Medical

HEPATITIS B

Hepatitis is defined as the inflammation of the liver. Hepatitis A is when the liver becomes infected by Hepatitis A Virus (HAV). HAV is highly contagious as well. Hepatitis B is a serious liver infection caused by the hepatitis B virus (HBV), it has 2 stages acute hepatitis B and chronic hepatitis B. The acute stage can go away by itself but the chronic stage will require life-long treatment. Unlike Hepatitis A which doesn’t leave a permanent scar on the liver, hepatitis B can cause serious conditions like cirrhosis, liver failure, and liver cancer. Hepatitis C is a viral infection that causes inflammation in the liver and this can lead to liver damage. It initially starts off as acute hepatitis C, however, the symptoms are so mild it is often passed off as another form of the condition. Acute hepatitis C will develop into chronic hepatitis C which can lead to further complications.

Causes:

For Hepatitis B, it can be spread through having unprotected vaginal or anal sex as the virus is spread through coming into contact with the infected persons’ body fluids. Even living in a household with a person with chronic HBV infection can increase your chances of getting HBV.

Diagnosis:

For Hepatitis B, doctors will use blood tests, liver ultrasound, and a liver biopsy to determine whether a patient has the infection.

Signs & Symptoms:

For Hepatitis B à Fever, fatigue, loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, dark urine and jaundice

Treatment:

For acute Hepatitis B àAcute Hepatitis B will go away on its own so sometimes there is no need for treatment. Instead, the doctor may offer non-pharmacological advice such as getting enough rest, adequate nutrition and drink plenty of fluids. However, if it is a severe case then antiviral drugs may be given or the patient may be hospitalized to reduce chances of complications from happening.

For chronic Hepatitis B à Antiviral medications such as entecavir (Baraclude), tenofovir (Viread), lamivudine (Epivir), adefovir (Hepsera) and telbivudine (Tyzeka) may be given as an oral dose & Interferon injections may also be given. However, if the patients’ liver has been severely damaged, getting a liver transplant will be given as an option to the patient.

Management:

For Hepatitis B and C, take prescribed medication, don’t consume alcohol or any over-the-counter drugs (eg. Panadol) that are linked to liver damage.

Prevention:

Get a vaccine against Hepatitis B and have protected sex, don’t share needles, syringes, razor blades or toothbrushes as they can possibly carry traces of infected blood.

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