Hepatitis B Causes, Symptoms, Transmission & Prevention

By Martinez - October 05, 2017

Hepatitis B is an infection caused by a virus from the Hepadnaviridae family. Hepatitis B virus targets and causes damage to the liver.

 According to WHO, approximately  257 million people worldwide are living with HBV infection and has resulted in 887 000 deaths in 2015.

 The hepatitis B virus does not actually damage the liver directly, but because of its presence, the body initiates an immune response trying to destroy the virus and repair the cells of the liver. The immune response makes the cells of the liver become inflamed, which results in liver damage.

The liver is a vital organ. It removes  poisons from the bloodstream and performs about 500 other vital functions. That is why hepatitis (inflammation of the liver) is life threatening.

How is it transmitted?

According to health authorities, hepatitis B virus cannot be transmitted through insect bites, holding hands, kissing, hugging, breast- feeding or even using the utensils of an infected person.  

Hepatitis B can be transmitted through;

Sexual contact. HBV is present in body fluids such as vaginal fluid and semen.

Birth. From an infected mother to an unborn child.

Unsterilized medical objects (needles, dental instruments), and unsterilized tattoo piercing instruments, since HBV is present also in the blood.

What Are the Symptoms Of hepatitis B?

Symptoms vary with people. For some persons there are no symptoms. But common symptoms are;

Blood vessels in the skin appear to be swollen.
Yellowish skin and eyes (jaundice).
Dark urine.
Feeling intense pain in the abdomen.
Experiencing general body weakness, fatigue, and loss of appetite,
Having the tendency to vomit (nausea), and vomiting.

Who are at risk of Coming down with HBV?

People who regularly need blood, or persons who have received an organ transplant;

Drug addicts;

Having sexual contacts with people infected with chronic HBV infection;

A person with more than one sexual partner;

People travelling to an epidemic area without being vaccinated.

People that are exposed to blood while at work such as health care workers

Any Cure?

Acute Hepatitis B often goes it's own. But chronic hepatitis B infection requires medication. Antiviral drugs help to slow down the replication of HBV.

Fortunately, there is a vaccine for HBV. It has been used since 1982 and has up to 95% cure rate.

When coping with HBV, take very good care of yourself. Eat a healthy, balanced diet consisting of fruits and vegetables, exercise regularly, and get quality sleep.

Do not overstress your liver. Though it does more than 500 vital functions, the liver is very fragile. Acholol and illicit drugs scar the liver. Also, do not take over-the-counter drugs without first consulting your doctor or health care professional.

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