Hepatitis B is a very deadly disease. It is a condition that affects at least, one in every ten human being. It is mostly prevalent in developing countries of the world, and affects people from all age groups.
Hepatitis is simply the inflammation of the liver. It can result to acute illness or chronic illness (that can result in cirrhosis i.e. hardening of the liver, liver cancer, liver failure, & untimely death).
Naturally, the liver processes digested food from the intestine, controls the level of fats, amino acids, and glucose in the blood, combats infection, neutralises and destroys toxins, stores iron, vitamins and other essential elements etc. Now, imagine your system not being able to perform these functions. That is how bad the condition can be.
Hepatitis B is also very transmissible. Here are some of the ways one can get the disease…
* Vertical transmission (Mother to child)
* Horizontal transmission (one host to the other)
* Through contaminated needles
* Sexual contact
* Blood transfusion
* Health care work incidence. Etc.
So who’s at risk of getting Hepatitis B?
* Children from parents who are HBV positive
* Household contact of infected persons
* Health care and public safety workers
* Infants born to infected mothers
* Dirty sexual lifestyle
* Drug use/abuse
* Having multiple sex partners
* Sexual contact with infected person.
And what are the signs and symptoms of the condition?
Most times, the hepatitis B virus is asymptotic; in other words, it rarely shows. This is perhaps, the greatest fear about HBV. In the early stages, it doesn’t give you any symptoms at all. Though some people may have malaise, anorexia, & fatigue.
The first obvious symptom is often signs of significant liver disease. At this point the liver has been damaged to some extent. Your eyes turn yellow due to excessive accumulation of bilirubin, your abdomen swells as well as your legs, you feel like your head is falling out, and if there’s no prompt expert intervention, the patient may have less than 3 months until the liver shuts down and death comes.
The good thing about the condition is that is avoidable. You can get immunised against it.
Hepatitis B vaccine confers 95% immunity against Hepatitis B virus. Walk down to a hospital and ask them about the immunisation. However, before the immunisation, you should go for the test to know your status.
It is also important to know that staying clear of those things that cause hepatitis is a very good way to prevent it.