Hepatitis B

Overview of Hepatitis B

Hepatitis B is a form of hepatitis, a serious liver infection caused by the hepatitis B virus (HBV). It causes inflammation that leads to liver damage. It is also known as Hep B and HBV, which can cause other life-threatening conditions, like cirrhosis and liver cancer.

When it lasts more than six months, it becomes chronic. Adults are more likely to recover from hepatitis B even if they experience severe signs and symptoms. While kids and infants are at risk of developing chronic hepatitis B infection.

Hepatitis B Meaning in Urdu

ہیپا ٹائٹس بی جگر کا ایک انفیکشن ہے جو کہ ہیپا ٹائٹس بی نامی وائرس کی وجہ سے لاحق ہوتا ہے اور اسے ایک جان لیوا بیماری تصور کیا جاتا ہے۔ یہ انفیکشن بھی زیادہ تر خون کی وجہ سے منتقل ہوتا ہے۔ اس کے علاوہ یہ جنسی عمل کے دوران بھی منتقل ہو سکتا ہے۔ اگر حاملہ عورت ہیپا ٹائٹس بی کا شکار ہو تو پیدا ہونے والا بچہ بھی اس انفیکشن سے متاثر ہو سکتا ہے۔ اس انفیکشن کی وجہ سے تھکاوٹ، پیٹ درد، اور متلی کا سامنا کرنا پڑ سکتا ہے۔

Hepatitis B  Prevalence

According to ScienceDirect, around 257 million people had been affected with chronic hepatitis B infection in 2015. The prevalence of chronic hepatitis B is higher in people who were born before the HB vaccine.

Signs and Symptoms of Hepatitis B

The symptoms of hepatitis B range from mild to severe. It takes 1 to 4 months for signs and symptoms to appear after a person gets infected. Adults are more likely to experience symptoms as compared to children.

The following signs and symptoms of hepatitis B can help to detect Hep B:

  • Dark urine
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Joint pain
  • Weakness and fatigue
  • Abdominal pain
  • Fever
  • Turning of whites of eyes and skin into yellow color
  • Constipation
  • Lack of energy
  • Loose stool or diarrhea
  • Loss of appetite

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Types of Hepatitis B

There are two types of the hepatitis B and the treatment also depends on the type:

Acute Hepatitis B Infection

A short-lived or acute hepatitis infection lasts less than 6 months. It may take a few months for your immune system to recover from the acute form of hepatitis B. Acute HBV can lead to chronic infection in adults.

Chronic Hepatitis B Infection

This form of hepatitis B infection lasts six or more months. It stays in your system as your immune system fails to fight off the infection. The chronic form of hepatitis B can lead to life-threatening conditions, like liver cancer and cirrhosis.

Causes of Hepatitis B

Hepatitis B virus (HBV) is responsible for the hepatitis B infection. It transfers blood from one person to another. Hepatitis B infection also passes through body fluids and semen.

The following ways can increase the risk of HBV spread:

Sharing of Needles

Use of the same syringes and needles contaminated with infected blood spreads hepatitis B.

Mother to Child

During pregnancy, an infected woman can pass the virus to the baby during childbirth. It is crucial to get an HBV test as it helps to vaccine the newborn.

Contact with Virus-Infected Blood

Health care workers are at risk to get into contact with infected human blood.

Sexual Contact

Unprotected sex with an HBV-affected partner can pass the virus through saliva, semen, blood, or vaginal secretion. The virus gets activated once it enters your body.

Use of Same Sterile Instruments

Getting the treatment with the same sterile instruments that have been used for an infected person can pass the virus.

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Risk Factors of Hepatitis B

Hepatitis B can spread through different body fluids from an infected person. The following factors can increase the risk of hepatitis B infection:

  • Needle share during IV drug use
  • A newborn delivered by an infected mother
  • Healthcare workers who are exposed to infected blood
  • Unprotected sex with someone who is affected by HBV infection
  • Living with someone who has a chronic HBV infection
  • People who use the same syringes and needles

Complications of Hepatitis B

Chronic Hepatitis B can result in serious health complications, including:

Liver Cancer: Chronic HBV can put you at high risk of liver cancer.

Scarring of the Liver: Hepatitis B comes with inflammation that leads to cirrhosis, and liver scarring. Such liver damage results in impaired liver function.

Liver Failure: Acute liver failure is a condition that shut down the main liver functions.

Chronic hepatitis B can also affect the other organs and may develop kidney disease or blood vessels inflammation.

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Prevention

The vaccine is given to the people in 3 to 4 injections over 6 months. It helps to prevent hepatitis B. It is given to the following candidates:

  • A person who has transmitted infection through unprotected sex
  • Newborns
  • A person with multiple sex partners
  • Sharing of needles and syringes
  • People with severe kidney damage or disease
  • Healthcare workers who are exposed to infected blood
  • People with long term liver diseases
  • Men who have sex with men
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Diagnosis

The doctor looks for the signs and symptoms of liver damage. It includes the yellowish skin and whites of the eyes. Some tests can also help to diagnose hepatitis B, such as:

Liver Biopsy

A small sample of the liver can help to check liver damage. The doctor uses a small needle to insert through the skin that helps to get a tissue sample for lab analysis.

Live Ultrasound

Transient elastography helps the doctor to check for liver damage.

Blood Tests

The doctors check the hepatitis B virus signs in the body and confirm if it’s chronic or acute. A simple blood test can help to learn if you are at risk of this condition.

Your doctor may ask for the test Hepatitis if you are:

  • Pregnant
  • Have hepatitis C
  • Use a shared syringe
  • Live in a prison
  • Had multiple sexual partners
  • Homosexual
  • Receive a kidney dialysis
  • History of sexually transmitted disease
  • Born somewhere with a high HBV rate
  • Live with a person who has a chronic HBV infection

Treatment of Hepatitis B | When to Consult a Doctor

Treatment for hepatitis B depends if it is chronic or acute.

Acute Hepatitis B Infection

If it is an acute hepatitis B infection, it will go away on its own. A person with acute hepatitis B infection does not need any treatment but a healthy lifestyle with proper rest and good nutrition.

Chronic Hepatitis B Infection

Chronic hepatitis B infection needs proper ongoing treatment. Untreated infection may lead to other body infections and diseases.

The following treatments are recommended:

Interferon Injections

A body needs a substance to fight off infections. Interferon alfa-2b is a substance made by humans that is recommended for women who want to conceive and avoid infection exposure.

It is not used during pregnancy. Young people can also use these injections. A person may experience nausea, depression, difficulty breathing, or vomiting after taking the injections.

Liver Transplant

Severe liver damage needs a transplant. The damaged liver is replaced by a healthy liver during the liver transplant.

Antiviral Medications

Many antiviral medications help to fight off infections caused by viruses. The intake of medicine also slows down the progress of liver damage. It depends on your doctor what type of antiviral medicine you will be prescribed.

Healthy Lifestyle Choices

A virus-infected person should take precautions to protect others from the virus, such as:

Protected sex: A sexually active person should share with a partner about being infected with hepatitis B. Unprotected sex can transmit the infection. You can ask your specialist how you can have safe sex.

Don’t Allow Others to Use Personal Items: Using IV drugs increases the chance of virus transmission through syringes and needles. You should not allow others to use toothbrushes and razor blades with others.

Doctors to treat Hepatitis B

Last updated on Friday 21/10/2022

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