types of malaria, the most common are called falciparum and vivax
  • The most common symptoms are fever accompanied by shaking chills and body ache
  • Diagnosed by a blood smear or antigen test which look for abnormalities in the blood
  • Malaria can cause severe anaemia and  low platelets
  • Complicated malaria includes jaundice, renal failure, fits and coma which needs hospitalisation and intensive care monitoring
  • Treatment includes antimalarial drugs
  • Vivax malaria needs additional treatment for prevention of relapse
  • Those who travel to areas where malaria is common should take preventive measures like  prophylaxis along with antimalarial drugs to avoid malaria
  • The drugs might cause nausea and vomiting, which in turn may lead to dehydration, so drink plenty of fluids to prevent this
  • The spread of malaria can prevented by
    • getting rid of stagnant water since that is where mosquitoes breed
    • using bed screens or nets and mosquito repellents
    • wearing clothing that covers yourself completely to reduce mosquito bites
  • Those who are highly susceptible to getting malaria or getting bitten should avoid outdoor activities from dusk to dawn
  • Those who experience the symptoms of malaria should visit a doctor immediately as it can be harmful if not treated in time
  • Children, pregnant women, the elderly and those who have complications with the liver, kidney or brain should be extra careful if they get malaria and should stay in the hospital as they recover
Dengue Fever
  • It is a viral infection usually spread by the Aedes Aegypti mosquito which typically bites early in the morning or at dawn. In Asia, a species commonly called the tiger mosquito is becoming prevalent as a cause of dengue
  • These mosquitoes are also known to spread the Chikungunya virus
  • Dengue is most common in India after monsoon, but also occurs during the monsoon season
  • Common symptoms include fever, body aches, joint pain, and rash
  • Unfortunately, there aren’t any drugs available to prevent being affected by the virus
  • As it is transmitted by mosquitoes, the use of insect repellents containing a chemical called DEET may be useful
  • Avoid wearing perfume and aftershave, and wear light-coloured, loose clothing
  • It is diagnosed with a viral polymerase chain reaction (PCR) or antigen antibody test
  • Those who get dengue need hydration, rest and paracetamol for the control the fever
  • Hospitalisation may also be needed if symptoms include high fever, vomiting, complications like low platelets, bleeding and if the liver and brain are affected
  • There is no drug or food that has been proved to raise platelets and talking to a doctor is pertinent
  • This disease affects both animals and human beings and is caused by a bacteria called Leptospira
  • The disease is usually spread through the consumption of contaminated water or by wading in dirty water, usually during floods, with open wounds
  • Preliminary symptoms include high fever accompanied by chills, severe headache, muscle ache
  • As the disease intensifies, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain with diarrhoea and rashes may develop
  • Complications include liver failure, respiratory diseases, kidney damage and even meningitis
  • Avoid contact with stagnant rain water as it is likely to be contaminated by animal urine
  • Keep all wounds clean and covered to prevent infection
  • Avoid walking barefoot
  • Avoid swimming in possibly contaminated open water like lakes or the sea
  • Timely diagnosis can help in controlling the spread of the disease
  • Antibiotics like doxycycline or penicillin should be administered in the early stages of the disease
  • If severe symptoms are seen, IV antibiotics may also be required
  • It can lead to multi-organ failure and sometimes even death
  • Doxycycline is often used for the prevention of dengue during floods in consultation with a doctor
  • It is an inflammation of the liver
  • Generally spread by faecal-oral route, meaning that faecal matter from an infected person passes to the mouth of another
  • Hepatitis A and E are the most common enterically transmitted viruses, i.e. through the intestines
  • Symptoms include high fever with headache, pain in joints and vomiting followed by yellow discolouration of skin and eyes and darkening of urine.
  • It also comes with a severe decrease in appetite and nausea
  • Ensuring your food is clean is vital to prevent getting hepatitis
  • You can also get a vaccine for hepatitis A
  • Complete bed rest and a high-calorie diet is compulsory for those who have hepatitis
  • Hepatitis E can be fatal during pregnancy
  • The disease is caused by bacteria called Salmonella typhi and is highly infectious
  • The bacteria are present in human faeces and a healthy person may fall prey to the disease by consuming contaminated food and water
  • When the virus is the excreted, flies act as carriers, contaminating food and water
  • Those who live in areas prone to contagious diseases, will be safe by getting a vaccination against typhoid
  • Once the diagnosis is confirmed by a blood examination, the doctor will prescribe antibiotics
  • If symptoms include high fever or complications like abdominal pain and bleeding in stools then hospitalisation and IV antibiotics are needed
  • After getting typhoid it is possible to relapse about two weeks after an apparent recovery if not treated properly
  • Those who get typhoid can become chronic typhoid carriers, so food handlers must be tested for it as they can transmit the infection to multiple people
  • It is caused by bacteria or viruses
  • Watery liquid stools, abdominal cramps, fever, dehydration are some of the symptoms
  • Washing hands often, cooking food thoroughly, and washing vegetables with clean water before cutting them are some of the preventive steps to avoid diarrhoea
  • Avoid unpasteurised milk, street food and uncovered food
  • It involves the inflammation of intestines
  • Some of the symptoms are bloody stools, fever, pain, and diarrhoea
  • Caused by a bacteria called Shigella, amoeba, or a parasite called Giardia
  • Ensuring proper personal hygiene by washing hands habitually and making sure food and water are clean can help prevent dysentery
  • Cholera is a deadly disease that spreads excessively during the rainy season
  • It is caused by contaminated food and water
  • Poor hygienic conditions help the spread of this disease
  • It normally spreads in places with poor sanitation facilities
  • Severe diarrhoea with watery stools is the most common symptom
  • There could also be vomiting with immediate water loss and muscle cramps
  • Stool characteristically is large quantity watery similar to rice water leading to severe dehydration and electrolyte imbalance
  • Excessive fluid loss can even lead to kidney failure
Common cold and minor flu like illness
  • This happens because of  getting drenched in the rain
  • Constant sneezing, sore throat and fever are some of the symptoms
  • Home remedies can be tried first as it usually resolves on its own
  • If the symptoms persist for longer than two to three days a doctor should be consulted
  • To prevent getting a cold or flu, dry yourself completely if you are drenched in the rain, avoid AC
  • Also called pink eye, it is the infection of the outside of the eyeball and inner eyelid
  • Red eyes, watering, sticky discharge from the eyes are seen in pink eye
  • It is highly infectious and spreads by sharing clothes and other common objects
  • Strict hygiene measures are to be followed as touching a contaminated surface is enough to get it