Hepatitis B Signs & Symptoms

Hepatitis B is a disease of the liver caused by the hepatitis B virus (HBV), excessive alcoholism or overdose of toxins.  The illness is infectious, transmitted sexually and through blood as well as from a pregnant mother to her fetus.  Holding hands, sharing a straw or fork, breastfeeding, sneezing and kissing do not spread the HBV.  There are two forms of hep B, acute and chronic infection.  Hepatitis B is a disease that has infected over 30% of the world’s current population.

Most acute hepatitis B patients do not experience any symptoms of their illness.  Patients may only experience signs of their disease months after becoming infected and once it has progressed and caused irreversible liver damage.  Symptoms of acute hep B include the following:

  • Jaundice
  • Malaise
  • Aches
  • Fatigue
  • Mild fever
  • Dark urine
  • Light stool
  • Itching skin
  • Rash on the skin
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Loss of appetite
  • Abdominal pain
  • Pain under the right ribcage

Patients with chronic hep B cannot eliminate the HBV unless successfully cured.  These patients experience severe liver damage.  Many chronic hepatitis B patients undergo liver transplantation to replace a piece or all of their ailing liver with a healthy one from a donor.  Symptoms of Hep B include the following:

  • Liver inflammation
  • Vomiting
  • Jaundice
  • Liver cirrhosis
  • Liver cancer
  • Death

Since HBV is a DNA virus, signs of the virus are imprinted onto the DNA once infected, and they are present and can be seen microscopically in saliva, urine and other bodily fluids.  The viruses present in the DNA replicate in the liver and spread to the bloodstream.  Therefore, infected people have viral proteins and specific disease antibodies present in their blood.

Jaundice is a well-known symptom of hepatitis B.  Jaundice is the yellowing of the skin and the whites of the eyes.  It may also present as the darkening of urine color.  Jaundice is a sign that the liver is failing and diseased.

HBV can be avoided altogether by obtaining the hep B vaccination from your health care provider.  If you have hepatitis B, speak with your doctor and design a treatment plan for this infection that is best suited to you and your lifestyle.  Refrain from alcohol consumption, eat healthily, exercise regularly and see your doctor for regular check ups.

 

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