Monday, April 22, 2024

What Doctor To See For Hepatitis B

How Do Doctors Treat Hepatitis B

Understanding Hepatitis B Serology Results

Doctors typically dont treat hepatitis B unless it becomes chronic. Doctors may treat chronic hepatitis B with antiviral medicines that attack the virus.

Not everyone with chronic hepatitis B needs treatment. If blood tests show that hepatitis B could be damaging a persons liver, a doctor may prescribe antiviral medicines to lower the chances of liver damage and complications.

Medicines that you take by mouth include

A medicine that doctors can give as a shot is peginterferon alfa-2a .

The length of treatment varies. Hepatitis B medicines may cause side effects. Talk with your doctor about the side effects of treatment. Tell your doctor before taking any other prescription or over-the-counter medicines.

For safety reasons, you also should talk with your doctor before using dietary supplements, such as vitamins, or any complementary or alternative medicines or medical practices.

What Should You Know About Hepatitis B Before You Travel

Hepatitis B is quite common in China and other Asian countries, where as many as 1 in 12 people have the virus, though many dont know it. Before traveling to those places, you should make sure youve been vaccinated against the virus.

In addition to getting the vaccine, you can take these additional precautions to reduce your risk of contracting the virus:

  • Refrain from taking illegal drugs.
  • Always use latex or polyurethane condoms during sex.
  • Make sure new, sterile needles are used during all piercings, tattoos and acupuncture sessions.
  • Avoid direct contact with blood and bodily fluids.
  • Know the HBV status of all your sexual partners.
  • Ask your doctor about possible vaccination before you travel to a place where hepatitis B is common.

A note from Cleveland Clinic

Hepatitis B is a liver disease that can cause serious damage to your health. One reason that is dangerous is that it can easily go undetected for years while damaging your liver. Talk with your healthcare provider about being tested for hepatitis B if you have any reason to believe that you were not vaccinated or if you have engaged in risky behavior. If you do test positive, follow the directions from your healthcare provider so that you can live a longer, healthier and happier life.

Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 07/09/2020.


What Happens With Hepatitis B

A majority of adults who contract hepatitis B have between mild symptoms and no symptoms at all, and then the virus resolves spontaneously however, about 5% of people are not able to eliminate the hepatitis B virus and develop chronic infection. If a chronically infected mother gives birth, 90% of the time her infant will be infected and develop chronic hepatitis B, usually for life. This may give rise to serious complications of liver disease later in life such as liver damage, liver failure, and liver cancer.

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What Do The Results Mean

A hepatitis B blood panel consists of three tests that can be done with just one blood sample:

  • Hepatitis B surface antigen . A positive test indicates that youre infected with hepatitis B and that you can spread it to other people. Further tests are needed to see if you have an acute or chronic infection.
  • Hepatitis B core antibody . A positive result can indicate a past or current hepatitis B infection, but doesnt mean youre immune. A positive result needs to be interpreted by a doctor by examining the results of the other two tests.
  • Hepatitis B surface antibody . A positive test indicates that youre protected from hepatitis B either through previous infection or vaccination .

The combination of these tests can indicate your hepatitis B status and whether you need to be vaccinated. Your test will give a negative or positive result for each category depending on whether your results are above or below the cutoff value.

Most peoples test results fall into the following categories. But its possible to have a result that doesnt fall into one of these groups. If youre reading your results yourself, be careful not to confuse HBsAb with HBcAb.


is associated with hepatitis B immunity after vaccination. But research has found that anti-HBs decline over time.

A found that more than 95 percent of people had anti-HBs levels greater than 10IU/L two years after vaccination. But this rate decreased to 70 percent after eight years.

Whats The Procedure For A Hepatitis B Titer Test

Hepatitis B Archives

A hepatitis titer test requires a healthcare professional to draw a small amount of blood for testing.

No special preparation is needed beforehand. If needles or the sight of blood make you anxious, you may want to arrange a drive ahead of time in case you feel faint.

Heres what will typically happen during this test:

  • The person administering the test ties a band around your arm to make your veins easier to find.
  • The person sterilizes the injection site and inserts a small needle into your vein. You may feel a sharp pain, but it should quickly pass.
  • After the needle is removed, the test administrator asks you to apply a gentle pressure with a gauze or a cotton ball.
  • A bandage is applied to the area, and youre free to leave.
  • Home tests that require a fingerpick are also available. The results of your tests are generally available within 3 days.

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    Statement On The Surgeon And Hepatitis

    The following statement regarding the surgeon and hepatitis was originally published in the May 1995 issue of the Bulletin as the “Statement on the Surgeon and Hepatitis B Infection.” A revised statement with updated information and recommendations on hepatitis B and also inclusion of information and recommendations on hepatitis C was approved by the Board of Governors at its meeting in October 1998 and subsequently approved by the Board of Regents at its February 1999 meeting. The Board of Governors and the Board of Regents approved the most recent revisions in October 2003.

