Understanding Hepatitis B

Hepatitis B is a viral infection that causes the inflammation of the liver. It is caused by the hepatitis B virus or HBV. It can be a serious condition in some people that may lead to liver failure, cirrhosis or liver cancer.

Causes of hepatitis B

Hepatitis B is caused by the hepatitis B virus, also known as HBV. They can either be an acute or chronic infection. An acute hepatitis B infection lasts less than six months with the body’s immune system able to clear the virus out. Chronic hepatitis B may last six months or longer with the body’s immune system failing to effectively fight off the virus. This can become a lifelong condition that could further lead to other serious conditions.

Transmission of the HBV can take many forms. The virus can be passed on through sexual contact. They can also be transmitted through needle sharing through the blood. The virus can also be transmitted from mother to child.

Symptoms of hepatitis B

There are a variety of symptoms that are associated with hepatitis B. there are also times when these symptoms may not appear to those who are infected, from infants to some adults. The symptoms may usually appear 12 weeks after being infected by the virus. Some of them include loss of appetite, weakness and fatigue, nausea and vomiting, jaundice, pain in the abdominal area and joint pain.

How hepatitis B is diagnosed?

Since some people may not show any symptoms even when they are already have hepatitis B, diagnosis of the infection would usually depend on taking blood tests. There are also additional tests for those who tests positive to the HBV infection. The additional tests usually try to determine the severity of the infection as well as the prevailing condition of the liver. These tests also require blood to be taken out of the patient.

How to prevent hepatitis B?

There are now several vaccines available to prevent people from getting infected by the HBV. Aside from that, people can prevent themselves from getting infected by understanding how the virus is transmitted from person to person. Avoid sharing needles to prevent possible infection as well as avoiding casual sexual contact.

How to treat hepatitis B?

There are various treatments available for hepatitis B. If you are sure that you have been infected by the virus, getting an injection of the hepatitis B immune globulin within 24 hours may help prevent further development of the virus. For those who have been infected, there are several drugs that doctors use to combat the disease. Among those usually used for treatment include interferon, adefovir dipivoxil, larnivudine, entecavir and telbivudine.