An estimated 29.4% of African Americans suffer from hepatitis B, while its prevalence rate is around 2.7% among Hispanics. It’s a chronic condition that leads to liver failure or liver cancer without proper treatment.
Hepatitis B spreads due to HBV virus. You may catch this virus in the following ways:
• Unprotected sex with a person who is infected with HBV
• Pregnant women suffering from hepatitis B can pass this virus to their babies during childbirth
• Accidental contact with infected human blood. For instance, using a needle that was earlier used by an infected person
• Sharing IV drug paraphernalia with an infected person
• Sharing razor blades with others
• Direct contact with semen, blood, vaginal fluids or urine of an infected person
Over the years, the ratio of people suffering from hepatitis B has significantly dropped. Only 5% to 10% of people develop a chronic infection, whereas a majority of patients are able to recover through treatment.
If you notice the following symptoms, it’s time you should visit your doctor for the possible diagnosis of HBV:
• High fever
• Jaundice (yellow tint to the skin or eyes)
• Mild to severe abdominal pain
• Fatigue and Joint Pain
How You Can Manage Hepatitis B
Aside from looking for the common symptoms, your doctor will also perform laboratory tests to accurately diagnose the health problem. Blood tests, liver biopsy, and liver ultrasound help in the diagnosis of this chronic condition.
There’s no denying that you can’t always cure hepatitis B, but the good news is that you can prevent it in the first place. Get the hepatitis B vaccine and opt for safe sex. Also, refrain from sharing toothbrushes, razor blades or needles with anyone.
If you’ve been exposed to HBV virus, visiting your doctor within 2 weeks is crucial for your safety. A hepatitis B vaccine and a shot of immune globulin can prevent the development of chronic infection. It contains proteins that help you fight off the infection and improve your immune system. Taking ample rest during the sickness can also speed up the recovery process.
Hepatitis B patients usually recover from the infection within a few weeks. If it stays active for more than 6 months, you can take the following medicines at your doctor’s prescription:
• Tenofovir – This medicine can treat infection, but it may tamper with your kidney health
• Interferon Alfa – Taking this medicine for more than 6 months builds resistance against the virus and cures liver inflammation
• Entecavir – This is the latest drug for hepatitis B and can be taken as a tablet or syrup
• Lamivudine – This is an effective tablet for managing hepatitis B, but works best for short-term treatment plans
• Adefovir Dipivoxil – It’s another effective medicine for the infection
Hepatitis B is a chronic liver infection. There’s no known cure for this condition, but you can manage it with the help of medications and a healthy diet.
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