Hepatitis B is a high preventable liver disease caused by the hepatitis B virus (HBV). HBV causes the liver to swell and prevents it from working well.
About 95% of adults who are exposed to HBV fully recover within 6 months (acute HBV) without medication. About 5% have HBV all their lives (chronic HBV) unless they are successfully treated with medications. Infants born to mothers infected with HBV are at high risk of developing chronic HBV. Chronic HBV can lead to cirrhosis (scarring) of the liver, liver cancer, and liver failure.
A majority of adults develop symptoms from acute hepatitis B virus infection; however, young children often do not. Symptoms, when they occur, may include:
On average, symptoms appear three months after exposure to the virus, but they can appear anywhere between six weeks and six months. Symptoms usually last for a few weeks, but can last up to six months. Most adults infected with hepatitis B virus recover fully even if their signs and symptoms are severe.
Some of the people who go on to develop chronic hepatitis B virus have ongoing symptoms similar to acute hepatitis B virus, but most people with chronic Hepatitis B remain symptom free for 20 or 30 years.
If you think you have signs of symptoms of Hepatitis B, contact your doctor.
Hepatitis B is diagnosed by blood tests. There are several different blood tests available that can help your doctor determine whether you:
Blood tests are done to check if hepatitis B virus antibodies are in the body. Antibodies are proteins created by the immune system in response to viruses.
Doctors often recommend bed rest, drinking lots of fluids, eating a healthy diet and avoiding alcohol. Medicines are not used to treat acute hepatitis B virus. It is important to see your doctor regularly to make sure your body has fully recovered from the virus.
Chronic Hepatitis B Virus
If you have chronic hepatitis B virus, you should be monitored regularly for signs of liver disease and need for possible treatment. Not every person with chronic hepatitis B virus needs medications and the drugs may cause side effects in some people. It is however important to have regular check-ups with your doctor to observe and watch your liver disease.
There are several medications approved to treat chronic hepatitis B virus and many other medications are being developed. You should discuss these options with your doctor to find what is best for you.
hepatitis B virus medications should not be taken by pregnant women unless recommended by their doctors. Some pregnant women with hepatitis B virus should be treated to prevent transmitting hepatitis B virus to their babies. It is important to closely follow up with your doctor during pregnancy to prevent to prevent transmission of Hepatitis B to their babies.
If you have chronic hepatitis B virus, it’s important to talk to your doctor about treatment options and liver cancer screening every 6 months with an imaging test of the liver and cancer biomarkers in the blood. If you develop cirrhosis, you should ask your doctor about the complications of cirrhosis. Also, talk to your doctor about getting the Hepatitis A vaccine and being tested for Hepatitis C and Hepatitis D (Delta).
The best way to prevent infection with hepatitis B virus is by getting the hepatitis B virus vaccine. It stimulate the body’s natural immune system to make antibodies – a substance found in the blood that protects you from disease- against hepatitis B virus. Other ways you can reduce your risk of getting hepatitis B virus include:
Those who should be vaccinated against hepatitis B virus include:
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Speak with your doctor about the ongoing progress and results of these trials to get the most up-to-date information on new treatments. Participating in a clinical trial is a great way to contribute to curing, preventing and treating liver disease and its complications.
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Last updated on August 17th, 2023 at 02:31 pm