Wednesday, September 21, 2022

How Do You Know You Have Hepatitis B

What Are Signs Of Hepatitis B

What you need to know about Hepatitis B

When you first get hepatitis B, it is called acutehepatitis B. Most adults who have hepatitis B willrecover on their own. However, children and someadults can develop chronic hepatitis B.

Acute hepatitis B: Signs of acute hepatitis B canappear within 3 months after you get the virus.These signs may last from several weeks to 6 months.Up to 50% of adults have signs of acute hepatitis Bvirus infection. Many young children do not show anysigns. Signs include:

  • Yellow skin or eyes
  • Tiredness
  • A longer than normal amount of time for bleedingto stop

You Can Have It And Not Know It

What is hepatitis B?

Hepatitis B is a liver disease caused by the hepatitis B virus . HBV is far more infectious than HIV and can be prevented by a vaccine. People who have not been vaccinated may be at risk of getting infected.

About 95 percent of adults will recover within 6 months of becoming infected and as a result will develop lifelong protection against it. The remaining 5 percent are unable to clear the virus and will become chronically infected. Chronic hepatitis B infection is treatable.

It is estimated that less than 1 percent of Canada’s population is infected with either acute or chronic HBV. People who are infected before the age of 7 are at a higher risk of developing chronic infection. In 2011, the overall reported rate of acute hepatitis B infection in Canada was 0.6 reported cases per 100,000 people living in Canada.

Why is hepatitis B a health concern?

Many people infected with HBV do not know they have the virus because symptoms can take two to six months to appear and only about 50 percent of people develop symptoms. During this time, they can spread the infection to others. You may not know you have this infection until damage has already been done to your liver. Potential complications from chronic HBV infection include cirrhosis of the liver, liver failure, liver cancer and premature death.

Why do I need my liver?

How is hepatitis B spread?

HBV is spread through contact with infected blood and body fluids including semen and vaginal fluid.

What Can I Do To Manage Hepatitis B

  • Do not drink alcohol. Alcohol can increase liver damage. Talk to your healthcare provider if you drink alcohol and need help to stop.
  • Do not smoke. Nicotine can damage blood vessels and make it more difficult to manage hepatitis B. Smoking can also lead to more liver damage. Ask your healthcare provider for information if you currently smoke and need help to quit. E-cigarettes or smokeless tobacco still contain nicotine. Talk to your healthcare provider before you use these products.
  • Eat a variety of healthy foods. Healthy foods include fruits, vegetables, low-fat dairy products, beans, lean meats and fish, and whole-grain breads. Ask if you need to be on a special diet.
  • Drink more liquids. Liquids help your liver function properly. Ask your healthcare provider how much liquid to drink each day and which liquids are best for you.

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How Is Hepatitis C Diagnosed

Since it can be difficult to tell, based on symptoms, whether you have contracted hepatitis C, you can be tested for it. A simple blood test can confirm whether you have the condition.

After your doctor gets the results of your blood test, they may recommend that you undergo a biopsy of your liver to determine if you have liver damage from chronic hepatitis C.

You can book an appointment with a primary care doctor in your area using our Healthline FindCare tool.

What Is Viral Hepatitis

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Viral hepatitis is an inflammation of your liver that’s caused by a virus. There are five types, but the most common ones in the U.S. are hepatitis A, B, and C. All of them affect your liver. Some of the symptoms are similar, but they have different treatments.

Hepatitis A. This type won’t lead to long-term infection and usually doesn’t cause any complications. Your liver heals in about 2 months. You can prevent it with a vaccine.

Hepatitis B. Most people recover from this type in 6 months. Sometimes, though, it causes a long-term infection that could lead to liver damage. Once you’ve got the disease, you can spread the virus even if you don’t feel sick. You won’t catch it if you get a vaccine.

Hepatitis C. Many people with this type don’t have symptoms. About 80% of those with the disease get a long-term infection. It can sometimes lead to cirrhosis, a scarring of the liver. There’s no vaccine to prevent it.

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How Do Doctors Treat The Complications Of Hepatitis B

If chronic hepatitis B leads to cirrhosis, you should see a doctor who specializes in liver diseases. Doctors can treat the health problems related to cirrhosis with medicines, minor medical procedures, and surgery. If you have cirrhosis, you have an increased chance of liver cancer. Your doctor may order blood tests and an ultrasound or another type of imaging test to check for liver cancer.

If chronic hepatitis B leads to liver failure or liver cancer, you may need a liver transplant.

Can Hepatitis B Be Prevented

The hepatitis B vaccine is one of the best ways to control the disease. It is safe, effective and widely available. More than one billion doses of the vaccine have been administered globally since 1982. The World Health Organization says the vaccine is 98-100% effective in guarding against the virus. Newborns should be vaccinated.

The disease has also been more widely prevented thanks to:

  • Widespread global adoption of safe blood-handling practices. WHO says 97% of the blood donated around the world is now screened for HBV and other diseases.
  • Safer blood injection practices, using clean needles.
  • Safe-sex practices.

