Hepatitis B – causes, side effects and treatments at NaturalPedia.com

Friday, April 20, 2018 by

Hepatitis B refers to a viral infection that damages the liver. The condition causes inflammation, where the tissues of the liver swell and cause injury and further infection. Infection from the hepatitis B virus can either be acute or chronic.

  • Acute hepatitis B is a short-term infection. This may last anywhere from a few weeks to half a year. In some cases, the body is able to fight off the infection without the need for further treatment.
  • Chronic hepatitis B, on the other hand, happens when the body is unable to fight the infection. People who have contracted the virus when before the age of five are prone to develop chronic infections.

In the U.S., researchers estimate that around 850,000 to 2.2 million people have chronic hepatitis B. Elsewhere, the disease is common in other parts of the world, including sub-Saharan Africa, parts of Asia, and the Pacific Islands.

Known risk factors and symptoms of hepatitis B

In most cases, hepatitis B is asymptomatic: At least half of those that were infected did not show any symptoms, and they may never realize that they have been infected. However, when there are symptoms, it may appear within one to four months after exposure.

Initially, symptoms appear similar to the flu, and common signs of the condition include the following.

  • Loss of appetite
  • Feeling tired
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Itching all over the body
  • Pain over where the liver is located (on the right side of the abdomen, under the lower rib cage)
  • Jaundice (the skin and the whites of the eyes turn yellow in color)
  • Dark urine (resembling the color of cola or tea)
  • Pale-colored stools (grayish or clay colored)

It should be noted that other forms of acute viral hepatitis like hepatitis A and hepatitis C have identical symptoms.

Body systems affected by hepatitis B

In some cases, hepatitis B could lead to severe complications in the liver. These include the following.

  • Cirrhosis, or scarring of the liver, happens in one out of five people with chronic hepatitis B. Usually, this occurs years after the person had their first infection.
  • Liver cancer is another possibility that increases when a person has hepatitis B that resulted in cirrhosis.
  • Fulminant hepatitis B is a rare condition where the immune system turns on the liver and causes extreme damage. If left untreated, the condition could cause the liver to stop working altogether and result in death.

Food items or nutrients that may prevent or relieve hepatitis B

The first step in keeping hepatitis B and other viruses at bay is to support a healthy liver. If a person has hepatitis B, he should monitor his protein intake, as excess protein can lead to hepatic encephalopathy, a condition marked by mental confusion. Caloric intake should be regulated as well to prevent liver malfunction and excess fat deposits.

Treatment and management options for hepatitis B

In most cases, the body manages hepatitis B on its own without the need for medical intervention. In cases of chronic hepatitis, however, healthcare professionals may use antiviral medicine to treat the condition. Depending on the condition, they may prescribe more to minimize liver damage and manage complications.

Where to learn more

Summary

Hepatitis B is a viral infection that damages the liver, where the condition causes inflammation. Infection from the hepatitis B virus can either be acute or chronic.

In most cases, hepatitis B is asymptomatic: At least half of those that were infected did not show any symptoms, and they may never realize that they have been infected. However, when there are symptoms, it may appear within one to four months after exposure. There are cases where hepatitis B could lead to severe complications in the liver.

The body manages hepatitis B on its own without the need for medical intervention. In cases of chronic hepatitis, however, healthcare professionals may use antiviral medicine to treat the condition.

Sources include:

NIDDK.NIH.gov

eMedicineHealth.com

NHS.uk

LiveStrong.com



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