Hepatitis B is an infection of liver caused by a virus. Acute cases of hepatitis have mild symptoms and last for a short time ,but when it becomes chronic ,it can cause scarring of the organ ,liver failure and cancer and it even can be life threatening.
It is serious, but if you get the disease as an adult ,it should not last for longtime. Your body fights it off within a few months and you are immune for the hepatitis B for the rest of life. That means you can’t get it again. But if you get it at birth, it is unlikely to go away.
Hepatitis simply means inflammation of the liver. Hepatitis B is one of the 5 types ( A,B,C,D & E) of hepatitis. It is spread when people come in contact with the blood ,open sores or body fluids of someone who has the hepatitis B virus.
There are 4 phases of spread of hepatitis B –
1) Phase 1(Viral replication )-
Patients are asymptomatic during this phase , laboratory studies demonstrate serologic and enzyme markers of hepatitis B.
2) Phase 2( Prodromal phase)-
Patients experience anorexia , nausea , vomitting , alterations in taste ,joint pain , fatigue when seen by a health care provider during this phase . Patients are often diagnosed as having gastroenteritis.
3) Phase 3 ( Icteric phase )-
Patient may be having dark urine followed by pale colored stools , gastrointestinal symptoms , patient becomes icteric and may develop right upper quadrant pain with hepatomegaly.
4) Phase 4 ( Convalescent phase )-
Symptoms and icterus resolve and liver enzymes return to normal.
Symptoms usually appear about 1-4 months after you have been infected . Usually young children may not have any symptoms .Here are some common sign and symptoms –
• Abdominal pain
• Dark urine
• Joint pain
• Loss of appetite
• Nausea & vomitting
• Weakness & fatigue
• Clay colored stool
The virus is passed from one person to another through blood , semen or other body fluids. It doesn’t spread by sneezing or coughing.
Some common ways of Hepatitis B virus spread are –
• Sexual contact
• Sharing of needles from one person to other
• Accidental needle pricking while using on others by health care workers
• Mother to child during pregnancy
1) Acute hepatitis B –
It lasts less than 6 months .Your immune system can clear it from your body and you can recover within a few months.
2) Chronic hepatitis B –
It lasts for 6 months or longer. This infection may lasts a lifetime as your immune system can’t fight off with it , leading to serious illness such as liver cirrhosis or liver cancer.
• Scarring of the liver (cirrhosis)
• Liver cancer
• Liver failure
• Other disease development such as kidney disease or inflammation of blood vessels.
The Hepatitis B vaccine is typically given as 3-4 injections over 6 months. The vaccine is recommended for-
• Children and adolescents not vaccinated at birth.
• Health care workers
• People who live in contact with Hepatitis B patient.
• People who are having sexually transmitted diseases including HIV
• People who inject illegal drugs
• People with chronic diseases of liver and kidney.
• People who have multiple sexual partners
• Travellers planning to go to an area of the world with high hepatitis B infection rate.
• Blood test –
*HBsAg ( Hepatitis B surface antigen antibody )
* Anti HBs ( Hepatitis B surface antibody) – These shown up done after HBsAg disappears.
• Liver Ultrasound
• Liver Biopsy
1) For Acute Infection –
It is short lived and go away on its own – you may not need treatment .Rest ,proper nutrition and plenty of fluids will help your body to fight with infection.
2) For Chronic Infection –
Most people diagnosed with chronic Hepatitis B infection need treatment for the rest of their lives.
Treatment may include –
•Antiviral Medications –
Like Entecavir ,tenofovir ,lamivudine ,adefovir and telbivudine can help fight virus and slow it’s ability to damage liver.
• Interferon injections –
Interferon alfa -2b ( Intron A) is a man – made version of a substance produced by the body to fight infection. It is used mainly for young people with Hepatitis B who wish to avoid long term treatment or women who might want to get pregnant within a few years ,after completing a finite course of therapy.
Ayurvedic Perspective –
According to Ayurveda , hepatitis B is a disease of the circulatory system and is categorized under biliary ( pitta ) disease, Ranjak pitta is the type of biliary fluid. The liver secretes Pachak pitta (Bile) and is stored in the gallbladder .The stored bile gets reabsorbed and leaves a fraction of original bile .The concentration of original bile in the circulation is critical and any derangement leads to diseases arising out of weak digestive and metabolic activity ( Agnivaishamya).
Line of Treatment –
Aetiopathogenesis strikes at the root of the disease process by destroying and neutralizing the inflammation, removing the obstruction and bringing the pathogens to the intestine.
• Shodhan chikitsa –
*Virechana karma –
Since it is a pitta dosha disease , Virechana is the most beneficial treatment procedure. Blockage of biliary tract during hepatitis B will be taken care with the purgative herbs and formulations.
*Nasya karma –
Nasya karma with the herbs like jyotishmati is successfully used in severe condition of Hepatitis B.
• Shamana Chikitsa –
*Some herbs that are highly beneficial –
– Bhumi amla
* Some medications that can be used are –
– Aarogyavardhini vati
– Swaranvasantmalti Ras
– Giloy sat
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