Hepatitis B is a highly contagious illness that can cause irreperable liver damage if not diagnosed in time. The risk of reinfection is high, so it is important to know what you are looking for, what the symptoms are and what the cure is once it's been caught.
The causes of hepatitis B
What is hepatitis B? Hepatitis B (hep B) is a blood borne virus that causes inflammation and infection of the liver. The virus is carried in bodily fluids such as blood, semen and mucus. Causes of hepatitis Having unprotected sexual intercourse with a sufferer can cause the rapid spread of the illnesss. Working in a job with close contact to bodily fluids can heighten a person's risk of contracting the illness.
The symptoms of hep B
Unfortunately, hepatitis B can be totally symptomless meaning that people can be unaware that they are infected and go on to infect other people. Diagnosis is simple, a simple hepatitis test is done on a blood sample. Symptoms, if they are present, are often likened to flu-like symptoms, nausea, weight loss, stomach pain and jaundice. In the later chronic phase of the disease, the liver can fail, turn cancerous or get cirrhosis.
The treatment of hepatitis B
What is the treatment for acute hepatitis B? When a person is suffering from acute hep B, they do not require treatment other than to maintain a healthy diet and exercise regime. For these people, the illness often deals with itself and the sufferer will be left with no lasting effects. What happens with chronic hep B? The chronic version lasts longer than six months. The younger an individual is, the more likely they will suffer from chronic hepatitis B. It is a huge problem for newborns in developing countries. There is treatment that can be given to help with the fight against the hepatitis virus. Interferon Interferon is given in an injection form and works by preventing the hep B virus from multiplying inside the liver. The side effects are severe and it is not recommended for long-term use. Antiviral medications Antiviral medications work in the same way that interferon does,that is by preventing and slowing the multiplication of the hep B virus in the liver. It is very important to finish the course as the virus may become treatment-resistant otherwise. Surgery For some people, the liver is too damaged to be able to repair itself, and an operation to do a liver transplant is necessary. Many of the problems that are encountered with hep B could be prevented by getting a hepatitis vaccine if working or living in a high risk area and by practising safe sex.