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Hepatitis B: Types, Risk Factors, Transmission, Symptoms, Treatment

Hepatitis b

Hepatitis B is a liver disease that is caused by Hepatitis B virus. This can cause acute infection and chronic infection and puts the lives of people in danger having high risk of death from cirrhosis.

Acute V/S Chronic Hepatitis B

Hepatitis-B infection can be for a short time (acute) or long time (chronic)

Acute Hepatitis B infection:

This infection is for a short time and lasts for less than six months. Your immune system can easily clear acute hepatitis-B from your body and you easily recover completely within a few months. Most people, such as adults, who, get this hepatitis B have an acute infection, but it may lead to chronic infection.

Chronic Hepatitis B infection:

This infection lasts six months or even longer. When the immune system cannot fight with acute infection and this may lead to serious illness such as cirrhosis and liver cancer.

The younger you are, the higher is the risk that infection becomes chronic.

Risk Factors of Hepatitis B

These people are at high risk of getting Hepatitis-B:

  • People with multiple sex partners
  • People suffering from chronic liver disease
  • People with kidney disease
  • People over the age of 60 with diabetes

Transmission of Hepatitis B

Hepatitis-B is spread when blood, body fluid or semen of an infected person who have the Hepatitis-B virus in his body enters the body of an uninfected. The following are activities which can make people infected:

  • Birth (the virus from an infected mother spread to her baby during birth)
  • Sharing needles, syringes or any other drug injection equipment
  • Sharing razors or toothbrushes with an infected person
  • Contact with blood or open sores of an infected person

Symptoms of Hepatitis B

The symptoms of Hepatitis B appear after four months once you get infected. The signs & symptoms include:

  • Fever
  • Vomiting
  • Nausea
  • Dark urine
  • Joint Pain
  • Jaundice (turns skin or eyes yellow)
  • Abdominal Pain

Treatment of Hepatitis B

The primary goal for patients with Hepatitis-B infection is to prevent progression of the disease so it does not harm their liver.

Treatment of Acute Hepatitis B Infection: If your medical practitioner determines that your infection is small, then you don’t need any treatment. Instead your doctor would recommend having rest and meal with balanced nutrients so your body can fight against the infection.

Treatment of Chronic Hepatitis B Infection: If you have been diagnosed with chronic hepatitis-B infection, then you need treatment to reduce the risk of liver disease and stop it passing to others. Treatment includes:

  • Antiviral medicines: These are medicines that are used to fight against the virus and slow down its ability so it does not affect the liver. Such of the medicines are lamivudine and entecavir. You should consult your doctor before taking any medicine.
  • Interferon: This substance is produced by the body to fight against infection mainly used in young people who do not want to undergo long term treatment. It’s being injected by injection. Some of its side effects are depression, chest tightness and difficulty while breathing.
  • Liver transplant: If the virus has severely damaged your liver, then transplant is the only option. The surgeon replaces your old liver with a healthy liver. Most transplant livers belong to deceased donors, but only a small number of livers are donated by living donors.

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