Hepatitis B – What it is, Causes, Symptoms and Treatment!

Hepatitis B – What it is, Causes, Symptoms and Treatment ,  Hepatitis B  is one of the diseases that has been causing the most deaths worldwide, because its contagion is very easy to happen.In addition, Hepatitis B is a sexually transmitted disease  transmitted by the HBV virus that is characterized by resulting in nausea, vomiting, malaise, fever , fatigue, loss of appetite, dark urine and, mainly, a yellowish color in the skin  and eyes. The main organ affected by the disease  is the liver  which can develop liver cirrhosis or cancer , which can result in death.

The treatment of Hepatitis B exists, but it is quite dangerous, it requires a lot of health care  so that it does not affect the liver , after all, every substance that reaches our body must pass through the organ that serves as a filter, when it is weakened, not all medications that can be administered. Prevention and vaccination is still the most effective way against the disease .

What is Hepatitis B:  Hepatitis B  is caused by the Hepatitis B Virus  (HBV), discovered in 1965 and is the most dangerous of hepatitis and one of the most frequent diseases in the world, with an estimated 350 million carriers. chronic hepatitis B virus .

These carriers can develop serious liver diseases, such as cirrhosis and liver cancer, pathologies responsible for the death of one million people a year across the planet; however, prevention against this virus is within our reach through the Hepatitis B vaccine, which is 95 percent effective.

The Hepatitis B virus  is transmitted through contact with the blood and body fluids of an infected person, in the same way as the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), which causes AIDS, except that the Hepatitis B virus is 50 to 100 times more infectious than HIV.

There is also the possibility of transmission from mother to child, at birth, an especially serious form of contagion, given the great tendency of evolution to chronicity and which is very common in the hyperendemic areas of developing countries, where most of the infected people contract the virus during childhood.

In industrialized countries, this age group is the most «protected» since the vaccine against Hepatitis B is part of the national vaccination program in 116 countries, including Portugal. In the Western world, Europe and North America, the Hepatitis B virus  is mainly transmitted to young adults sexually and through sharing needles and other injection material among intravenous drug users.

The virus causes acute hepatitis  in a third of those affected, and one in every thousand infected can be a victim of  fulminant hepatitis . In less than ten percent of cases in which the infection occurs in adulthood, the disease becomes chronic, and this situation is more common in men. In Portugal, it is estimated that there are 150,000 chronic HBV carriers.

Causes of Hepatitis B Transmission:  Hepatitis B is caused by the HBV virus or Hepatitis B virus that can generate an infection in the liver by  killing its cells. This virus can survive at least 7 days outside the body .

Its contamination occurs through contact with another infected person where there is a sharing of blood  or body fluids. Hepatitis B is a contagious disease  , but it is not transmitted by casual contact such as coughing, hugging or sharing some personal objects. Its transmission is through contact with infected blood  and body fluids. So now check out the Causes of Hepatitis B Transmission:

  • Spittle
  • Blood
  • Semen
  • vaginal secretions

Therefore, it is common for gay men who have not been vaccinated and people with many sexual partners to contract Hepatitis B. This pathology can also be transmitted from mother to child during childbirth, which normally takes the disease to  a chronic stage before 5 years of life.

We can still mention that the inappropriate use of syringes and needles, as in the use of illicit drugs, for example, can lead to contamination. Even in health use  such as medical, dental procedures, shaving and tattooing devices can transmit the virus.

Symptoms of Hepatitis B That Many Ignore:  Hepatitis B viral are silent, sometimes the person can carry the virus without knowing it, so the need for routine annual exams are important to detect any infection. When the symptoms of Hepatitis B  appear, it means that the disease is already in a very advanced stage, which can bring serious risks to the liver . Symptoms of Hepatitis B are:

  • Fever
  • Tiredness
  • Weakness
  • malaise
  • dark urine
  • Sickness and nausea
  • loss of appetite
  • Muscle aches
  • whitish stools
  • feeling of satiety
  • Jaundice (  yellow colored eyes  and skin )

As the symptoms of Hepatitis B are the same as for many other diseases  , the diagnosis is easier when evaluated if the person has already maintained habits that expose them to the virus, such as not having taken the Hepatitis B vaccine regularly, having had unprotected sex (without using a condom), having injected drugs or shared razors, needles or sharp objects.

Hepatitis B virus as well as C virus can only be detected after 60 days after infection by the virus (or activity that may have exposed you to contamination), as antibodies take time to recognize it. The symptoms, however, can take up to six months to manifest, which impairs the early diagnosis of the disease .

Hepatitis B Diagnosis:  The diagnosis of Hepatitis B  is based on physical and blood tests  to determine the value of transaminases (aminotransferases, according to the new medical nomenclature), and the presence of virus antigens in the detection of viral DNA. In some cases , a liver biopsy may be necessary to identify Hepatitis B.

How Hepatitis B Transmission Occurs: Hepatitis B transmission  occursthrough contact with blood or body secretions contaminated by the HBV virus. Some forms of contamination are:

  • Relationship without condom.
  • Contaminated nail pliers (manicure).
  • Share syringes.
  • Piercings or tattoos performed with contaminated material.
  • Blood transfusion performed before 1992.
  • From mother to child through normal birth.
  • Skin injury  or accident with contaminated needles.

Saliva can also be one of the ways Hepatitis B is transmitted ,  through bites but not through kissing or other types of exposure to saliva. However, body fluids such as tears, sweat, urine, feces and breast milk are not capable of transmitting Hepatitis B.

Prevention of Hepatitis B:  Avoiding contact with infected blood or those whose health status is unknown , not sharing sharp and perforating objects, or instruments used to prepare injectable drugs, and always using condoms during sexual intercourse are the main forms of prevention. prevent contagion.

Tattooing, piercing and acupuncture treatments should only be done if the instruments used are properly sterilized.

How to Treat Hepatitis B Effectively:  The treatment of Hepatitis B needs to be very well evaluated by the doctor because not all cases need immediate action. There are several forms of treatment against the Hepatitis B virus , some last a few months.

The initial treatment is intended to alleviate the symptoms in a way that can give the patient some quality of life and also avoid the risk of complications in the liver  (the most dangerous point of the disease ). Adequate nutrition is recommended, not using medicines without medical advice. There is no need for constant rest, but common sense should be exercised in the practice of physical activities.

When the disease  progresses to the chronic stage, there may be a need for antiviral medication, drug cocktails and intense medical monitoring. People who show the first physical symptoms of the disease  or who are already in advanced stages need to be treated urgently, as the chances of liver complications are high .

The biggest damage of Hepatitis B is the possibility of evolution to liver cirrhosis or liver cancer (  also  called carcinoma). Patients who already have some damage to this organ due to excessive medication or who drink alcohol frequently have a lower chance of successful treatment.

In some cases where liver function has died or the cirrhosis is at a very advanced stage, a liver transplant may be necessary . About 5% to 10% of patients cannot fight the virus and remain infected for the rest of their lives or until the liver dies . Among children, most who have been infected and are up to 5 years of age are unable to eliminate the virus when they reach the stage of chronic disease  .

Recommendations Against Hepatitis B:

  • Find out about the free distribution of the Hepatitis B vaccine by the public health system .
  • Know that chronic hepatitis B is a disease  that requires care, because it can progress to liver cirrhosis and liver  cancer hepatocellular  carcinoma).
  • It is worth consulting a doctor about the importance of getting the Hepatitis B vaccine , even if you do not belong to the risk groups. This vaccine also protects against infection by the Hepatitis  D virus, which only manifests when double infection occurs.

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