HEPATITIS B, CAUSES, SYMPTOMS & TREATMENT

HEPATITIS B, CAUSES, SYMPTOMS & TREATMENT


More than 1.5 million cases per year (Nigeria)
Spreads by sexual contact
Preventable by vaccine
Treatable by a medical professional
Chronic: can last for years or be lifelong
Requires a medical diagnosis
Lab tests or imaging always required

This disease is most commonly spread by exposure to infected bodily fluids.

Symptoms are variable and include yellowing of the eyes, abdominal pain and dark urine. Some people, particularly children, don't experience any symptoms. In chronic cases, liver failure, cancer or scarring can occur.



The condition often clears up on its own. Chronic cases require medication and possibly a liver transplant.

Ages affected
0-2 Common
3-5 Common
6-13 Common
14-18 Common
19-40 Common
41-60 Common
60+ Common

How it spreads
By blood products (unclean needles or unscreened blood).
By mother to baby by pregnancy, labor, or nursing.
By having unprotected vaginal, anal, or oral sex.

Symptoms 

Symptoms are variable and include yellowing of the eyes, abdominal pain and dark urine. Some people, particularly children, don't experience any symptoms. In chronic cases, liver failure, cancer or scarring can occur.

Can have no symptoms, but people may experience:
Pain areas: in the abdomen
Whole body: fatigue, loss of appetite, or malaise
Gastrointestinal: fluid in the abdomen or nausea
Skin: web of swollen blood vessels in the skin or yellow skin and eyes
Also common: dark urine

Treatment

Because the symptoms of hepatitis B are similar to those of other viral infections, an accurate diagnosis should be made with a blood test that detects the hepatitis B surface antigen HBsAg. If the presence of HBsAg persists for at least six months, this serves as a principal marker of risk for developing liver disease later in life. During the initial phase of the infection, patients will test positive for HBeAg, an antigen that indicates that the blood and body fluids of the infected person are highly infectious.

There is no specific treatment for acute hepatitis B. But for people with chronic hepatitis B, antiviral agents are usually prescribed to slow the progression of liver disease and reduce the incidence of liver cancer. Some of the most common medications used by patients with chronic hepatitis B are tenofovir and entecavir, which are used to suppress the virus. These drugs don’t cure most people. But they do help by suppressing the replication of the hepatitis B virus and therefore reduce the risk of developing life-threatening liver conditions. Many people with chronic hepatitis B have to stay on these medications for the rest of their lives.

The most important is that, you should go to hospital if you noticed any symptoms. 

Source : UI, Ibadan & others 

@clinicgists 

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