What Is Acute Hepatitis B
If someone has hepatitis B for less than 6 months it is called an acute infection. Most people who get hepatitis B as adults will only have an acute infection and recover from it. If you have acute hepatitis B, you might not experience any symptoms.
The older a person is when they become infected with hepatitis B, the better their chances of successfully fighting it off . Around 95% of adults who contract hepatitis B will go on to have an acute infection and are then clear it naturally. On the other hand, up to 90% of babies and 30% of children who become infected will go on to have chronic hepatitis B.
Chronic Hepatitis B Symptoms
Most patients with chronic hepatitis B are asymptomatic unless their disease progresses. Others might have nonspecific symptoms, such as fatigue.
Some patients experience worsening of the infection and develop signs and symptoms similar to acute hepatitis.
If patients with chronic hepatitis B progress to cirrhosis they will develop signs and symptoms of liver failure, including:
- Peripheral edema
- Hepatocellular carcinoma
Living With Hepatitis B
Risk of chronic infection caused by hepatitis B is related to your age, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Protection . Approximately 90% of infected infants become chronically infected compared with 2%-6% of adult, reports the CDC.
Chronic hepatitis B infection can lead to serious health issues. If you have it, you should be monitored regularly by a doctor. This means you should check in with your doctor at least once or twice a year. Some people who have chronic hepatitis B infection require medicine, but others do not. Your doctor can discuss treatment options with you.
If you have chronic hepatitis B infection, it will likely stay in your blood and liver for a lifetime, according to The Hepatitis B Foundation. This means that you could pass the virus to others, even if you dont feel sick.
The most important thing to remember is that hepatitis B is a chronic medical condition that can be successfully managed if you take good care of your health and your liver, reports the Hepatitis B Foundation. You should expect to live a long, full life.
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Hepatitis B Causes And Risk Factors
Itâs caused by the hepatitis B virus, and it can spread from person to person in certain ways. You can spread the hepatitis B virus even if you donât feel sick.
The most common ways to get hepatitis B include:
- Sex. You can get it if you have unprotected sex with someone who has it and your partnerâs blood, saliva, , or vaginal secretions enter your body.
- Sharing needles. The virus spreads easily via needles and syringes contaminated with infected blood.
- Accidental needle sticks.Health care workers and anyone else who comes in contact with human blood can get it this way.
- Mother to child.Pregnant women with hepatitis B can pass it to their babies during childbirth. But thereâs a vaccine to prevent newborns from becoming infected.
Who Should Get The Hepatitis A Vaccine
The hepatitis A vaccine is given in two doses, six to 18 months apart. Two doses are needed for lasting protection.
The vaccine is recommended for:27
- All children, starting at 1 year
- Men who have sex with men
- People who travel or work in a part of the world where hepatitis A is common, such as certain parts of Central or South America, Asia, Africa, and eastern Europe. See the CDCs Travelers Health Information.
- People who use illegal drugs
- People who are treated with clotting factor concentrates, such as people with hemophilia
- People with chronic liver disease
- People who work with hepatitis A in a laboratory or with hepatitis Ainfected primates
- Members of households planning to adopt a child, or care for a newly arriving adopted child, from a country where hepatitis A is common. See the CDCs Travelers Health information page for international adoptions.
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Acute Hepatitis B Infection
An acute hepatitis B infection may last up to six months and infected persons are able to pass the virus to others during this time. A simple blood test can let a person know if the hepatitis B virus is in their blood or if they have successfully gotten rid of the virus. The doctor should periodically test your blood over the six-month period to monitor the health of your liver and check progress towards recovery. In a person who has recovered from an acute hepatitis B infection, a taken six-months after initial diagnosis will show that there is no more hepatitis B virus in your blood.
Being diagnosed with acute hepatitis B can be difficult. As you move through the initial six-month period, there are tips and strategies to help.
Until your health care provider confirms that the blood test shows that there is no more hepatitis B virus in your blood, it is important to protect others from a possible infection.
It is also important to have your sexual partner and family members get tested for hepatitis B. If they have not been infected and have not received the hepatitis B vaccine then they should also start the hepatitis B vaccine series.
Be sure to follow-up with your health care provider for any additional blood tests that are needed to confirm your recovery from an acute infection.
Can Chronic Inactive Hepatitis B Be Cured
Hepatitis B cannot be cured, but it almost always goes away on its own. There are medications that can help treat long-lasting hepatitis B infections.
Will chronic hepatitis B go away?
In most cases, hepatitis B goes away on its own. You can relieve your symptoms at home by getting enough rest, eating healthy foods, drinking plenty of water, and avoiding alcohol and drugs. Also, ask your doctor about medications and herbal products to avoid, as some can worsen liver damage caused by hepatitis B.
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How Do You Get Hepatitis A
Hepatitis A is found in an infected persons stool .
