Hepatitis B

Hepatitis B is caused by infection with the hepatitis B virus (HBV). The hepatitis occurs in two stages -- acute and chronic. Acute hepatitis B occurs shortly after exposure to the virus. A small number of people develop a very severe, life-threatening form of acute hepatitis called fulminant hepatitis. Chronic (ongoing, long-term) hepatitis B is an infection with HBV that lasts longer than 6 months. Once the infection becomes chronic, it may be irreversible. HBV infection is one of the most important causes of infectious hepatitis. People with chronic HBV infection are called chronic carriers. About two-thirds of these people do not themselves get sick or die of the virus, but they can transmit it to other people. The remaining one third develops chronic hepatitis B. liver’s most important functions are filtering many drugs and toxins out of the blood, storing glucose for later use, helping with the absorption of certain nutrients from food, and producing substances that fight infections and control bleeding. Liver damage in chronic hepatitis B, if not stopped, continues until the liver becomes hardened. This is called cirrhosis, a condition traditionally associated with alcoholism. When this happens, the liver can no longer carry out its normal functions, a condition called liver failure. The only treatment for liver failure is liver transplant. Chronic hepatitis B also can lead to a type of liver cancer known as hepatocellular carcinoma. The infection with HBV is almost always preventable. You can protect yourself and your loved ones from hepatitis B. The hepatitis B virus is transmitted from one person to another via blood, semen and saliva. The virus can be transmitted whenever any of these bodily fluids come in contact with the broken skin or a mucous membrane in the mouth, genital organs, or rectum of an uninfected person.

Risk factor for Hepatitis B:

  • Men or women having multiple sex partners

  • Having sex with a person infected with HBV

  • Having People with other sexually transmitted diseases

  • Injecting drugs with shared needles

  • Receiving blood transfusions or blood products

  • Dialysis for kidney disease

  • Health care workers who are stuck with needles or other sharp instruments contaminated with infected blood

  • Infants born to infected mothers

The common symptoms of hepatitis B are:

  • Loss of appetite

  • Tiredness

  • Nausea and vomiting

  • Itching all over the body

  • Pain over the liver

  • Jaundice

  • Dark color Urine becomes

  • Pale color Stools

The symptoms in severe form of acute hepatitis are:

  • Mental confusion

  • Lethargy

  • Extreme sleepiness

  • Hallucinations

  • Sudden collapse with fatigue

  • Jaundice

  • Swelling of the abdomen

Prolonged nausea and vomiting can cause dehydration. If you have been vomiting repeatedly, you may notice these symptoms:

  • Feeling tired or weak

  • Feeling confused or having difficulty concentrating

  • Headache

  • Not urinating

  • Irritability

If the disease is acute, our immune system is usually able to clear the virus from the body, and the person should recover completely within a few months. When our immune system can't fight off the virus, HBV infection may become lifelong, possibly leading to serious illnesses such as cirrhosis and liver cancer. Most people who acquire hepatitis B as adults have an acute infection. But the outlook isn't nearly as hopeful for infants and children. 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. Hepatitis B is one of six currently identified strains of viral hepatitis â€" the others are A, C, D, E and G. Each strain is unique, differing from the others in severity and in the way it spreads.

Having a chronic HBV infection eventually may lead to serious liver diseases such as cirrhosis and liver cancer. Having had HBV infection as an infant or child gives you a greater chance of developing these illnesses as an adult. In addition, hepatitis B puts you at risk of acute liver failure â€" a condition in which all the vital functions of the liver shut down. When that occurs, a liver transplant is necessary to sustain life. Anyone chronically infected with HBV is also susceptible to infection with another strain of viral hepatitis â€" hepatitis D formerly known as delta virus, the hepatitis D virus needs the outside coat of HBV in order to infect cells. You can't become infected with hepatitis D unless you're already infected with HBV.

Injection drug users with hepatitis B are most at risk, but you can also contract hepatitis D if you have unprotected sexual contact with an infected partner or live with someone infected with hepatitis D. Having both hepatitis B and hepatitis D makes it more likely you'll develop cirrhosis or liver cancer. A number of hepatitis B vaccines are available. They have typically been given in a series of three immunizations at zero, one and six months, but some can also be given in an accelerated four-dose schedule. Another is given in two doses in adolescents ages 11 to 15. These vaccines provide more than 90 percent protection for both adults and children, and they generally protect against HBV for at least 23 years. You can't get hepatitis B from the vaccine.

Almost anyone can receive the vaccine, including infants, older adults and those with compromised immune systems. Infants often receive the vaccine in the first year of life typically at 2, 4 and 9 months of age. Side effects tend to be mild and may include weakness, fatigue, headache, nausea, and soreness or swelling at the injection site. Although concerns have been raised that the HBV vaccine may increase the risk of autoimmune disease, studies have found no connection. Although vaccination is the best way to protect yourself and others from hepatitis B, the measures listed below also can help guard against HBV infection or help manage HBV if you have it.

The following measures can prevent getting hepatitis B infection:

  • Educate yourself and others.

  • Know the HBV status of any sexual partner.

  • Use a new latex or polyurethane condom every time you have sex. Use a sterile needle.

  • Talk to your doctor if you're traveling internationally.

  • Be cautious about blood products in certain countries.

  • If you're pregnant, get tested.

Role of Homeopathy in Hepatitis B:

Homeopathy has a vital role in strengthening your immune system and protecting your body from opportunistic infections. Homeopathic medicine may be used as acute medicines for acute attack of hepatitis B. Constitutional treatment approach is best approach for chronic Hepatitis B infection. When the case is not in advanced liver damage stage homeopathic treatment can halt the progress of the disease and prevent further damage to the liver. Lifestyle changes play an important role in restricting progress of the disease and preventing further damage to the liver. By strengthening your immunity homeopathy protects you from other illnesses which occur as a result of your poor immunity when you are suffering from chronic hepatitis B.