Hepatitis B is a liver disorder that is caused by the hepatitis B virus (HBV). It is an infection that may further lead to liver failure, liver cancer or cirrhosis. The disease can be prevented using a vaccine which also prevents the infection from spreading.
Causes of Hepatitis B
Hepatitis B infection is caused by Hepatitis B virus (HBV). This virus gets passed on from one person to other through semen, blood or body fluids. Some ways by which Hepatitis B virus (HBV) gets passed on are:
- Sharing needles and syringes with a person whose blood was infected with HBV
- Sexual contact with a person who has hepatitis B
- Mother to child during pregnancy
Risks associated with Hepatitis B
Some of the factors that increase the chances of getting infected from hepatitis B are:
- Working at a place that exposes you to human blood
- Living with a person who is diagnosed with hepatitis B
- Unprotected sexual intercourse with someone who is infected with HBV
- Traveling to areas that have high infection rates of hepatitis B
- Sharing needles with others while injecting drugs
The disease can be prevented by the following means:
- Get vaccinated before travelling
- Use protection whenever you have sex
- Take precautionary steps while tattooing and body piercing
- Find out the HBV status of your sexual partner
- Stop using illicit drugs
How is Hepatitis B diagnosed?
In case your doctor doubts that you have hepatitis B, they will examine you properly and most likely prescribe blood tests. Blood tests help in diagnosing whether you have the virus in your body or not.
Symptoms of Hepatitis B
Symptoms of hepatitis B, whether it is mild or severe, mostly appear after four months of getting infected:
- Pain in the abdomen
- Loss of appetite
- Pain in the joints
- Dark urine
- Weakness and fatigue
- Vomiting and nausea
- Yellowing of your skin and the whites of your eyes
How is hepatitis B treated?
Immediately get an appointment with your doctor and ask them for the vaccination of hepatitis B if you have any doubt that you have been exposed to Hepatitis B virus (HBV), because getting a vaccination within 12 hours of coming in contact with the Hepatitis B virus (HBV) virus might help you in protecting yourself from getting diagnosed with hepatitis B.
Treatment for acute hepatitis B
In this type of hepatitis B the doctor suggests rest and a nutritious diet because this type is short-lived and gets cured with time.
Treatment for chronic hepatitis B
For this type of hepatitis B the treatment’s main objective is to protect your liver and stop the infection from spreading to others. This treatment includes:
- Antiviral medications
- Liver transplant
- Interferon alfa-2b