Simple blood tests can save hepatitis patients

New Delhi: Blood tests can save more than 80 percent hepatitis C patients and over 60 percent hepatitis B patients when combined with proper prevention and treatment, say experts.

The tests are usually performed to detect current or previous viral hepatitis infections, to determine how contagious a person is by verifying their viral load, and to monitor a person who is being treated for viral hepatitis.

"The knowledge about these tests is important, keeping in mind the fact that majority of hepatitis patients come to know about the disease at a stage when it is irreversible," said Samir Shah, founder trustee of National Liver Foundation (NLF), Mumbai.

The National Liver Foundation (NLF) is a voluntary, non-profit organisation promoting awareness and prevention of liver diseases in India.

There are some tests to check the severity of hepatitis B infection as well as health of your liver.

"The hepatitis B surface antigen (HBsAg) test shows whether you can easily pass HBV to others and the antibody to hepatitis B surface antigen (anti-HBs) test detects whether you are immune to HBV.

"The antibody to hepatitis B core antigen (anti-HBc) test determines whether you have had or currently have a hepatitis B infection," explained Shah, head of the department of hepatology, Global Hospitals, Mumbai.

In a similar manner, Hepatitis C infection can also be detected by just undergoing few tests.

There are more than six different genotypes, and detecting hepatitis C genotype will help you determine the type and length of treatment.

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