Hepatitis B, also known as HBV, is a life-threatening condition due to a deleterious effect on the liver. Learn about the main symptoms and risk factors.
The name of this disease comes from the Greek word "hêpar", which means "liver". Hepatitis B infection can cause acute inflammation of the liver, as well as chronic illness or even death. Approximately 1,800 people die each year due to complications caused by the hepatitis B negative effects on the liver. The virus that causes hepatitis B is similar to a retrovirus like HIV. It has the ability to last a long time in infected cells, multiply and provoke chronic disease.
The heaviest risk of hepatitis B is that the acute infection may be chronic, causing a wide range of liver conditions, including cirrhosis and liver cancer.
What Symptoms Does Hepatitis B Have?
Approximately two-thirds of people with hepatitis B in the acute phase have no symptoms. In some cases, however, especially in adults or children over the age of five, symptoms may occur that persist for several weeks. A third of people suffering from this condition will also have characteristic symptoms. Usually, symptoms appear 2-5 months after virus exposure.
Here are the main symptoms of hepatitis B:
– excessive fatigue;
– muscle pain;
– joint pain;
– stomach pain;
– dark urine;
– jaundice (skin yellowing).
In general, these symptoms last for several weeks, but in some cases may take up to six months. People with chronic illness can no longer remove the virus. I can regularly feel characteristic symptoms or have no symptoms for many years.
The risk of recording this condition depends on the age at which the virus was infected. Children infected before reaching the age of six are predisposed to chronic diseases. According to studies, 90% of children exposed to this virus will suffer from chronic hepatitis B in their first year of life.
For adults, only 5% of infected people will have a chronic infection. People with chronic hepatitis B suffer from approximately 15-30% of severe liver disease, such as cirrhosis or cancer, with 50% survival over a five-year period.
Causes and risk factors
Hepatitis B is caused by a viral infection. The virus can survive outside of the body for seven days during which it can infect any person with whom it comes into direct contact. It can be detected within 30-60 days of infection and may last in the body, causing a chronic infection if the patient is an early age.
Hepatitis B can be transmitted as follows:
1. Perinatal transmission
This is one of the main causes of the spread of the virus, which is transmitted from birth to mother to child.
2. Exposure to infected blood
Another common cause is blood exposure to this virus.
Frequent transmission of a virus from a sick child to a healthy child in the first five years of life. Other high-risk scenarios are shared use of razor blades, toothbrushes or other sharp tools. When the infected blood comes to the wounds or scratches of a healthy person, the virus can spread.
3. Sexually portable
Approximately two-thirds of the acute cases of hepatitis B are caused by the transmission of the virus.
4. Sharing needles
The use of needles or syringes in the joint greatly increases the risk of infection. This can happen in poorly equipped health centers or in the case of drug users. Virus can also be propagated using the tools used to perform tattoos or various operations.