Hepatitis A is spread through:
- Eating or drinking contaminated food or water
- You can get hepatitis A by eating food prepared by a person with the virus who didnt wash his or her hands after using the bathroom and then touched the food.
- You can get hepatitis A by eating raw or undercooked shellfish that came from sewage-contaminated water.
You are more likely to get hepatitis A if you travel out of the country to a developing country with poor sanitation or without access to clean water and have not gotten vaccinated for hepatitis A. Ask your doctor if you need a hepatitis A vaccination.
How Is Autoimmune Hepatitis Treated
Treatment works best when autoimmune hepatitis is found early. The goal of treatment is to control the disease and to reduce or get rid of any symptoms .
To do this, medicines are used to help slow down or suppress your overactive immune system. They also stop your body from attacking your liver.
Once you have started treatment, it can take 6 months to a few years for the disease to go into remission. Some people can stop taking medicine, but often the disease comes back. You may need treatment now and then for the rest of your life. Some people need to remain on treatment if they have relapsed many times or if their disease is severe.
In some cases autoimmune hepatitis may go away without taking any medicines. But for most people, autoimmune hepatitis is a chronic disease.
It can lead to scarring of the liver . The liver can become so badly damaged that it no longer works. This is called liver failure.
If you have liver failure, a liver transplant may be needed.
Be sure to ask your healthcare provider about recommended vaccines. These include vaccines for viruses that can cause liver disease.
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What To Expect From Your Doctor
Your doctor is likely to ask you a number of questions, including:
- When did your symptoms begin?
- Have your symptoms been continuous or occasional?
- How severe are your symptoms?
- What, if anything, seems to improve your symptoms?
- What, if anything, appears to worsen your symptoms?
- Have you ever had a blood transfusion?
- Do you inject drugs?
Chronic Hepatitis B Infection
People who test positive for the hepatitis B virus for more than six months are diagnosed as having a chronic infection. This means their immune system was not able to get rid of the hepatitis B virus and it still remains in their blood and liver.
The risk of developing a chronic hepatitis B infection is also directly related to the age at which one first becomes exposed to the hepatitis B virus:
- 90% of infected newborns and babies will develop a chronic hepatitis B infection
- Up to 50% of infected children will develop a chronic hepatitis B infection
- 5-10% of infected adults will develop a chronic hepatitis B infection
Learning that you have a chronic hepatitis B infection can be very upsetting. Because most people do not have symptoms and can be diagnosed decades after their initial exposure to the hepatitis B virus, it can be a shock and a surprise to be diagnosed with a chronic hepatitis B infection. The good news is that most people with chronic hepatitis B should expect to live a long and healthy life.
There are effective drug therapies that can control and even stop the hepatitis B virus from further damaging a liver. There are also promising new drugs in the research pipeline that could provide a cure in the very near future. Although the risk of developing a serious liver disease or liver cancer is higher for those living with chronic hepatitis B than those who are not infected, there are still many simple things a person can do to help reduce their risks.
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Prognosis Of Hepatitis B
The evolution of the disease is quite variable. There are probably genetic factors that are associated with the different ability to keep viral replication under control. The magnitude of the damage is also associated with age , sex , alcohol consumption and the presence of other viruses such as hepatitis C and D viruses.
It is important to know that you can spread the virus to others, even if you do not feel sick.
How Is Hepatitis B Diagnosed
Your healthcare provider will ask about your signs and symptoms and any health problems you have. Tell him or her if you have other infections, such as HIV or hepatitis C. Tell him or her if you drink alcohol or use any illegal drugs. He or she may also ask about your sex partners. You may need any of the following tests:
- Blood tests are used to show if you are infected with HBV and to check liver function.
- An ultrasound may be done to check for signs of hepatitis B and to look for other liver problems.
- A liver biopsy is used to test a sample of your liver for swelling, scarring, and other damage. A liver biopsy may help healthcare providers learn if you need treatment.
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Is Surgery A Treatment For Hepatitis B
There is no surgical therapy for hepatitis B.
If liver damage is so severe that the liver starts to fail, liver transplant may be recommended:
- Liver transplant is a major process and surgery with an extended recovery period.
- It also depends on the availability of a matching donor liver.
- If liver transplant becomes a possibility for an individual, a health care practitioner will discuss the risks and benefits with them.
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Is There A Cure For Hepatitis B
The long and short answer is that there is not yet a cure for hepatitis B. Understanding why requires insight into the virus itself and the challenges cure researchers face.
Hepatitis B is an infectious disease caused by the hepatitis B virus . While most people exposed to hepatitis B will spontaneously clear the virus soon after infection, a proportion will go on to develop a chronic infection.