You can help prevent hepatitis B infections by:

  • Practicing safe sex .
  • Never sharing personal care items like toothbrushes or razors.
  • Getting tattoos or piercings only at shops that employ safe hygiene practices.
  • Not sharing needles to use drugs.
  • Asking your healthcare provider for blood tests to determine if you have HBV or if you are immune.

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What To Expect From Your Doctor

Hep B can be very complex and not every doctor has a good understanding of it. You can check our directoryfor a hep B specialist doctor or use our resources to help you and your doctor through hep B testing.

Your doctor might ask you about your family history of hep B or liver disease, where you were born, and any other possible exposures to hep B such as unprotected sex or injecting drug use.

You can tell your doctor as much or as little as you feel comfortable with. More information can help your doctor make the best decisions for your health, but what you share with them is up to you.

You might be able to access healthcare via your computer or phone.

How Is Hepatitis B Transmitted

The Truth about Hepatitis B

Hepatitis B is spread in several distinct ways: sexual contact sharing needles, syringes, or other drug-injection equipment or from mother-to-child at birth.

In the United States, in 2018, injection drug use was the most common risk factor reported among people with an acute HBV infection, followed by having multiple sex partners. Less commonly reported risk factors included accidental needle sticks, surgery, transfusions, and household contact with a person with HBV infection. In the United States, healthcare-related transmission of HBV is rare.

Mother-to-child transmission of HBV is especially concerning, because it is preventable. An estimated 25,000 infants are born to mothers diagnosed with HBV each year in the United States, and approximately 1,000 mothers transmit HBV to their infants. Without appropriate medical care and vaccinations, 90% of HBV-infected newborns will develop chronic infection, remaining infected throughout their lives. Up to 25% of people infected at birth will die prematurely of HBV-related causes. For this reason, the standard of care for pregnant women includes an HBV test during each pregnancy so that the appropriate steps can be taken to prevent HBV-positive mothers from transmitting the disease to her infant.

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What Is The Outlook For People With Hepatitis B

The outlook for people with HBV is better now than ever before. You are certainly able to live a full life and help yourself stay healthy. You should make sure to have regular check-ups with a healthcare provider who is qualified to treat hepatitis B, possibly a liver doctor.

Make sure you are vaccinated against hepatitis A. Check with your healthcare provider or pharmacist before taking other medications or over-the-counter products, including supplements and natural products. These could interfere with your medication or damage your liver. For instance, taking acetaminophen in large doses may harm your liver.

Follow the usual guidelines for living a healthy life:

  • Eat nutritious foods, choosing from a variety of vegetables, fruits and healthy proteins. It is said that cruciferous vegetables are especially good at protecting the liver.
  • Exercise regularly.
  • Dont smoke and dont drink. Both tobacco and alcohol are bad for your liver.
  • Do things that help you cope with stress, like journaling, talking with others, meditating and doing yoga.
  • Avoid inhaling toxic fumes.

Are There Home Remedies For Hepatitis B

The goals of self-care are to relieve symptoms and prevent worsening of the disease.

  • Drink plenty of fluids to prevent dehydration. Broth, sports drinks, gelatin, frozen ice treats , and fruit juices are preferred because they also provide calories.
  • Ask your physician before taking any medications, even those that are over-the-counter. Some medications depend on the liver, and liver damage may impair the body’s ability to metabolize these drugs. If you are on prescription medications, check with your physician to see if the doses should be adjusted or if the medication should be temporarily discontinued.
  • Avoid drinking alcohol until your healthcare practitioner allows it. Individuals with chronic HBV should avoid alcohol for the rest of their lives.
  • Try to eat a diet that provides adequate nutrition. Take it easy. It may take some time for your energy level to return to normal.
  • Avoid prolonged, vigorous exercise until symptoms start to improve.
  • Avoid any activity that may spread the infection to other people .

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If I Have No Symptoms How Would I Know If I Have Hepatitis B

To confirm whether or not you have hepatitis B, you will need blood tests.

If you have at least one risk factor , you should ask your health care provider to be tested for hepatitis B. Also, you should be tested for hepatitis B if:

  • you were born in a region where hepatitis B is more common, including Asia, Africa, southern and eastern Europe, the Pacific Islands, the Middle East, and the Arctic
  • one or both of your parents immigrated from a region where hepatitis B is more common
  • you live or travel to regions where hepatitis B is more common
  • you have a family history of liver disease or liver cancer
  • you have been in prison
  • you are pregnant
  • you have ever used injection drugs, even just once
  • you have unexplained abnormal liver enzymes or if
  • you receive medicines that suppress the immune system.

What About Pregnancy

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If you have hepatitis B, your baby has a very highchance of getting it. Pregnant women should bechecked for hepatitis B by a health care provider. Ifyou are at risk for hepatitis B, ask your provider aboutgetting vaccinated. The hepatitis B vaccine is safe forpregnant women and their baby. The vaccine can helpyour baby if:

  • It is given to the baby within 12 hours of birth.
  • The baby finishes the vaccine series. Note: babies should be tested after the last vaccine shot to make sure they are protected from the disease.

