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Hepatitis Background of Health Issue Hepatitis FactsResearch Paper

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Hepatitis

Background of Health Issue

Hepatitis Facts (Magill's Medical Guide, 2014)

Anatomy or system affected: Liver

An inflammatory condition of the liver, characterized by discomfort, jaundice, and enlargement of the organ; bacterial, viral, or immunological in origin; may also result from use of alcohol and other drugs

Causes: Bacterial or viral infection; immunological disorder; liver damage from alcohol, drug overdose, or poison

Symptoms: Jaundice, liver enlargement, bloating, discomfort, fatigue, low-grade fever, nausea and vomiting, loss of appetite, weight loss, dark urine or pale stools

Duration: Ranges from short-term to chronic

Antibiotics, hospitalization

Hepatitis is an inflammation of the liver that can result from a variety of cause including bacterial and viral infections. The most common form is due to infection of the liver. The condition is also associated with the use of drugs and alcohol which, with prolonged use, can impair the normal function of the liver. There are also some pharmaceuticals that are known to cause liver damage such as antibiotics and even acetaminophen.

Hepatitis, especially hepatitis C, has been associated with illicit activities such as drug use and having unprotected sex. As a result there has been the development of a cultural stigma around the condition. However, there are many ways that patients can contract Hepatitis and any stereotypes associated with the disease may be unfairly contrived. Furthermore, these stereotypes have been known to be the basis of discriminatory practices by nurses in providing treatment to these individuals (Frazer, Glacken, Coughlan, Staines, & Daly, 2010). The negative attitudes can manifest in treatment in subconscious ways despite a nurse trying to uphold a level of professionalism. I chose this topic because it represents and interesting dynamic in nursing and maintaining a level of professionalism in treatment in this disease.

Affected Population

The spread of hepatitis affects the entire society, albeit in different proportions, because this is a preventable disease in most cases. Thus the disease could be effectively eradicated in the greater population and this would significantly reduce the risk of anyone contracting the disease. However, there are many at risk populations that have higher rates of exposure than others such as low-income populations and drug users. Since the highest concentration of this disease is found in low income populations that generally do not have access to the healthcare system, it is difficult to get accurate estimates about the prevalence of the disease in the United States.

Community Health Nursing Plan

There have been many community health programs that have created community partnerships to provide healthcare to uninsured populations that generally did not have access to healthcare previously. For example, the Johns Hopkins University School of Nursing's Wald Community Nursing Center worked to establish accessible health centers for the uninsured (Van Zandt, D'Lugoff, & Kelley, 2002). These centers networked with other community-based organizations that provide free or reduced costs services providers to which provided services to a low income population that had access to the utilization of care for the first time. These networks detected a high rate of hepatitis C at a higher rate that was expected in the population. These findings uncovered a trend that lied mostly hidden in the United States.

It is estimated that only between twenty and thirty percent of hepatitis C antibody positive individuals have been diagnosed with the condition and nearly forty thousand new acute cases occur every year in the U.S. (Van Zandt, D'Lugoff, & Kelley, 2002). Such a low rate of diagnosis is one of the factors that make accurate estimations of the prevalence of the disease so difficult. It also contributes to the spread of the disease is many carriers do not know that they are infected and are at a greater likelihood to pass the disease to others.

More recent studies have estimated that over thirty million people in the U.S. have HCV-related chronic liver disease and about one hundred eighty million worldwide (Haley, 2015). New regimens of treatments have been shown to be highly effective and have exceeded a ninety percent cure rate in patients. New treatments coupled with the expanded availability care due to the passage of the Affordable Care Act offer exciting new opportunities to reduce the prevalence of the spread of hepatitis (Haley, 2015).

The health disparities in the United States have been substantial for generations and have contributed to the spread of communicable disease like hepatitis. A common way that the disease is spread is through intravenous drug use which is also closely correlated with… [END OF PREVIEW]

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