    Patients and health care workers have great concerns about potential transmission of blood-borne pathogens, either from health care worker to patient, or from patient to health care worker. Much of this concern has been prompted by the epidemic of human immunodeficiency virus . Experience indicates that the actual risk of HIV transmission in health care settings is extremely small. The concern over HIV also focused attention on transmission of other blood-borne pathogens. As a result, there is increased awareness of the consequences to surgeons, other health care workers, and patients from the hepatitis viruses , which are transmitted by blood contact.

    Eating Diet And Nutrition For Hepatitis B

    If you have hepatitis B, you should eat a balanced, healthy diet. Obesity can increase the chance of nonalcoholic fatty liver disease , and NAFLD can increase liver damage in people who have hepatitis B. Talk with your doctor about healthy eating and maintaining a healthy weight.

    You should also avoid alcohol because it can cause more liver damage.

    Read Also: Where Can I Get Hepatitis A Vaccine For Free

    Surveillance To Detect Liver Cancer Early

    The most common causes of primary liver cancer are chronic infection with the hepatitis B and C viruses, excessive alcohol consumption, and fatty liver disease. NewYork-Presbyterian has a strong surveillance program for people at risk of liver cancer, particularly those with chronic hepatitis B or hepatitis C, with the hope of detecting the disease in its early, more curable stages.

    Treatment For Hepatitis A B And C

    All you need to know about Hepatitis B | FAQs | Apollo Hospitals

    For those diagnosed with hepatitis B or C, our experts work together to create and coordinate personalized care plans to suppress the virus and, when possible, provide a cure. Our doctors can recommend new antiviral medical therapies that have the potential to treat hepatitis B and C effectively, without the side effects of prior treatments. Treatment is also available for hepatitis A, although this condition often resolves on its own without therapy.

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    How Is Hepatitis B Treated

    Your healthcare provider will treat you based on what type of hepatitis B you have, acute or chronic.

    Acute hepatitis B infections

    If you develop an acute form of the condition, you probably wont need medical treatment. Instead, your doctor will likely suggest that you get plenty of rest, drink lots of fluids and maintain a healthy diet to support your body as it fights off the infection.

    Chronic hepatitis B infections

    If you have chronic hepatitis B, you might be a candidate for drug therapy. Usually, drug therapy is used only if you have active liver disease. There are seven drugs that are approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to treat hepatitis B. Two are injectable forms of interferon, while the five other antivirals are tablets.

    You will need to take these medications every day. They help by slowing the viruss ability to multiply in your system. This helps reduce swelling and liver damage. Youll need to be regularly monitored for early signs of liver damage and liver cancer. Your healthcare provider will want to see you once or twice a year.

    What Is Hepatitis B

    Hepatitis B is a liver infection caused by the hepatitis B virus . HBV infection causes inflammation of the liver. When the liver is inflamed or damaged, its function can be affected.

    • The best way to prevent HBV infection is by getting vaccinated. Safe and effective vaccines are available and covered as a preventive service by most health plans.
    • For some people, HBV infection is an acute, or short-term, illness for others, it can become a long-term, chronic infection. Risk for chronic infection is related to age at infection: approximately 90% of infected infants become chronically infected, compared with 2-6% of adults.
    • Chronic hepatitis B can lead to cirrhosis, liver cancer, liver failure, and premature death.
    • Hepatitis B is diagnosed with a simple blood test that can detect HBV infection years before symptoms develop and the virus has caused liver damage.
    • There is no cure for hepatitis B, but there are several FDA-approved medications that treat HBV infection. People with chronic hepatitis B should be monitored regularly for signs of liver disease and evaluated for possible treatment.

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    How Do Doctors Test For Hepatitis C

    Doctors check for hepatitis C through a blood test called an HCV antibody test.

    When a person contracts HCV, their immune system releases HCV antibodies into the bloodstream. The HCV antibody test looks for the presence of these proteins.

    A negative, or nonreactive, result shows that the person does not currently have an HCV infection. A positive, or reactive, result indicates that the person contracted HCV at some point.

    It is important to note that a positive antibody test does not necessarily mean that the individual currently has hepatitis C. Once someone has had hepatitis C, they will always have hepatitis C antibodies.

    For this reason, if a blood test returns a positive HCV result, the doctor will order another blood test to check for an active infection. This test, called the nucleic acid test , detects HCV genetic material called RNA, which will be present if the person has an active HCV infection.

    A negative NAT result means that the person previously had an HCV infection but that the virus is no longer in their body. If the result is positive, the person currently has the virus in their body, and it can transmit to other people.

    A person will need to receive treatment for an acute HCV infection. However, this may not be possible if they are pregnant. Experts recommend against taking HCV drugs during pregnancy, as they may damage the developing baby.

    Anyone with chronic hepatitis C should visit a doctor regularly to monitor their liver health.

