- Hepatitis is an inflammation of the liver.
- Inflammation causes soreness and swelling.
- Hepatitis can be caused by many things.
- Hepatitis is most commonly caused by one of the 5 Hepatitis viruses (A, B, C, D or E).
- All types of Hepatitis cause inflammation of the liver, which interferes with its ability to function.
- Lack of blood supply to the liver, poison, autoimmune disorders, excessive alcohol use, an injury to the liver and taking certain medicines can also cause Hepatitis.
- 2 main kinds of Hepatitis, acute Hepatitis (short-lived) and chronic Hepatitis (lasting at least 6 months).
- If you have acute Hepatitis, the liver might become inflamed very suddenly and you might have nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, fever and body aches. Or you may not experience any symptoms. Most people get over the acute inflammation in a few days or a few weeks.
- Sometimes, however, the inflammation doesn't go away. When the inflammation doesn't go away in 6 months, the person has chronic Hepatitis.
Damage in Hepatitis
- The liver breaks down waste products in your blood.
- When the liver is inflamed, it doesn't do a good job of getting rid of waste products.
- One waste product in the blood, called bilirubin, begins to build up in the blood and tissues when the liver isn't working properly.
- The bilirubin makes the skin of a person who has Hepatitis turn a yellow-orange color. This is called jaundice.
- Bilirubin and other waste products may also cause itching, nausea, fever and body aches
- Hepatitis B is a serious liver infection that is usually spread through contact with blood and/or body fluids of someone who has the infection.
- You can get Hepatitis B if you have unprotected sexual contact with an infected partner.
- People who use intravenous (IV) drugs can get Hepatitis B when they share needles with someone who has the virus.
- Health care workers (such as nurses, lab technicians and doctors) can get these infections if they are accidentally stuck with a needle that was used on an infected patient.
- The infection can also be passed from a mother to her baby during childbirth.
- Other modes are through sharing infected needles, blood transfusion, organ transplants or sexual transmission from infected person to healthy person.
- You are also more likely to get Hepatitis B if you travel to areas of the world where Hepatitis B is common.
Hepatitis B cannot be transmitted through casual contact. For example, you cannot get Hepatitis B by hugging or shaking hands with someone who is infected.
Symptoms of Hepatitis B can include:
- Loss of appetite
- Weakness and fatigue
- Abdominal pain, especially in the area around your liver
- Dark-colored urine
- Jaundice (the yellowing of the skin and the whites of the eyes)
- Joint pain
Symptoms of Hepatitis B can range from mild to severe. If you have a mild case of Hepatitis, you may not even realize that you have it. It may not cause symptoms or may only cause symptoms similar to the stomach flu.
- In some people, chronic hepatitis can lead to cirrhosis of the liver.
- Cirrhosis occurs when the liver cells die and are replaced by scar tissue and fat
- The damaged areas of the liver stop working and can't cleanse the body of wastes
- Cirrhosis can lead to liver failure and even liver cancer
- Blood tests are used to diagnose Hepatitis B.
- Blood tests can tell your doctor whether your liver is working properly, and they can also be used to monitor your condition during treatment
- Your doctor may want to look at your liver with an ultrasound or X-rays
- A liver biopsy may also be needed. With a liver biopsy, a small piece of the liver is removed and looked at under a microscope. A liver biopsy can help your doctor diagnose your illness and see the condition of your liver directly
- If you have acute Hepatitis B, your body may be able to fight the infection on its own, and you might not need treatment. Your doctor will help you manage your symptoms and monitor your condition while your body works to clear the Hepatitis B from your system
- If you have chronic Hepatitis B, your family doctor will refer you to a gastroenterologist or other specialist that treats people who have chronic liver problems
- There are a number of antiviral medicines available that are often successful
- Treatment may take a year or more, depending on the severity of the infection and your response to treatment
- The best way to prevent Hepatitis B is to have protected sex (use a condom) and to avoid sharing needles
- Vaccination is available to prevent Hepatitis B. It is now routinely given in the first year of life to all newborn infants
- It is safe and requires 3 shots over a 6-month period
- This vaccine should be given to people who are at high risk for this illness, such as health care workers, all children, people who travel to areas where the infection is widespread, drug users and those who have multiple sex partners
- People can get HBV infection from you by coming in contact with your blood or blood products, semen, or vaginal fluids
- HBV has been detected in low concentrations in other body fluids, including tears, sweat, urine, feces, and breast milk, these fluids have not been associated with transmission
- HBV is not spread by sneezing or coughing, or from casual contact such as holding hands
- Tell your sex partner(s) that you are infected with HBV and get him/her tested. If, according to the blood tests, your partner has never had Hepatitis B, he or she should be vaccinated
- After the series of three shots is completed, your partner should undergo blood testing to make sure the vaccine protected him or her
- Use condoms until your partner is proven to be protected from HBV
- All household members should be tested for Hepatitis B and vaccinated
- Cover all cuts and wounds with a bandage
- Throw away used personal items such as tissues or menstrual pads in a bag so others will not be exposed to your blood
- Wash your hands well after touching your blood or body fluids
- Clean up your blood spills with bleach solution
- Do not share toothbrushes, razors, needles for ear piercing, nail scissors, washcloths, or anything that may have come in contact with your blood or body fluids.
- Do not share food that has been in your mouth (e.g., chewing gum) and do not pre-chew food for babies.
- Do not share syringes and needles.
- Do not donate blood, plasma, body organs, tissue, or sperm.
- Know that if someone is exposed to your blood-be it a family member, a friend, or even a stranger-preventive treatment is available for that person.
http:// www .cdc.gov/ Hepatitis /b /PatientEduB .htm