May 19, 2013 | 12:32 AM (BD Time)
19 May, 2013 Sunday
Managing risk factors of Hapatitis B, C and A
Hepatitis B is a serious liver infection caused by the hepatitis B virus (HBV). For some people, hepatitis B infection becomes chronic, leading to liver failure, liver cancer or cirrhosis - a condition that causes permanent scarring of the liver.
Most people infected with hepatitis B as adults recover fully, even if their signs and symptoms are severe. Infants and children are much more likely to develop a chronic hepatitis B infection. Although no cure exists for hepatitis B, a vaccine can prevent the disease. If you're already infected, taking certain precautions can help prevent spreading HBV to others.
Signs and symptoms of hepatitis B usually appear about three months after you've been infected and can range from mild to severe. Signs and symptoms of hepatitis B may include:
Loss of appetite
Nausea and vomiting
Weakness and fatigue
Yellowing of your skin and the whites of your eyes (jaundice)
Most infants and children with hepatitis B never develop signs and symptoms. The same is true for some adults.
Seek medical care if you have any signs or symptoms that worry you.
If you know you've been exposed to hepatitis B, contact your doctor immediately. A preventive treatment may reduce the risk that the virus will infect your body. But the treatment must be given within 24 hours of exposure to the hepatitis B virus.
Hepatitis B infection is caused by the hepatitis B virus (HBV). The virus is passed from person to person through blood, semen or other body fluids. When HBV enters your liver, it invades the liver cells and begins to multiply. This causes inflammation in the liver and leads to the signs and symptoms of hepatitis B infection.
Common ways HBV is transmitted include:
Sexual contact. You may become infected if you have unprotected sexual contact with an infected partner whose blood, saliva, semen or vaginal secretions enter your body.
Sharing of needles. HBV is easily transmitted through needles and syringes contaminated with infected blood. Sharing intravenous (IV) drug paraphernalia puts you at high risk of hepatitis B.
Accidental needle sticks. Hepatitis B is a concern for health care workers and anyone else who comes in contact with human blood.
Mother to child. Pregnant women infected with HBV can pass the virus to their babies during childbirth.
Acute vs. chronic hepatitis B
Hepatitis B infection may be either short-lived (acute hepatitis B) or long lasting (chronic hepatitis B).
Acute hepatitis B infection lasts less than six months. If the disease is acute, your immune system is usually able to clear the virus from your body, and you should recover completely within a few months. Most people who acquire hepatitis B as adults have an acute infection.
Chronic hepatitis B infection lasts six months or longer. When your immune system can't fight off the virus, hepatitis B infection may become lifelong, possibly leading to serious illnesses such as cirrhosis and liver cancer. Most infants infected with HBV at birth and many children infected between 1 and 5 years of age become chronically infected. Chronic infection may go undetected for decades until a person becomes seriously ill from liver disease.
Your risk of hepatitis B infection is increased if you:
Have unprotected sex with more than one partner
Have unprotected sex with someone who's infected with HBV
Have a sexually transmitted infection such as gonorrhea or chlamydia
Are a man who has sexual contact with other men
Share needles during intravenous (IV) drug use
Share a household with someone who has a chronic HBV infection
Have a job that exposes you to human blood
Receive hemodialysis for end-stage kidney (renal) disease
Travel to regions with high infection rates of HBV, such as Africa, Central and Southeast Asia, and Eastern Europe
Having a chronic HBV infection can lead to serious complications, such as:
Scarring of the liver (cirrhosis). Hepatitis B infection may cause inflammation that leads to extensive scarring of the liver (cirrhosis). Scarring in the liver may impair the liver's ability to function.
Liver cancer. People with chronic hepatitis B infection have an increased risk of liver cancer.Liver failure. Acute liver failure is a condition in which the vital functions of the liver shut down. When that occurs, a liver transplant is necessary to sustain life.
Hepatitis D infection. Anyone chronically infected with HBV is also susceptible to infection with another strain of viral hepatitis - hepatitis D. You can't become infected with hepatitis D unless you're already infected with HBV. Having both hepatitis B and hepatitis D makes it more likely you'll develop complications of hepatitis.
Kidney problems. Hepatitis B infection can cause kidney problems that may lead eventually to kidney failure. Children are more likely to recover from these kidney problems than are adults, who may experience kidney failure.
Hepatitis C is an infection caused by a virus that attacks the liver and leads to inflammation. Most people infected with the hepatitis C virus (HCV) have no symptoms. In fact, most people don't know they have the hepatitis C infection until liver damage shows up, decades later, during routine medical tests.
Hepatitis C is one of several hepatitis viruses and is generally considered to be among the most serious of these viruses. Hepatitis C is passed through contact with contaminated blood - most commonly through needles shared during illegal drug use.
Hepatitis C infection usually produces no signs or symptoms during its earliest stages. When signs and symptoms do occur, they're generally mild and flu-like and may include:
Nausea or poor appetite
Muscle and joint pains
Tenderness in the area of your liver
Make an appointment with your doctor if you have any signs and symptoms that worry you.
Illustration showing the liver, located above the stomach The liver
Hepatitis C infection is caused by the hepatitis C virus (HCV). HCV is spread when you come in contact with contaminated blood.
Examples of how HCV can be spread include:
Blood transfusions and organ transplants before 1992. Improved blood-screening tests became available in 1992. Before that year, it was possible to unknowingly contract hepatitis C through a blood transfusion or organ transplant.
Shared needles. HCV can also spread through sharing contaminated needles when injecting drugs.
Childbirth. A small number of babies born to mothers with hepatitis C acquire the infection during childbirth.
Sexual contact. In rare cases, HCV may be transmitted sexually.
Your risk of hepatitis C infection is increased if you:
Are a health care worker who has been exposed to infected blood
Have ever injected illicit drugs
Received a piercing or tattoo in an unclean environment using unsterile equipment
Received a blood transfusion or organ transplant before 1992
Received clotting factor concentrates before 1987
Received hemodialysis treatments for a long period of time
Were born to a woman with a hepatitis C infection
Hepatitis C infection that continues over many years can cause significant complications, such as:
Scarring of the liver tissue (cirrhosis). After 20 to 30 years of hepatitis C infection, cirrhosis may occur. Scarring in your liver makes it difficult for your liver to function.
Liver cancer. A small number of people with hepatitis C infection may develop liver cancer.
Liver failure. A liver that is severely damaged by hepa
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