In many people, hepatitis B infection could become chronic, persisting for more than six months. Chronic hepatitis B increases the risk of developing liver failure, cancer, or cirrhosis, a disease that permanently damages the liver. Even when the signs and symptoms of hepatitis B are severe, some patients recover fully.
Hepatitis b is more likely to become chronic in children and infants.This liver disease can be prevented with a hepatitis B vaccination, but there is no cure. If you are infected, adapting to a healthy lifestyle and taking precautions can help prevent the virus from spreading to others.
Hepatitis B Symptoms
Acute hepatitis B symptoms may not appear for months. However, common symptoms include:
- Dark urine
- Joint and muscle pain
- Loss of appetite
- Abdominal pain
- Yellowing of the whites of the eyes and skin(jaundice).
Any hepatitis B symptoms should be addressed as soon as possible. The symptoms of this viral disease worsen in adults over the age of 60.
When to see a doctor?
If hepatitis B infection is suspected, consult the doctor immediately. If patients receive preventive therapy within 24 hours after exposure to the virus, they may lower the chance of infection. Contact the doctor if you suspect you have hepatitis B symptoms.
Causes of Hepatitis B
The following are some of the most common ways of Hepatitis B transmission:
Unprotected sexual intercourse with an infected partner involving exposure to body fluids of the infected person.
Using contaminated needles:
Hepatitis B is spread when a needle used on an infected person is reused on another person. Intravenous drug users carry high-risk of contracting viral disease.
Pregnant women with Hepatitis B might pass the virus on to their babies. This can be avoided if the newborn baby is vaccinated.
Using unsterilised equipment:
Getting a tattoo, body piercing, or medical or dental treatment in an unsanitary environment with contaminated equipment.
If hepatitis B infected blood is given to any person, it can transmit the infection to them.
Sharing contaminated personal articles:
Sharing contaminated toothbrushes or razors might spread Hepatitis B virus.
Blood from an infected person contaminates an open wound:
When an infected person's blood enters another person's open wound it can lead to Hepatitis B virus transmission.
Hepatitis B Risk factors
People at high risk of HBV include:
- Infants born to HBV-infected moms.
- Sexual relationships with HBV patients.
- Unprotected sex with multiple partners.
- Individuals who inject illegal drugs.
- Residing with an HBV infected person.
- Healthcare professionals treating HBV patients.
- People undergoing hemodialysis
- People with a weak immune system
- Pregnant women
Although most people with chronic hepatitis B do not feel sick until it is severe, some may experience serious complications. Chronic hepatitis B complications are:
Liver cirrhosis or scarring:
It leads to liver damage affecting its functions and eventually leading to liver failure.
If you have chronic hepatitis B, the doctor may recommend an ultrasound test to check for symptoms of liver cancer.
It occurs when the liver is no longer able to function properly. It is sometimes known as "end-stage" liver disease. This only occurs in severe chronic hepatitis B patients.
Researchers discovered that people with cirrhosis caused by hepatitis B are more prone to developing specific kidney diseases.
Blood vessel problems:
Blood vessel inflammation is one type of blood vessel disease.
How is Hepatitis B diagnosed?
The Hepatitis B diagnosis begins with a thorough physical examination during which patients discuss the symptoms and medical history.Other tests used to detect hepatitis B include:
- Liver Biopsy
- Ultrasound test
- Blood Tests
A blood test is done to examine abnormal levels of particular enzymes and to monitor white blood cell count (WBC’s). A liver function test, is a collection of blood tests used to assess liver function, may be suggested by the doctor.
Suppose hepatitis B surface antigen (HBsAg) is detected in blood tests for more than six months it indicates chronic hepatitis B.
Non-invasive imaging tests may also be performed by the doctor to assess the amount of scar tissue in the liver (called fibrosis), which results from chronic liver inflammation. These examinations include ultrasonography, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), and elastography.
A liver biopsy involves the removal of a liver tissue sample and sending it to a pathology lab to investigate whether patients have hepatitis B and how much scar tissue is present.
Treatment of Hepatitis B
Acute hepatitis B infection has no particular treatment. The goal of treatment is to maintain good health and reduce symptoms.
Not all people with chronic hepatitis B require treatment. People who have chronic hepatitis B show no signs of current liver damage and will not require any treatment. However, in some severe cases antiviral medications or liver transplant may be needed. It is important to undergo frequent medical checkups to look for symptoms of liver damage.
Those with liver damage should be closely monitored and may require antiviral medications, frequent monitoring, and liver cancer screening Long-term use of antivirals can reduce the risk of developing liver disease. You may need to take medications for the rest of your life if you have chronic hepatitis B.
Drink lots of water, eat a healthy balanced diet, get enough rest, and avoid alcohol if you have hepatitis B disease.
Lifestyle changes and self-care
- Drinking alcohol and smoking are both bad for liver health, and these habits may aggravate HBV infection.
- Before starting any herbal treatments or vitamin supplements, consult the doctor because some may interfere with the prescription of hepatitis B medications or harm the liver.
- Paint, paint thinners, glue, household cleaners, nail polish removers, and other potentially dangerous substances should not be inhaled.
- Consume a balanced diet containing fruits, whole grains, seafood, lean meats, and veggies. "Cruciferous vegetables," specifically cabbage, broccoli, and cauliflower, have been demonstrated to protect the liver against environmental toxins.
- Sodas, fruit juices, sweets, packaged snacks, and other sugary meals and beverages should be avoided.
- Limit the intake of saturated fats, which include fatty cuts of meat and items cooked in oil.
- Eat nutritious foods, exercise regularly, and get enough rest to reduce stress and maintain good health.
Hepatitis B Dos and Don’ts
Hepatitis B is a virus-infected liver condition. A hepatitis B vaccine is available to protect against it. Exposure to infected blood, open sores, or body fluids can cause virus transmission. Usually, the majority of patients recover completely within a few months.
Few people may be chronically infected or carriers of the disease. Hepatitis B is a dangerous illness, with around a 1% fatality rate during the acute stage. However, by following these dos and don'ts, one can manage their symptoms and prevent its complications.
|Drink plenty of water to maintain hydration in the body.||Have sex with an infected person or carrier.|
|Eat food containing whole grains, fresh fruits etc||Drink excess alcohol and smoke|
|Use a condom during sexual intercourse||Share needles, donate blood, or breastfeed your baby if infected.|
|Consult the doctor if the symptoms won’t disappear after 4 to 6 weeks.|
|Exercise regularly to be fit.|
Hepatitis B diagnosis includes a blood test, liver ultrasound and liver biopsy test. The acute hepatitis infection does not need any treatment as it gets cured on its own within a few weeks. Whereas, chronic hepatitis B may need long-term treatment.
Hepatitis B Care at Medicover Hospitals
At Medicover Hospitals, we have the most trusted and qualified group of healthcare professionals skilled at providing the best medical treatment to patients while showing compassion and care. Our diagnostic department is equipped with state-of-the-art technology and equipment to conduct the necessary investigations for diagnosing Hepatitis B. Our excellent team of medical specialists comprises gastroenterologists, infectious disease specialists, hepatologists who use a systematic and multi-disciplinary approach to identify and treat the condition. They provide treatments for this condition with great precision offering desirable results.