What is Hepatitis B?
What is hepatitis B?
Hepatitis B is a very critical disease affecting the liver and must be treated before it becomes life-threatening. The hepatitis B Virus also known as HBV is what causes this disease and can cause both chronic and acute illnesses. Chronic illnesses are long term whereas acute illnesses are short-term. Hepatitis means the inflammation of the liver. The Liver is a very important organ in our body and a person cannot live without it. Because hepatitis B is caused by a virus (HBV) it can be passed from one person to another. Hepatitis B does not discriminate on its victim, anyone at any age, color, ethnicity can develop this disease. Some people are just at higher risk than others. The hepatitis B virus is transmitted via an infected person’s blood, semen, vaginal fluids and other bodily fluids. Some of the commonly known symptoms of hepatitis B are loss of appetite, diarrhea, jaundice (yellowish eyes and skin), fatigue, fever, easily bruised, dark urine and light colored stools. If you suffer from any one of these symptoms or all of them, or if you think you may have been exposed to the hepatitis B virus it is best recommended that you see your doctor right away. Early detection of this disease can be treated.
Several ways of getting hepatitis B:
o Infected mother giving birth to a baby
o Using or sharing unsterilized needles/ tools used by infected persons
o Blood transfusions
o Sexual Contact with infected person
o Any direct contact with blood of an infected person
o Sharing personal items such as razors and toothbrush with an infected person
Chronic hepatitis B illnesses:
o Cancer of the liver
o Liver damage
o Cirrhosis (scarring of the liver)
Acute hepatitis B illnesses:
o Loss of appetite
o Pain in muscles and joints
o Diarrhea and vomiting
Blood tests are given to diagnose whether a person has hepatitis B. If you are diagnosed with chronic hepatitis B then treatments are necessary. Chronic hepatitis B can be treated with antiviral oral medications or injections. These medications may help hinder or even cease the hepatitis B virus from doing any more damage to the liver. In some cases, it may be too late to treat the damaged liver resulting to liver failure. A liver transplant may then be necessary. Liver transplant is the replacing of the damaged liver with a new healthy liver from a special donor. To avoid getting hepatitis B it is recommended that you get the hepatitis B vaccine. There are three shots of the hepatitis B vaccine given through a period of several months. Make sure you get all three shots to be fully protected. Other ways of prevention from getting hepatitis B is to practice safe sex (use protection), sterilize any needles or tools, infants born from infected mothers should be vaccinated, do not share toothbrushes and razors with other people. If you’re not sure of getting all 3 shots of the hepatitis B vaccine then please see your doctor for more information. Early diagnosis for hepatitis B can always be treated when it's not too late.