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Hepatitis B

Hepatitis B: Introduction

Hepatitis B is a form of hepatitis, a group of serious diseases that cause inflammation of the liver. Hepatitis B is an infectious form of hepatitis that is caused by the hepatitis B virus. Hepatitis B is one of the most common forms of hepatitis.

The liver is a vital organ, and normal functioning of the liver is crucial to health and life. Hepatitis B can result in complications of the liver, such as cirrhosis of the liver and liver failure. This reduces liver's ability to do its vital job in helping the body to fight infection, stop bleeding, clear the blood of toxins, store energy, produce healthy blood, digest food, and remove waste. Having hepatitis B also increases the risk of developing liver cancer.

The hepatitis B virus is spread by having contact with the blood, semen, and vaginal secretions of a person infected with the hepatitis B virus. High risk activities include having unprotected sexual activity, having multiple sexual partners, sharing contaminated needles, or getting a tattoo or body piercing using unsterilized needles. A baby born vaginally to an infected woman can also contract an infection of hepatitis B. Any person who comes into frequent contact with blood, such as healthcare workers, are also at risk for hepatitis B.

In some people with early hepatitis B infection, there may be no symptoms. General symptoms common to hepatitis B include flu-like symptoms, fever, fatigue, muscle aches and jaundice, a yellowing of the skin and whites of the eyes. Complications can be serious, even life-threatening, and include the development of cirrhosis and liver failure. For more information about additional symptoms and complications, refer to symptoms of hepatitis B.

Making a diagnosis of hepatitis B includes performing a complete medical evaluation and history and physical examination. This includes questions about risk factors for contracting hepatitis B, such as having unprotected sex, sharing needles, or having tattoos or body piercings that were made with unsterilized needles.

Diagnostic blood tests include tests that can check for the antibodies that the body makes to fight hepatitis B and the hepatitis B surface antigen test. Blood tests can also be done that help to determine how likely it is that a person is infectious and will spread hepatitis B.

Liver function tests are blood tests that can help to determine the level of severity of hepatitis B by checking level of functioning of the liver and if there is any damage to the liver. Imaging tests that create a picture of the liver include an ultrasound, CT, and/or a nuclear liver scan.

It is possible that a diagnosis of hepatitis B can be missed or delayed because symptoms can be vague or there may be no symptoms in some people. In addition, symptoms of hepatitis B can be similar to symptoms of other diseases and conditions. For more information about diseases and conditions that can mimic hepatitis B, refer to misdiagnosis of hepatitis B.

There is no cure for Hepatitis B. Treatment includes rest, ensuring good nutrition, and antiviral medications in some cases. For serious cases I which liver damage or liver failure has occurred, hospitalization may be necessary. Treatment in the hospital may include medications and other diagnostic testing and liver transplant. For more information on treatment, refer to treatment of hepatitis B. ...more »

Hepatitis B: Viral liver infection spread by sex or body fluids. More detailed information about the symptoms, causes, and treatments of Hepatitis B is available below.

Hepatitis B: Symptoms

In many cases there are no symptoms in the early stages of hepatitis B infection. Many children and some adults do not develop any symptoms until complications, such as cirrhosis develop.

Symptoms of hepatitis B can include flu-like symptoms, fever, headache, nausea, muscle aches and weakness. Jaundice, a yellowing of the skin and whites of the eyes, also ...more symptoms »

Hepatitis B: Treatments

The most effective treatment plan for hepatitis B uses a multifaceted approach. Treatment plans are individualized to best fit the patient's age, medical history, and type and stage of the disease. The goal of treatment is to stop or lessen damage to the liver and minimize and quickly treat any complications, such as such as cirrhosis of the liver.

Most adults recover from hepatitis B, ...more treatments »

Hepatitis B: Misdiagnosis

A diagnosis of hepatitis B may be overlooked or delayed because there may be no symptoms, especially in children. In addition, symptoms, such as flu-like symptoms, fever, poor appetite, fatigue, and weakness, may be similar to symptoms of other disease and conditions, such as cirrhosis of the liver, flu, gallstones, peptic ulcer, and other forms of hepatitis, such as ...more misdiagnosis »

Symptoms of Hepatitis B

Treatments for Hepatitis B

  • Interferon
  • Lamivudine
  • Liver transplant
  • Treatment of Hepatitis B depends upon whether the infection is acute or chronic, and the severity of the illness. Treatments include:
    • Avoidance of alcohol and medications that may worsen hepatic function, or rely on the liver for metabolism
  • more treatments...»

