Hepatitis B is a viral infection that affects the liver. This can be acute, which means it lasts for a short time, or chronic, which can last for a lifetime. Chronic hepatitis B can lead to serious medical conditions, including liver failure, cirrhosis, and liver cancer.
There are several different types of hepatitis B virus, and each type is classified according to how well it responds to treatment. There is no cure for hepatitis B, but it can be managed with medication and lifestyle changes. The symptoms of hepatitis B can vary from person to person. In some cases, there may be no symptoms at all. When symptoms do occur, they usually appear two to six weeks after exposure to the virus. Symptoms may include itchy skin, abdominal pain, appetite loss, dark urine, nausea, vomiting, and fatigue.
Hepatitis B is diagnosed with a blood test that looks for antibodies to the virus. Antibodies are proteins produced by the immune system to fight against an infection. The presence of antibodies indicates that you have been infected with the virus. A diagnosis of hepatitis B can also be made for individuals who have evidence of liver damage on a liver biopsy.
Your blood plays a vital role in your health. The blood in the body is responsible for carrying nutrients and oxygen to the cells, removing waste from the body, and fighting off infection. So, it’s no surprise that blood is also a key player in developing hepatitis B.
Once someone is infected with the hepatitis B virus, it can stay in their body for life. However, not everyone who becomes infected will develop chronic hepatitis B. Most people who contract the virus as adults will clear it from their bodies within a few months without any treatment. It’s important to note that you can’t get hepatitis B from casual contact like hugging, shaking hands, sharing food or utensils, or mosquito bites.
That’s why it’s so important for people to get tested for the virus if exposed to it. Those with an active hepatitis B infection must know that treatments are available to control it and reduce their risk of developing more serious health complications.