Efforts to find a cure for hepatitis B have been underway since the virus was first identified by scientists at the National Institutes of Health in 1966. It soon became clear, however, that numerous hurdles would need to be overcome before an actual cure could be achieved. Chief among these are:
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How Is Viral Hepatitis Diagnosed
Talk to your doctor if you have symptoms of viral hepatitis. Your doctor will:
- Ask questions about your health history
- Do a physical exam
- Order blood tests that look for parts of the virus or antibodies that your body makes in response to the virus. Other tests may measure the amount of the virus in your blood.
Can A Transplant Cure Hepatitis C
If you develop chronic hepatitis C and it leads to liver cancer or liver failure, you may need a liver transplant. Hepatitis C is one of the most common reasons for a liver transplant.
A liver transplant removes a damaged liver and replaces it with a healthy one. However, theres a high likelihood that the hepatitis C virus will be transmitted to the new liver in time.
The virus lives in your bloodstream, not just your liver. Removing your liver wont cure the disease.
If you have active hepatitis C, continued damage to your new liver is very likely, especially if hepatitis C remains untreated.
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Treatment To Prevent Hepatitis B Infection After Exposure
If you know you’ve been exposed to the hepatitis B virus and aren’t sure if you’ve been vaccinated, call your doctor immediately. An injection of immunoglobulin given within 12 hours of exposure to the virus may help protect you from getting sick with hepatitis B. Because this treatment only provides short-term protection, you also should get the hepatitis B vaccine at the same time, if you never received it.
Acute Vs Chronic Hepatitis B
A hepatitis B infection can result in either an acute infection or a chronic infection. When a person is first infected with the hepatitis B virus, it is called an “acute infection” . Most healthy adults that are infected do not have any symptoms and are able to get rid of the virus without any problems. Some adults are unable to get rid of the virus after six months and they are diagnosed as having a “chronic infection.” A simple blood test can diagnose an acute or chronic hepatitis B infection.
The risk of developing a chronic hepatitis B infection is directly related to the age at which a person is first exposed to the hepatitis B virus. The younger a person is when they are first infected, the greater the risk of developing a chronic hepatitis B infection:
- More than 90% of infants that are infected will develop a chronic hepatitis B infection
- Up to 50% of young children between 1 and 5 years who are infected will develop a chronic hepatitis B infection
- 5-10% of healthy adults 19 years and older who are infected will develop a chronic hepatitis B infection
The recommendation for hepatitis B vaccination of babies and children is so important because they are at the greatest risk of developing a chronic infection if they are not protected against the hepatitis B virus as soon as possible.
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Extrahepatic Replication Of Hbv And Its Role In Hbv Reactivation
Numerous reports demonstrated the presence of HBV DNA, virus genome replicative intermediates and viral proteins in hepatic tissue, and HBV DNA and HBsAg in serum of HBV-infected persons, but the existence of extrahepatic sites of HBV replication are not as well recognized. Nonetheless, the accumulated data indicate that PBMC and different immune cell types can support HBV replication. Stronger evidence came from the woodchuck model of HBV infection. There are also occasional observations that endothelial cells, epithelial cells, neurons, macrophages and polymorphonuclear leukocytes could be permissive to HBV infection in humans. HBV replication was also demonstrated in in vitro bone marrow cultures and lymphatic tissues of patients with CHB. In the woodchuck model of hepatitis B, extrahepatic replication of the woodchuck hepatitis virus and infectivity of the virus derived from lymphoid cells were clearly delineated. Interestingly, in some situations, the lymphatic system might be the only site of virus replication in this model.
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Hepatitis B Vs Hepatitis C
Hepatitis has many different types. HBV and the hepatitis C virus have both acute and chronic forms.
The main difference between HBV and HCV is how they spread from person to person. Although HCV is transmissible via sexual activity, this is rare. HCV usually spreads when blood that carries the virus comes into contact with blood that does not.
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Contrary To What You May Have Heard Hepatitis C Isnt Spread Through Casual Contact
An estimated 2.4 million people have hepatitis C, but the majority may not be aware theyre carrying the virus, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention . This is, in part, because only a fraction of newly infected people experience symptoms, such as fatigue, stomach pain, or a loss of appetite, many of which are mild and unlikely to warrant a visit to the doctor, says the CDC.
And although some people who catch the virus will naturally rid their bodies of the infection, more than 50 percent will go on to develop chronic, or long-term, hepatitis C, which can last a lifetime if not treated, according to the CDC.
Unfortunately, many people arent being screened for the virus. In the past, the CDC recommended that members of the baby boomer generation or, adults born between 1945 and 1965 be screened for hepatitis C at least once. Many in this at-risk group could have been infected through a blood transfusion or organ transplant that was done before widespread screening of the blood supply began in 1992.
But in 2020, the CDC began recommending that people of every generation be screened for the virus at least once. Thats because new data showed that millennials made up about 37 percent of new hepatitis C cases in 2018, whereas baby boomers made up about 36 percent of new cases. Generation X made up 23.1 percent of new cases. The CDC also tells women to be tested during every pregnancy.