325m peo­ple liv­ing with Chronic Hep­ati­tis

Daily Trust - - HEALTH -

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?

Catherine N.

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.

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