325m people living with Chronic Hepatitis
I read in a recent World Health Organization Report that 325m people are currently living with Chronic Hepatitis B and C worldwide. This is an alarming figure and worrisome. Please provide information about Hepatitis B, which seems to be the commonest?
Hepatitis is a general term which refers to the inflammation of the liver. The liver can become inflamed as a result of infection, a disorder of the immune system or exposure to alcohol, certain medications, toxins, or poisons.
Hepatitis B is caused by infection with the hepatitis B virus (HBV). This infection has two phases: acute and chronic. Acute (new, shortterm) hepatitis B occurs shortly after exposure to the virus. A small number of people develop a very severe, lifethreatening form of acute hepatitis called fulminant hepatitis.
Chronic (ongoing, hepatitis B is an infection with hepatitis B virus (HBV) that lasts longer than six months. People with chronic HBV infection are called chronic carriers. About two-thirds of these people do not themselves get sick or die of the virus, but they can transmit it to other people.
The liver is an essential organ that the body needs to stay alive. It’s most important functions are filtering many drugs and toxins out of the blood, storing energy for later use, helping with the absorption of certain nutrients from food, and producing substances that fight infections and control bleeding.
Causes of Hepatitis B People who are at risk:
1. The hepatitis B virus is known as a blood-borne virus because it is transmitted from one person to another via blood.
2. Semen which contains small amounts of blood, also carry the virus.
3. The virus can be transmitted whenever any of these bodily fluids come in contact with the broken skin or a mucous membrane (in the mouth, genital organs, or rectum) of an uninfected person.
1. Men or women who have multiple sex partners, especially if they don’t use a condom. 2. Men who have sex with men. 3. Men or women who have sex with a person infected with HBV.
4. People with other transmitted diseases.
5. People who inject drugs with shared needles.
6. People who receive transfusions of blood or blood products.
7. People who undergo dialysis for sexually kidney disease.
8. Health care workers who are stuck with needles or other sharp instruments contaminated with infected blood.
9. Infants born to infected mothers.
One will not get hepatitis B from the following activities:
-Being sneezed or coughed on. -Hugging. -Handshaking. -Breastfeeding -Eating food or drinking water. -Casual contact (such as an office or social setting)
-Eating meat be it red or white (this statement responds to your concerns)
Hepatitis B Symptoms
Half of all people infected with the hepatitis B virus have no symptoms.
Symptoms develop within 30-180 days of exposure to the virus. The symptoms are often compared to flu. Most people think they have flu and never think about having HBV infection. -Appetite loss -Feeling tired -Nausea and vomiting -Itching all over the body -Pain over the liver (on the right side of the abdomen, under the lower rib cage)
-Jaundice - A condition in which the skin and the whites of the eyes turn yellow in color
-Urine becomes dark in color (like cola or tea).
-Stools are pale in color (grayish or clay colored).
Hepatitis B Treatment
Acute hepatitis B usually goes away by itself and does not require medical treatment. If very severe, symptoms such as vomiting or diarrhea may require treatment to restore fluids and electrolytes.
If one has chronic hepatitis B, should see his/her health care provider regularly.