Don’t breastfeed until you have discussed it withyour health care provider. Avoid breastfeeding if yournipples are cracking or bleeding until the sores heal.Until they heal, you can pump your milk to keep upyour milk supply. Do not feed this milk to your baby.Throw it away.

Hepatitis B is a very serious disease for babies. 9 out of 10 babies infected develop chronic hepatitis B.

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What Can I Do

Prevent infection

The most effective way to prevent hepatitis B is to get the vaccine, especially for individuals with HIV.

To lower the chance of getting or passing on hepatitis B during sex:

  • use a condom during vaginal intercourse and anal intercourse
  • use condoms on sex toys and condoms or oral dams for oral sex

The chance of passing hepatitis B in other ways can be lowered by:

  • not sharing drug equipment, including syringes, needles, cookers, filters, water, swabs, pipes and straws
  • not sharing personal items that have come into contact with bodily fluids or blood, such as toothbrushes, dental floss, razors, nail clippers, glucometers, needles, bandages and feminine hygiene products

Get tested

The only way to know for sure whether or not you have hepatitis B is to get tested. A doctor or nurse can do the test. A simple blood test will reveal if you currently have hepatitis B, if you have had hepatitis B in the past or if you have already received the vaccine.

It is a good idea to get tested for other sexually transmitted infections , including HIV, when you get tested for hepatitis B. Talk to your healthcare provider about how often you should test for STIs.

If you are diagnosed with hepatitis B, a public health nurse will talk to you about informing your sex partners, as well as others who may have been in contact with your blood or bodily fluids , that they might have been exposed to hepatitis B and encouraging them to get tested. Your identity will not be revealed.

What Are The Signs And Symptoms Of Hepatitis B

You may have no signs or symptoms and may not know you have been infected. Symptoms of an HBV infection can take 1 to 6 months to develop. You may have any of the following:

  • Dark urine or pale bowel movements
  • Fatigue and weakness
  • Loss of appetite, nausea, and vomiting
  • Jaundice , itchy skin, or skin rash
  • Joint pain and body aches
  • Pain in the right upper side of your abdomen

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Diagnosis Of Hepatitis B

Blood tests are available to determine if you are or have been infected with hepatitis B. It may take 6 months from the time of infection before a blood test can detect antibodies to hepatitis B, so follow-up testing may be required. During this 6-month period, until you know whether you are infected or not, take action to prevent potential infection of other people.

There are also tests that can assess liver damage from hepatitis B. The interpretation of these tests can be complicated and specialist advice is needed, so talk to your doctor.

All pregnant women are tested for hepatitis B. If you are found to have chronic hepatitis B, your doctor can help reduce the risk of transferring the infection to your newborn child.

Who Are Hepatitis B Carriers

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Hepatitis B carriers are people who have the hepatitis B virus in their blood, even though they dont feel sick. Between 6% and 10% of those people whove been infected with the virus will become carriers and can infect others without knowing it. There are over 250 million people in the world who are carriers of HBV, with about 10% to 15% of the total located in India. Children are at the highest risk of becoming carriers. About 9 in 10 babies infected at birth become HBV carriers, and about half of children who are infected between birth and age 5 carry the virus. A blood test can tell you if you are a hepatitis B carrier.

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What Is The Medical Treatment For Hepatitis B

Acute hepatitis B infection

Acute hepatitis B infection is not treated with antiviral medications.

  • If the infected person is dehydrated from vomiting or diarrhea, a doctor may prescribe IV fluids to help them feel better. Medications may also be used to control these symptoms.
  • People with mild symptoms can be cared for at home.

Chronic hepatitis B infection

The degree of liver damage is related to the amount of active, replicating virus in the blood and liver. Regularly measuring the amount of HBV DNA in the blood gives your physician a good idea of how fast the virus is multiplying. The treatments now in use are classified as antiviral drugs because they work by stopping the virus from multiplying.

Treatment is usually started when blood tests indicate that liver functions are deteriorating and the amount of replicating HBV is rising. Many people never reach this point. For those who do, the interval between diagnosis and starting treatment is quite variable.

How Can I Pay For My Medication

Private health insurance or drug plansIf you have private health insurance or a drug plan at work, you may be able to have the medication paid through your plan. Please consult your private health insurance or drug plan provider to see if your drug is covered.

Publicly funded drug plansEach province and territory has their own rules. Some provincial drug plans provide coverage for individuals 65 and older, or those on social assistance. Some provinces provide special support to low-income individuals. Please call your Provincial Ministry or Department of Health to get more information about the terms of the publicly funded drug plan in your province.

Quebec public drug programIn Quebec, everyone must be covered by prescription drug insurance either through private or publicly funded plans.

Each provincial and territorial government offers a drug benefit plan for eligible groups. Some are income-based universal programs. Most have specific programs for population groups that may require more enhanced coverage for high drug costs. These groups include seniors, recipients of social assistance, and individuals with diseases or conditions that are associated with high drug costs. For more details, please contact your provincial or territorial health care ministry, or click on the appropriate link below.

Yukon

Available Patient Assistance Program for Hepatitis B treatment VEMLIDY

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