Hepatitis B is a severe health challenge in India, but the vast majority of the population does have a very low consciousness of disease. Hepatitis B is a liver-attacking viral infection that can trigger both acute and chronic diseases. According to a 2017 study published in the Journal of Clinical and Translational Hepatology, India has a disease burden of about 50 million, with a prevalence rate of 2-7%.
We consulted with one of the renowned Gastroenterologist, who demonstrates the frequent causes, symptoms, types, risk factors, therapy and hepatitis B prevention. Hence, in this article, we will cover all the possible topics for mass consciousness.
Hepatitis A, B, C, D, and E are included in viral liver diseases categorized as hepatitis. For each type of virally transmitted hepatitis, a distinct virus is individually responsible. Hepatitis A has always been an acute, short-term condition, whereas hepatitis B, C, and D are most prone to continue and thus become chronic.
What Are The Causes Of Hepatitis B And The Risk Factors?
The outbreak of hepatitis B is triggered by a virus of hepatitis B (HBV) which can spread through direct contact or blood. It can also spread from mother to baby during pregnancy (fetal transmission). Some of the modes of transmission of the virus include:
- Allowing broken skin come into touch with a person infected with the virus’ tears, saliva or blood.
- Sharing the toothbrushes with a virus infected person.
- Exchanging food or beverages with a virus-infected person.
- Drinking contaminated water (fecal contamination of drinking water).
- Having unprotected sex with a person infected with HBV.
- Eating under-cooked or contaminated food such as meat or meat products.
- Getting a transfusion of blood from a person infected with hepatitis B.
- Using infected needles while injecting drugs or tattoos.
The occurrence of HBV in elevated-risk groups including patients too is higher:
- With chronic kidney disease.
- With thalassemia, hemophilia or leukemia.
- On dialysis.
- Receiving immunosuppressants.
- On cancer chemotherapy.
What Are The Symptoms Of Hepatitis B?
In the primary course of the disease, hepatitis B may not demonstrate any symptoms. This is really the reason why a doctor might not be consulted by individuals with acute hepatitis B. Some of the usual hepatitis B symptoms, however, include:
- Sore muscles and joints
- Dark-colored urine
- Loss of appetite
- Abdominal discomfort
- Yellowing of the skin (jaundice) and eyes.
If you have any of these symptoms, check with your doctor quickly to prevent any complications of health caused by Hep B.
Are You At Risk Of Chronic Hepatitis?
The age by which the Hep B virus infects a person also plays an important part in the outcome of magnitude and treatments. The risk of chronicity is reported to be considerably higher among young patients.
For instance, the probability of chronic HBV infection in neonates are far more than 90 percent and in children 2-5 years of age about 30 percent. Moreover, in people who are healthy, the acute nature of the condition is less than 5% and about 20-30% of those suffering from the infection might well develop liver cirrhosis or cancer.
How To Prevent Hepatitis B?
Simple sanitation and hygiene programs can assist you to significantly reduce your chances of Hep B. These typically involve:
- Always drink boiled water and prevent using public or unknown sources of water to drink water.
- Keeping your toilets clean for safe and proper disposal of feces.
- Making sure you wash your hands with clean water before and after visiting a washroom.
- Ensuring to wash your hands with soap and water before and after eating food.
- Avoiding the consumption of water and/or ice from contaminated sources.
- Ensure proper follow-up to the guidelines for a blood transfusion, injection, and immunization.
- Practicing safe sex and promoting the use of condoms correctly and consistently.
- Going to receive vaccinated according to medical advice for Hep B (both children, adults and people at high risk.)
Who Should Undergo Hepatitis B Vaccination?
Kids and adolescents who are younger than 18 years old and those who are not being vaccinated previously should get vaccinated. People belonging to high-risk groups must also be vaccinated. This constitutes:
- People who consistently require a blood transfusion such as thalassemia patients.
- Patients on dialysis or recipients of organ transplantation.
- Persons who like to use medicines by sharing needles and syringes.
- People with various partners in sex.
- Workers in healthcare services who’ve been exposed to blood and blood borne pathogens.
- People traveling to hepatitis B endemic areas.