Out of the 325 million people living with hepatitis, 290 million are unaware that they have the disease. They are known as the missing million.
In celebration of World Hepatitis Day, we break down what the virus is and whether your life cover will cover you should you be diagnosed with Hepatitis and pass away.
What is Hepatitis
Hepatitis is a virus that can cause an inflammation of the liver, cancer and viral hepatitis-related deaths. If it remains untreated it can cause a range of health issues that can be fatal, which is why it is important to get tested. According to the World Health Organisation, there are 325 million people worldwide that live with Hepatitis B and C. There are five main strains of the virus which are known as Hepatitis A,B,C,D, and E. Each comes with its own way of being transmitted and severity of the illness.
The symptoms tend to vary based on the type of strain that a person has. People who have Hepatitis A,B,C,D or E tend to exhibit mild symptoms or no symptoms at all. However, each viral strand can cause more severe symptoms, which is why it is important to get tested and screened.
Hepatitis A,B &, C, can include symptoms such as fever, malaise, loss of appetite, diarrhoea, nausea, abdominal discomfort, dark-coloured urine and jaundice (a yellowing of the skin and whites of the eyes).
It can also cause chronic liver infection that can later develop into cirrhosis (a scarring of the liver) or liver cancer. If not treated timeously, it can prove to be fatal.
The dual infection of HBV and HDV can cause a more serious infection, resulting in health complications, including accelerated progression to cirrhosis.
Hepatitis E (HEV) symptoms are; mild fever, reduced appetite, nausea and vomiting lasting for a few days. Some people can experience abdominal pain, itching (without skin lesions), skin rash or joint pain. They may also exhibit jaundice, with dark urine and pale stools, and a slightly enlarged, tender liver (hepatomegaly), or occasionally acute liver failure.
Does life insurance cover you for hepatitis?
It is possible to be covered by your life insurance policy if you have Hepatitis. However, this could differ on the severity of the disease and whether your insurer will process your life insurance policy based on this.
If you have already taken out a life insurance policy and only found out later on that you have Hepatitis your insurer will cover you. There could be a slight increase in your premiums to make sure that you are adequately covered should you develop any complications based on your insurers criteria.
You will undergo an underwriting process that will factor in what type of Hepatitis you may have, your lifestyle, age, gender and any previous complication in your health to make the process fair by giving you the right cover. It is crucial, to be honest during this process to avoid having your application or claim denied.
Prevention is better than cure
Some types of Hepatitis are preventable through vaccination. Getting tested as soon as possible can help prevent the illness and save your life. You can also take your child for a vaccination that will provide them with a lifelong protection against the virus. Should you be diagnosed with the virus, in some cases, you will be able to take treatment to cure you of the infection. However, if the virus has been left long enough with no detection, it can cause health complications.