Saturday, October 23
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Hepatitis B – A Potential Life-Threatening Disease

Every one of us must have heard of a disease called hepatitis. Some of us even read about it in school.

Hepatitis has three types. There is Hepatitis A, Hepatitis B, and Hepatitis C. Hepatitis A is the infectious type transmitted through contaminated water. The other two types (Hepatitis B and Hepatitis C) are passed through blood and other bodily fluids.

CAUSES OF HEPATITIS B

Hepatitis B is caused by the hepatitis B virus (HBV), which infects the liver severely. If it lasts for more than six months, it becomes a chronic condition. In that case, it can cause permanent damage to the liver by causing other diseases like liver cancer, liver cirrhosis, and even liver failure.

Like any other virus, the hepatitis B virus cannot be kept confined to only one person’s body. It also spreads from one person to the other for the following reasons:

(I)The hepatitis B virus is present in bodily fluids and reproductive passages of both males and females. Having vaginal, anal, or oral intercourse with a person who already possesses this virus can lead to its transmission. The safest way is to use contraception methods during any intercourse to prevent this virus from spreading.

(II) It’s also caused by using contaminated injection needles that carry the virus. It happens when two or more people do not use disposable syringes.

(III) Contaminated blood transfusions have also increased the number of hepatitis B cases across the whole world.

(IV) In some cases, there has been a mother to child transmission. The virus has spread from the mother’s body to the body of their newborn.

SYMPTOMS

The symptoms vary according to the different age groups. Children below the age of five show absolutely no symptoms even if they are infected. Usually, infected adults have yellow skin, eyes and even their urine turns deep yellow or brown. Also, infected people suffer from fatigue, which may be weeks long and sometimes persists for months. Some other symptoms are nausea, loss of appetite, abdominal pain, and joint pain. Also, swollen blood vessels appear, and the host’s body becomes weak.

PREVALENCE

Hepatitis B has been found more among adults than young children. Teenagers are also less likely to be affected by this disease. Regarding different countries, hepatitis B has been found more prevalent in South African countries and the southeast Asian region. Also, there have been many cases in the Pacific zones and Australia. American countries have been less infected with this virus.

TREATMENT

Just like all viruses, the treatment of hepatitis B involves a vaccine. But before that, the patient’s diagnosis must be done, which can be in many alternative ways. These include blood tests, which can determine whether the virus in your body is chronic or acute. There is ultrasonography, which can detect the amount of liver damage. Finally, there is a liver biopsy, where your doctor removes a tiny part of your liver and checks if the virus is present or if there is any damage.

HEPATITIS B MEDICINE involves antiviral drugs that reduce the capability of the virus to replicate. These drugs are recommended only to those patients who are suffering from chronic conditions.