Hepatitis B is an inflammation of the liver caused by the hepatitis B virus. Left untreated, hepatitis B can become a serious, chronic condition that may permanently damage the liver.
Risk Factors of Hepatitis B
The hepatitis B infection is spread through the blood and other bodily fluids of an infected person and can be transmitted through some the following:
- Sharing needles
- Unprotected sexual contact with an infected person
- Traveling to developing countries
- Healthcare workers
- Diabetic patients
- Patients receiving dialysis
- Living with an infected person
Symptoms of Hepatitis B
Many people with hepatitis B experience symptoms similar to the flu. Symptoms, which last for several weeks, may appear up to five months after infection. Some of these symptoms may include the following:
- Loss of appetite
- Abdominal pain
Hepatitis B may clear completely from the body within six months, while others cases become a chronic condition. Children infected with hepatitis B are more likely to develop a chronic infection. If you are experiencing symptoms of hepatitis B or have been exposed to a situation in which you may have been infected, it is important to seek immediate medical attention.
Diagnosis of Hepatitis B
Diagnosis of hepatitis B is confirmed after a series of blood tests. A liver biopsy may also be performed, in a hospital or outpatient clinic, to confirm diagnosis of chronic hepatitis B.
Treatment of Hepatitis B
Hepatitis B is treated with the following:
- Avoiding alcohol
- Increasing fluid intake
- A healthy diet
Chronic hepatitis B is often treated with medication that requires monitoring for side effects. Severe cases of hepatitis B may require a liver transplant to replace a damaged liver.
Prevention of Hepatitis B
Hepatitis B can be prevented with a vaccine that provides protection. Other methods of preventing hepatitis B include the following:
- Practicing safe sex
- Proper hygiene
- Avoid sharing personal items
- Not sharing needles