Hepatitis B is a liver disease. The liver is an organ that performs vital functions in the body including:
Removing harmful chemicals from blood
Helping to digest food
Storing nutrients and vitamins
Hepatitis is inflammation of the liver. Inflammation is the painful, red swelling that result when tissues of the body become injured or infected. Inflammation can cause organs to not work properly.
What Causes Hepatitis B?
The hepatitis B virus causes hepatitis B. Viruses are germs that can cause sickness. For example, the flu is caused by a virus. People can pass viruses to each other. You could get hepatitis B through contact with an infected person's blood. Methods of transmission include:
Being born to a mother with hepatitis B
Having sex with an infected person
Being tattooed or pierced with unsterilized tools that were used on an infected person
Getting an accidental needle stick with a needle that was used on an infected person
Using an infected person's razor or toothbrush
Sharing drug needles with an infected person
How Hepatitis B is Transmitted?
Anyone can get hepatitis B, but some people are at higher risk, including:
Person, who were born to a mother with hepatitis B
Person, who live with someone who has hepatitis B
Person, who have lived in parts of the world where hepatitis B is common
Person, who are exposed to blood or body fluids at work
Person, on hemodialysis
Person, who have had more than one sex partner in the last 6 months or have a history of sexually transmitted disease
injection drug users
men who have sex with men
You cannot get hepatitis B from:
shaking hands with an infected person
hugging an infected person
sitting next to an infected person
What are the Symptoms of Hepatitis B?
Hepatitis B usually has no symptoms. Adults and children ages 5 and older sometimes have one or more of the following symptoms:
yellowish eyes and skin, called jaundice
a longer than usual amount of time for bleeding to stop
swollen stomach or ankles
loss of appetite
dark yellow urine
Chronic Hepatitis B:
Hepatitis B is chronic when the body can't get rid of the hepatitis B virus. Children, especially infants, are more likely to get chronic hepatitis B, which usually has no symptoms until signs of liver damage appear. Without treatment, chronic hepatitis B can cause scarring of the liver, called cirrhosis; liver cancer; and liver failure.
Symptoms of Cirrhosis:
Yellowish eyes and skin, called jaundice
A longer than usual amount of time for bleeding to stop
Swollen stomach or ankles
Loss of appetite
Spider-like blood vessels, called spider angiomas, that develop on the skin
What is available Diagnosis?
Hepatitis B is diagnosed through blood tests, which can also show if you have chronic hepatitis B or another type of hepatitis. Your doctor may suggest getting a liver biopsy if chronic hepatitis B is suspected. A liver biopsy is a test for liver damage. The doctor uses a needle to remove a tiny piece of liver, which is then looked at with a microscope. Blood is drawn for hepatitis B testing.
What are available Treatment Options?
Hepatitis B is not treated unless it becomes chronic. Chronic hepatitis B is treated with drugs that slow or stop the virus from damaging the liver. The length of treatment varies. Your doctor will help you decide which drug or drug combination is likely to work for you and will closely watch your symptoms to make sure treatment is working.
Drugs given by shots include:
Drugs taken by mouth include:
2. Liver Transplantation
A liver transplant may be necessary if chronic hepatitis B causes liver failure. Liver transplantation surgery replaces a failed liver with a healthy one from a donor. Medicines taken after surgery can prevent hepatitis B from coming back. India MediTourism has successfully facilitated 50+ Liver Transplants.
You can avoid getting hepatitis B by getting the hepatitis B vaccine. Vaccines are medicines that keep you from getting sick. Vaccines teach your body to attack specific germs. The hepatitis B vaccine teaches your body to attack the hepatitis B virus. Adults at higher risk of getting hepatitis B and all children should get the vaccine. The hepatitis B vaccine is given through three shots over a period of several months. There is no minimum age for vaccination. The second shot should be given at least 1 month after the first, and the last shot should be given at least 2 months after the second shot but no sooner than 4 months after the first. The hepatitis B vaccine is safe for pregnant women.
You need all three shots to be fully protected. If you are traveling to a country where hepatitis B is common, try to get all the shots before you go. If you don't have time to get all the shots before you go, get as many as you can. One shot may provide some protection against the virus.
You can also protect yourself and others from hepatitis B if you
Use a condom during sex
Do not share drug needles
Wear gloves if you have to touch another person's blood
Do not borrow another person's toothbrush, razor, or anything else that could have blood on it
Make sure any tattoos or body piercings you get are done with sterile tools
Do not donate blood or blood products if you have hepatitis B
What should I do if I think I have been exposed to the hepatitis B virus?
See your doctor right away if you think you have been exposed to the hepatitis B virus. The first shot of the hepatitis B vaccine taken with a medicine called hepatitis B immune globulin may prevent you from getting sick. If you are at higher risk of hepatitis B, get tested. Many people do not know they are infected. Early diagnosis and treatment can help prevent liver damage.
Hepatitis B is a liver disease caused by the hepatitis B virus.
Anyone can get hepatitis B, but some people are at higher risk.
You could get hepatitis B through contact with an infected person's blood, semen, or other body fluid.
Hepatitis B usually has no symptoms.
Adults and children ages 5 and older sometimes have jaundice or other symptoms.
Hepatitis B usually is not treated unless it becomes chronic.
Hepatitis B is chronic when the body can't get rid of the hepatitis B virus.
Children, especially infants, are more likely to develop chronic hepatitis B.
Chronic hepatitis B is treated with drugs that slow or stop the virus from damaging the liver.
You can protect yourself from getting hepatitis B by getting the hepatitis B vaccine.
See your doctor right away if you think you've been exposed to the hepatitis B virus.
If you are at higher risk of hepatitis B, get tested. Many people do not know they are infected. Early diagnosis and treatment can help prevent liver damage.
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