Home Diagnostic Testing

Home medical testing related to Hepatitis B:

Wrongly Diagnosed with Hepatitis B?

Hepatitis B: Related Patient Stories

Hepatitis B: Deaths

Read more about Deaths and Hepatitis B.

Alternative Treatments for Hepatitis B

Alternative treatments or home remedies that have been listed in various sources as possibly beneficial for Hepatitis B may include:

Types of Hepatitis B

Diagnostic Tests for Hepatitis B

Test for Hepatitis B in your own home

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Hepatitis B: Complications

Review possible medical complications related to Hepatitis B:

Causes of Hepatitis B

Read more about causes of Hepatitis B.

More information about causes of Hepatitis B:

Disease Topics Related To Hepatitis B

Research the causes of these diseases that are similar to, or related to, Hepatitis B:

Hepatitis B: Undiagnosed Conditions

Commonly undiagnosed diseases in related medical categories:

Misdiagnosis and Hepatitis B

Chronic digestive conditions often misdiagnosed: When diagnosing chronic symptoms of the digestive tract, there are a variety of conditions that may be misdiagnosed. The best known, irritable bowel syndrome, is over-diagnosed,...read more »

Intestinal bacteria disorder may be hidden cause: One of the lesser known causes of diarrhea is an imbalance of bacterial in the gut, sometimes...read more »

Antibiotics often causes diarrhea: The use of antibiotics are very likely to cause some level of diarrhea in patients. The reason is that...read more »

Food poisoning may actually be an infectious disease: Many people who come down with "stomach symptoms" like diarrhea assume that it's "something I ate" (i.e. ...read more »

Mesenteric adenitis misdiagnosed as appendicitis in children: Because appendicitis is one of the more feared conditions for a child with abdominal pain, it can be over...read more »

Celiac disease often fails to be diagnosed cause of chronic digestive symptoms: One of the most common chronic digestive conditions is celiac disease, a malabsorption disorder with a variety of...read more »

Chronic liver disease often undiagnosed: One study reported that 50% of patients with a chronic liver disease remain undiagnosed by their primary physician. The reasons are multifactorial. Possible conditions...read more »

Chronic digestive diseases hard to diagnose: There is an inherent difficulty in diagnosing the various types of chronic digestive diseases. Some of the better known possibilities are peptic ulcer...read more »

Hepatitis B: Research Doctors & Specialists

Research related physicians and medical specialists:

Other doctor, physician and specialist research services:

Hospitals & Clinics: Hepatitis B

Research quality ratings and patient safety measures for medical facilities in specialties related to Hepatitis B:

Choosing the Best Hospital: More general information, not necessarily in relation to Hepatitis B, on hospital performance and surgical care quality:

Hepatitis B: Rare Types

Rare types of diseases and disorders in related medical categories:

Latest Treatments for Hepatitis B

Evidence Based Medicine Research for Hepatitis B

Medical research articles related to Hepatitis B include:

Click here to find more evidence-based articles on the TRIP Database

Hepatitis B: Animations

Prognosis for Hepatitis B

Research about Hepatitis B

Visit our research pages for current research about Hepatitis B treatments.

Clinical Trials for Hepatitis B

The US based website ClinicalTrials.gov lists information on both federally and privately supported clinical trials using human volunteers.

Some of the clinical trials listed on ClinicalTrials.gov for Hepatitis B include:

Prevention of Hepatitis B

Prevention information for Hepatitis B has been compiled from various data sources and may be inaccurate or incomplete. None of these methods guarantee prevention of Hepatitis B.

Statistics for Hepatitis B

Hepatitis B: Broader Related Topics

Hepatitis B Message Boards

Related forums and medical stories:

User Interactive Forums

Read about other experiences, ask a question about Hepatitis B, or answer someone else's question, on our message boards:

Definitions of Hepatitis B:

RAEB: Used for the diseases or the viruses. - (Source - Diseases Database)

An acute (sometimes fatal) form of viral hepatitis caused by a DNA virus that tends to persist in the blood serum and is transmitted by sexual contact or by transfusion or by ingestion of contaminated blood or other bodily fluids - (Source - WordNet 2.1)

 

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