    Learn More About Hepatitis B

    World Immunization Day! Hepatitis B Vaccine

    While some individuals affected by Hepatitis B experience only mild symptoms, its important to schedule an appointment with your nearest ID Care location if you suspect youve been infected. To learn more about Hepatitis B and other infectious diseases, contact us online today. Our highly trained specialists offer the diagnostic tools and advanced treatments needed to restore good health and eliminate symptoms to get you back on your feet in no time.

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    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.

    Learn If A Specialist Is Covered By Your Insurance

    If you have health insurance, its important to learn which specialists and services are covered by your plan. In most cases, its less expensive to visit a specialist whos in your network of coverage. If you visit an out-of-network specialist, you may have to pay more.

    To learn if a specialist is covered by your insurance plan, contact your insurance provider. They can help you learn how much youll have to pay out of pocket to visit the specialist. They can also share the names of other specialists who are in your network.

    Its also a good idea to contact the specialists office to ask if they accept your insurance. It never hurts to double-check.

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    Hepatitis B Diagnosis And Treatment

    Because Hepatitis B targets the liver, ID Care specialists will check for signs of liver damage, including jaundice and belly pain. Blood work can determine the presence of acute or chronic HBV, while ultrasounds and liver biopsies reveal any liver damage.

    If youve been diagnosed with acute HBV, you may not require treatment beyond fluids, rest, and small meals that reduce feelings of nausea. Individuals with chronic Hepatitis B, however, require treatment for life. Your ID Care physician may recommend antiviral medications that slow liver damage or, in the most severe cases, a liver transplant at one of our affiliated hospitals. No matter your condition, well offer the resources and expertise needed to help you stay comfortable during treatment and minimize the effects of the virus.

    Hepatitis B: What You Need To Know

    Viral hepatitis (A, B, C, D, E) – causes, symptoms, diagnosis, treatment & pathology
    • Chronic hepatitis B virus is the ninth leading cause of death.
    • Patients with hepatitis B need to be monitored regularly, because there is a higher risk for other health complications.
    • There is no cure for chronic hepatitis B patients take medications to suppress the virus and prevent complications.
    • There are a number of ways to prevent hepatitis B, including following the standard immunization schedule.

    Worldwide, there are approximately 300 million carriers of hepatitis B. Hepatitis B is transmitted by direct exposure to infected blood or bodily fluids. Infants may also develop the disease if their mother has the virus. Patients with chronic hepatitis B infection are at high risk for serious health complications, including hepatocellular carcinoma or cirrhosis .

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    What Causes Hepatitis B

    • being born to a mother with hepatitis B
    • having unprotected sex with an infected person
    • sharing drug needles or other drug materials with an infected person
    • getting an accidental stick with a needle that was used on an infected person
    • being tattooed or pierced with tools that were used on an infected person and werent properly sterilized, or cleaned in a way that destroys all viruses and other microbes
    • having contact with the blood or open sores of an infected person
    • using an infected persons razor, toothbrush, or nail clippers

    You cant get hepatitis B from

    • being coughed on or sneezed on by an infected person
    • drinking unclean water or untreated water that has not been boiled
    • eating food that is unclean or has not been properly cooked
    • hugging an infected person
    • shaking hands or holding hands with an infected person
    • sharing spoons, forks, and other eating utensils
    • sitting next to an infected person

    Mothers who have hepatitis B can safely breastfeed their babies. If a baby receives hepatitis B immune globulin and starts receiving the hepatitis B vaccine to prevent hepatitis B infection shortly after birth, hepatitis B is unlikely to spread from mother to child through breastfeeding.15

    Recommended Reading: How Do People Get Hepatitis

    What Are The Risk Factors For Getting Hepatitis B

    Due to the way that hepatitis B spreads, people most at risk for getting infected include:

    • Children whose mothers have been infected with hepatitis B.
    • Children who have been adopted from countries with high rates of hepatitis B infection.
    • People who have unprotected sex and/or have been diagnosed with a sexually transmitted infection.
    • People who live with or work in an institutional setting, such as prisons or group homes.
    • Healthcare providers and first responders.
    • People who share needles or syringes.
    • People who live in close quarters with a person with chronic hepatitis B infection.
    • People who are on dialysis.

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    Should I Be Screened For Hepatitis B

    Screening is testing for a disease in people who have no symptoms. Doctors use blood tests to screen for hepatitis B. Many people who have hepatitis B dont have symptoms and dont know they are infected with hepatitis B. Screening tests can help doctors diagnose and treat hepatitis B, which can lower your chances of developing serious health problems.

    Your doctor may recommend screening for hepatitis B if you9,14

    • were born in an area of the world where 2 percent or more of the population has hepatitis B infection, which includes Africa, Asia, and parts of the Middle East, Eastern Europe, and South America
    • didnt receive the hepatitis B vaccine as an infant and have parents who were born in an area where 8 percent or more of the population had hepatitis B infection, which includes sub-Saharan Africa and parts of Asia
    • are HIV-positive
    • are a man who has sex with men
    • have lived with or had sex with a person who has hepatitis B
    • have an increased chance of infection due to other factors

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