June 26, 2021
“When hepatitis B is acute, it is treated only with rest, fluids and a balanced diet. If it is chronic, the specialist will carry out permanent monitoring and may indicate oral antiviral treatment, in order to keep it under control and prevent its progression. It is very important to get vaccinated against this disease, so we will avoid serious liver complications”, says Dr. Adelina Lozano, a prominent gastroenterologist at our clinic.
What is hepatitis B and how is it spread?
It is an infection caused by the hepatitis B virus that inflames the liver. It is contracted by contact with the blood, semen, or other body fluids of an infected person. Also, for sharing razors, injectables, getting piercings or tattoos in places that are not guaranteed, for blood transfusions, etc.
What forms of hepatitis B exist?
Chronic hepatitis B: It is an infection that lasts more than 6 months and usually has no symptoms. In the case of asymptomatic patients, a positive HBsAg blood test will certify the disease. This type of hepatitis B has a higher risk of developing cirrhosis, liver cancer, liver failure, among other conditions.
Acute hepatitis B: It is an infection that lasts less than six months. The eyes are yellowish and there are discomforts of general malaise and nausea. A blood test for surface antigen and HBsAg with elevated transaminases and bilirubin will be the confirmatory tests.
Who is most at risk of contracting it?
Healthcare workers, people with drug addiction, those who have multiple sexual partners, those who have received transfusions for diseases such as hemophilia, and those who live in nursing homes.
Although 80% of the time it is asymptomatic, some of its symptoms are:
Jaundice (yellowish eyes and skin), loss of appetite, abdominal pain, vomiting, dark urine, weakness, and fever. A small percentage of cases can make a severe form and a liver transplant will be needed to overcome the disease.
In case you have been diagnosed with hepatitis B, our specialist recommends:
Find out about the disease with a specialist doctor, follow a balanced diet rich in fruits and vegetables, do not drink alcohol, get vaccinated against hepatitis A, protect your loved ones by avoiding risky situations and vaccinating them too.
Remember, universal vaccination is the best tool to take care of our health
Dr. Adelina Lozano
Gastroenterologist at Clinica Ricardo Palma