Hepatitis B is the most commonly transmitted infection through sexual activities, blood contacts and even during childbirth. Hepatitis B Virus (HBV) like any other sexually transmitted infection can definitely lead to serious diseases. Further, having HBV can also affect the liver and eventually cause liver cancer. When one person is diagnosed with chronic Hepatitis B, is cannot be cured but it can still be treated.
The Hepatitis B infection is primarily due to the Hepatitis B Virus. Just like any other infection, it can be transmitted though body fluids such as the blood, semen or other body fluids. It can be transmitted through sexual activities, sharing of needles and syringes and mother to child transmission during pregnancy and birth.
Signs and Symptoms :
Often referred to as the “Silent Infection”, Hepatitis B has clearly no direct signs and symptoms when first infected. If you have acquired this disease you might not know you have this because it is asymptomatic. And when this happens, you might transmit the infection to others without knowing it. Among the most common symptoms of this infection are:
- Having appetite loss
- Having mild nausea and frequent vomiting
- High fever
- Easily gets tired
- Muscle and joint pains
- Yellowish color of the eyes and skin
- Bloated stomach
This disease can be tested by checking blood substances of the infected person and looks for different signs of the virus through:
- Antigens – This antigens are created by the bacteria, so when your tests shows any of these, you might have HBV.
- Antibodies – When your body produces these proteins to fight the infection, there is absolutely the growth of antibodies which signals you are exposed to the infection of HBV.
- DNA of HBV – The genetic material of the virus can also help in determining the presence of the HBV inside a person’s body. The presence of this genetic material will identify how serious the infections is and how it can spread inside your body.
Diagnosing Hepatitis B virus can be determined through blood tests. It can be identified to be chronic or acute. For serious signs, removing a small sample of the liver or called liver biopsy can also be made to generally test you for the presence of the virus. Although the growth of antibodies can indicate the presence of the virus, you can still be immunized from this infection.
This infectious virus can stay longer for about 3 months and can now be called an acute infection. Most patients of HBV can be resolved without treatment and can also be cured. As for the chronic infection it usually occurs in 1 out of 20 affected individuals which can stay inside the body for more than 6 months.
When a person is diagnosed with acute HBV, they are often cured however others may have longer treatment and a slowed improvement for more months which may either improve or worsen. There are also patients who suffer hasty development of the infection while it is still in an acute stage and may later lead to severe liver damage which can be very fatal to the patient. While patients who are chronic can also be at high risk of liver cirrhosis, liver cancer and which can cause to malfunction and even cause sudden death.
Ask your doctor for medical advice if you can take a Hepatitis B vaccine. This is generally given with three to four injections in a span of six months. This vaccination is done to prevent the occurrence of HBV. Other precautions for acquiring this infection are as follows:
- Never commit in sexual activities with your partner unless you are sure your partner is free from any sexually transmitted infections. However, when you can’t resist, use contraceptives such as condoms.
- Never use the same injection or syringes and needles when injecting illicit drugs. You better stop using this kind of drugs.
- Be cautious when choosing your piercing and tattoo artists. Be sure that your artist is using new equipment and tools such as needles and syringes.
Is Hepatitis B Contagious?
Indeed, Hepatitis B is very contagious. It can definitely spread immediately when you get contact with a person who has HBV through exchange or contact with infected blood, saliva, semen and other body fluids. Again, HBV infected persons may be asymptomatic which can lead to no signs and symptoms of this infection. But, even if they are asymptomatic it can still transmit the infection to others.
Hepatitis B infection has two known types, which are acute and chronic. Acute HBV or short-lived HBV can only stay in your body for almost six months. Some of the common symptoms are minor. Meanwhile, a chronic HBV is more serious compared to that of the short-lived HBV. Even if you are treated with this infection, you can still acquire it again. There is no known cure for the virus that is why it is important to always consult your doctor for proper monitoring of the virus and your liver.
If untreated and underestimated, your chronic HBV may result to sever complications which can definitely have a huge toll on you:
- Liver Cirrhosis – You can develop this disease which may later on cause a malfunction to your liver function. This serious inflammation can be fatal.
- Liver Cancer – Chronic HBV can also lead to this disease. Chronic HBV patients are more prone to acquire this serious illness.
- Liver Failure – This occurs when your liver doesn’t function anymore which will in time need a liver transplant. However, doing so may not give assurance of complete recovery.
Home Remedies :
If you are infected with HBV, aside from the medication prescribed by the doctors you can also help yourselves to relieve sign and symptoms and avoid the spread of the virus by:
- Having Ample Rest – You can take rest by limiting your physical activities and workload.
- Eating The Right Amount Of Food – If you are infected, food might not be that very much appealing to you. However, without proper food intake may lead to other illnesses. It’s better to take enough and right foods for your body to recover from fatigue and stress.
- Drink Plenty Of Fluids – To avoid having your body any dehydration signs, drink lots of water or other liquids which aid in improving your body water.
If you are diagnosed with Acute Hepatitis B, you may not necessarily require treatment because the infection is believed to be short-lived. However, the doctors may require you to take ample time to rest your body and eat proper nutritious foods and fluids to combat the HBV. But, for a Chronic HBV, it really needs medical treatment to decrease the chances of leading to serious liver illnesses and to prevent the transmission of the infection to others. Treatments for chronic HBV include several types:
- Antiviral Medication – This type of medication can combat the HBV and will reduce the risks of damaging the liver.
- Intron A – This is treatment uses a synthetic substance to battle the HBV which are done to people who do not want to undergo a long-term medication. However, it may cause various side effects including depression and breathing difficulties.
- Liver Transplant – If you have already a damaged liver, there is no other recourse than to have a liver transplant.