Nima Community Health Outreach In Collaboration With Global Alliance For Poverty Reduction
The liver is the largest gland in the human body. It weighs approximately 3 lb (1.36 kg). It is reddish brown in color and is divided into four lobes of different sizes and lengths. It is also the largest internal organ (the largest organ is the skin). It is below the diaphragm on the right in the thoracic region of the abdomen. Blood reaches the liver through the hepatic artery and the portal vein. The portal vein carries blood containing digested food from the small intestine, while the hepatic artery carries oxygen-rich blood from the aorta.
The liver is made up of thousands of lobules, each lobule consists of many hepatic cells - hepatic cells are the basic metabolic cells of the liver.
The liver has a wide range of functions, including:
- Detoxification (filters harmful substances form the blood, such as alcohol)
- Stores vitamins A, D, K and B12 (also stores minerals)
- Protein synthesis (makes certain amino acids - the building blocks of proteins)
- The production of biochemicals needed for digestion, such as bile
- Maintains proper levels of glucose in the blood
- Produces 80% of your body's cholesterol (cholesterol is vital)
- The storage glycogen (also converts glucose to glycogen)
- Decomposing red blood cells
- Synthesizing plasma protein
- The production of hormones
- Produces urea (the main substance of urine).
Hepatitis can heal on its own with no significant consequence, or it can progress to scarring of the liver. Acute hepatitis lasts under six months, while chronic hepatitis lasts longer.
Most liver damage is caused by 3 hepatitis viruses, called hepatitis A, B and C. However, hepatitis can also be caused by alcohol and some other toxins and infections, as well as from our own autoimmune process (the body attacks itself).
About 250 million people globally are thought to be affected by hepatitis C, while 300 million people are thought to be carriers of hepatitis B.
Not all forms of hepatitis are infectious. Alcohol, medicines, and chemical may be bad for the liver and cause inflammation. A person may have a genetic problem, a metabolic disorder, or an immune related injury. Obesity can be a cause of liver damage which can lead to inflammation. These are known as non-infectious, because they cannot spread form person-to-person.
Liver cancer is strongly associated with chronic infection of HBV or HCV. Both HBV and HCV are transmitted by intimate person-to-person contact or direct contact with infectious blood or blood-derived body fluids. This can occur through contaminated injections, sexual intercourse with an infected partner, birth to an infected mother, or contact with contaminated surfaces. In developing countries, 59% of liver cancers are attributable to HBV and 33% are attributable to HCV. In developed countries, 23% of liver cancers are attributable to HBV, while 20% are attributed to HCV.
One in 12 Ghanaians is living with a chronic (life-long) hepatitis B, and one in four of those living with chronic hepatitis B will die from liver cancer or liver failure. The good news is that the effects can be avoided or prevented with appropriate education, monitoring and treatment.
There are myths about how you get hepatitis B. It is important to understand that hepatitis B is not spread through sharing food or water, sharing eating utensils or drinking glasses, casual contact, coughing or sneezing, hugging or kissing and breastfeeding. There is no reason to distance oneself from an individual infected with the hepatitis B virus. Individuals living with chronic hepatitis B should not be excluded from work, school, or other daily activities.
Zurak Cancer Foundation developed this initiative to stem the prevalence rate of the disease through partnership with other institutions such as Global Alliance For Poverty Reduction and Amen Scientific Herbal Hospital. Zurak Cancer Foundation believes community based screenings would enable individuals to know more about their health status in order to make informed healthy lifetyles. Moreover, Zurak Cancer Foundation is committed to the fight against cancer in Ghana and as much as we can, we would continue to put much effort to drive away cancer causative infectious agents such as the Hepatitis Virus. This is our mission and this is Zurak Cancer Foundation "It's Cancer's Turn To be Afraid".