Home Digestive system Hepatitis B: causes symptoms and treatment

Hepatitis B: causes symptoms and treatment

by Alivia Nyhan
Published: Last Updated on

Hepatitis B is a liver infection contracted through the HBV virus and is considered the most severe type of hepatitis. It produces an inflammation of the liver and is dangerous because it does not present symptoms, so most infected people do not know that they have the disease, being able to infect other people. Its most common form of transmission is through blood or body fluids such as semen and, in the case of pregnant women, to their children at the time of giving birth. At FastlyHealwe will explain the causes, symptoms, and treatments of this infection that has affected 1 in 3 people worldwide.

Types of hepatitis B

Hepatitis B can present two stages within the development of the infection. First, when a person is infected, they are considered to have acute hepatitis for up to 6 months. At this time, an adult person should be able to fight the disease and develop antibodies that the immune system produces. It is during this stage that the person can spread the infection.

However, around 90% of those infected with optimal health manage to eliminate the virus.

On the other hand, when the infection extends for more than six months, hepatitis B is considered chronic. This means that the patient will suffer from the disease throughout life. This situation is present in 10% of the cases.

The types of hepatitis B according to its contagion and its causes

We can differentiate between two types of hepatitis B based on how it is contagious.

  • Epidemic hepatitis. This type of hepatitis is caused by epidemics that can be more or less extensive and are contracted directly through the ingestion of food in poor conditions, such as milk, shellfish, etc.
  • Inoculation hepatitis. This type of contagion is the one that threatens health technicians the most since it is due to contact with infected needles or blood. By contacting infected patients, they are exposed to a greater risk of being infected.

Causes of Hepatitis B

The infection of hepatitis B is due to the hepatitis B virus HBV. This virus can survive outside the body for seven days and infect other people. This virus is transmitted through body fluids such as blood, saliva, or semen, and the most common ways of contagion are:

  • Transmission from mother to child during childbirth or early childhood through interpersonal contact.
  • Spread from one infected child to another during the first five years of life.
  • Transmission of hepatitis B by body fluids through sexual intercourse. This situation is accentuated in male homosexual couples and promiscuous heterosexual couples.
  • The use of needles in more than one person, both in health centers and in injection drug users.
  • Contagion in medical and dental centers through surgical, medical, or dental interventions.
  • By using contaminated objects in tattoo procedures.

Symptoms of Hepatitis B

Most people affected by acute hepatitis B do not have any symptoms, which means that the virus can be spread due to ignorance of who has it. This situation in which the signs are absent prevails in the acute phase, although some symptoms such as the following may occur :

  • Jaundice. Yellowing of the skin and mucous membranes is caused by an increase in bilirubin in the blood.
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Dark urine This symptom is also caused by increased bilirubin in the urine.
  • Intense fatigue
  • Abdominal pain is caused by inflammation of the liver.
  • Diarrhea.

In those cases in which hepatitis B is in the chronic stage, the symptoms can be derived from liver cancer or cirrhosis.

  • Cirrhosis . Cirrhosis involves progressive, irreversible liver damage resulting from chronic hepatitis B due to scarring or fibrosis of the liver. Its symptoms can be fatigue, loss of appetite, abdominal pain, and nausea.
  • Liver cancer . The cause is usually scarring of the liver caused by cirrhosis. Some of its symptoms are abdominal pain, bleeding, bruising, an enlarged abdomen, and jaundice.

Hepatitis B treatment

In the case of acute hepatitis B, no specific treatment is required since the body must be allowed to fight the infection until it is eliminated. The importance in this situation is that the patient maintains a good diet to suppress the loss of fluids generated by vomiting and diarrhea.

In the case of suffering from chronic hepatitis B, the infection must be fought either through taking medications. The intake of drugs will depend on the patient’s condition, the symptoms shown, or other factors that the doctor considers. However, some factors could influence when the doctor makes a decision, such as the state of the liver, as if it is losing functions that affect its health. The drugs are considered the most effective against hepatitis B and have few side effects. Another option to treat the infection is using interferon injections, although it entails a high cost that causes a gap in its use between patients who have a jump income and those who do not. The benefits of such treatment can be the following:

  • Delay the onset of cirrhosis in the patient.
  • Reduce the chance of liver cancer.
  • Increase the life expectancy of the infected patient.

It must be borne in mind that in most cases, drug treatment does not solve the original problem but rather prevents the reproduction of the virus, so it must be applied throughout life.

To know if a patient suffers from hepatitis B and to confirm their cure in the case of acute hepatitis B, a blood test should be carried out.

Prevention of hepatitis B

Currently, the best prevention against hepatitis B is vaccination after delivery. The hepatitis B vaccine is divided into three doses: one after delivery and two after. These vaccines generate antibodies that protect against the spread of hepatitis B, and their duration is usually for life and maybe shorter. Similarly, people who work in medical centers or children who are more than one year old and have not yet been vaccinated should go to the doctor to be administered the vaccine.

This article is merely informative, at FastlyHeal .com we do not have the power to prescribe medical treatments or make any type of diagnosis. We invite you to see a doctor in the case of presenting any type of condition or discomfort.

If you want to read more articles similar to Hepatitis B: causes, symptoms, and treatment , we recommend that you enter our Digestive System category .

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