Why Teen Education is Vital in Reducing Viral Hepatitis and Protecting the Liver
The following is a guest commentary from The Liver Health Initiative on the need for better education about liver health and viral hepatitis, particularly among teenagers.
One thing that is missing from current discussions around hepatitis awareness is education for teenagers. Greater efforts need to be made to introduce liver health, including health-related ailments such as alcohol-related illness and viral hepatitis, to the school curriculum.
While ongoing discussions around heart health have been successful, education around liver health and its significant responsibilities have been neglected. Raising awareness about the liver and discussing its protection should be part of health education in every school.
It’s important to consider conversations around the consequences of excessive drinking and drug use, and how they can harm the liver. Educators and the general public need to understand the importance of good liver health, and the body’s dependence on the liver to process toxins that come with drug and alcohol abuse.
Certainly, the body can detoxify small amounts of alcohol or prescribed amounts of drugs. However, excessive drinking and drug use can ultimately cause liver cells to shut down, leading to serious health complications. Most don’t realize the extent of the damage viruses and drugs have done to their liver until it’s far too late and a liver transplant is the only option.
Like termites eating away at a house’s foundation, hepatitis viruses attack the tiny cells inside the liver, which are vital in converting everything the body eats, breathes, and absorbs through the skin into hundreds of life-creating and sustaining body parts and functions. The liver is an essential employee of the body’s chemical refinery, detoxifier, and storehouse of vitamins and energy. It needs to be protected.
The liver is also responsible for converting and storing food nutrients and energy in fat cells. Failing to exercise regularly and regularly overloading the liver with excessive amounts of sugar or starchy foods, such as potato chips, french fries, and sodas, can overwhelm the healthy cells in the liver and cause cirrhosis.
In addition, hepatitis viruses can live in the blood of an infected person and for a short period of time on a dry surface. Therefore, the public needs to be aware of the risks of infection from contaminated needles and tattooing devices. It’s important to avoid exposure to hepatitis viruses and ensure that all blood entering the body has been properly tested and vaccinated against Hepatitis viruses A and B.
Overall, liver protection is not something everyone thinks about. Education plays an essential role in improving liver health overall. Through greater public awareness, especially among teenagers, we can help reduce viral hepatitis, which will ultimately protect liver health in the long run.
Teenagers must be proactive about their liver health, just like they are with their heart or lung health. By caring and being more aware of the liver’s vital role in the body, we can lead healthier lives.
Doctor Tannaz Thiel, Director of Clinical Research at Swedish Medical Center, continues to speak across the country to combat liver disease and provide valuable insights on liver health to young people.
In summary, education about liver health is essential to reducing viral hepatitis and protecting the liver. Improving public awareness of the importance of the liver and how to protect it from damage can help young people to make healthier choices in their diet and lifestyle while reducing the risk of long term health complications.