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What is hepatitis B?

Hepatitis B is an inflammatory liver disease triggered by the penetration of the hepatitis B virus (HBV) into the body. This virus is dangerous because it not only kills liver cells (like hepatitis C), thus leading to liver cirrhosis, but, in case of prolonged presence in the human body, can provoke a number of autoimmune processes, that is, the occurrence of liver cancer.

How is hepatitis transmitted?

The main ways of hepatitis B transmission are the use of insufficiently sterilised medical equipment (e.g. in the dental office, in surgery), nail bars. Many cases of infection occur among drug addicts due to the common use of syringes. The route of transmission through unprotected sexual intercourse (if the recipient has micro-cracks) is also relevant for hepatitis B.  A relatively low percentage of hepatitis B infection is from mother to child during childbirth.

How to determine hepatitis B (diagnostics, symptoms)?

Diagnosis of hepatitis B in most cases occurs accidentally (when undergoing liver tests during treatment or prevention of other diseases). If the patient has the first complaints (rapid fatigability, depression, weakness, liver pain, etc.), it indicates the advanced process of the disease and the presence of early stages of liver cirrhosis. For diagnosis/exclusion of hepatitis B, a blood test should be taken for ALT and AST (liver tests), HBs-antigen and anti-HCB-core.

Viral hepatitis B treatment

The existing modern therapy of chronic hepatitis B is not able to lead to a complete recovery of the patient in most cases (in contrast to hepatitis C). However, treatment is compulsory. Its goal is to transfer the hepatitis B virus from the active phase into a resting one to avoid liver cirrhosis/cancer in the patient and infection of other people.  The treatment process can last 1–2 years (depending on the individual features of the body). The treatment uses the most advanced developments of tableted antiviral drugs, which allows the patient to lead a habitual way of life. Nevertheless, it is important to stick to the doctor’s prescriptions regarding nutrition. Also, on doctor’s order, it is necessary to undergo control analysis once every 2–3 months.

What is important to know about chronic hepatitis B?

10 years

after the infection, the first symptoms of hepatitis B appear and liver cirrhosis develops

30%

of patient develops liver cirrhosis providing improper treatment

96%

of lethal outcomes from hepatitis are caused precisely by hepatitis B or C

How to treat hepatitis B?

Step 1

Appointment for the consultation by a hepatologist of the REGENERATION Clinic

Step 2

The doctor will prescribe an examination aimed at confirming or refuting the diagnosis, examining the liver. When establishing the diagnosis, related specialists may be involved

Step 3

After receiving the analysis results confirming the presence of hepatitis B, the patient is prescribed an individual treatment regimen aimed at transferring the virus into the resting phase, treating liver fibrosis/cirrhosis, and supporting the patient’s life quality. If hepatitis B is not confirmed, additional tests may be prescribed to identify the cause of the patient’s poor health

Step 4

The attending physician conducts regular monitoring of the treatment dynamics, and if necessary, adjusts the treatment regimen to achieve a positive result

  • The cost of chronic hepatitis B treatment begins from 10,000 UAH for a course of six-month therapy. Treatment duration is 1–2 years. In addition, if necessary, drugs are purchased for liver fibrosis and cirrhosis treatment.
  • Treatment of acute and chronic hepatitis B is performed by doctors specialising in these diseases. First of all, these are infectious disease specialists and gastroenterologists. It is important to know that not all infectious disease specialists and gastroenterologists are hepatologists, that is, doctors who widely practice hepatitis B treatment and have vast experience in treatment of precisely viral hepatitis and concomitant liver diseases (liver fibrosis, cirrhosis, etc.).
  • Acute hepatitis B can be detected only with the help of laboratory tests in the last month of the viral incubation period (that is, sixth month after the virus enters the human blood). Only about 10 years after infection the patient can feel the first symptoms that are indicative of liver cirrhosis and require urgent treatment of both chronic hepatitis B and liver cirrhosis.
  • At the early stages, viral hepatitis B does not manifest itself at all due to the liver compensation abilities. At the same time, an infected person considers themselves absolutely healthy. When the compensation abilities disappear, the standard symptoms of chronic hepatitis B appear — weakness, reduced working capacity, problems with the gastrointestinal tract, etc.
  • In most cases, it is impossible to completely cure hepatitis B. However, therapy is mandatory, as it suppresses the negative viral effect on the liver (prolongs the patient’s quality life, helps avoid liver cirrhosis and cancer), and also reduces the possibility of transmitting hepatitis B to others, including patient’s relatives.
  • First of all, children should be vaccinated against hepatitis B. However, vaccination does not provide a lifelong immunity. This is why periodic revaccination should be carried out to prevent hepatitis B infection. If a hepatitis B carrier is found in the family (and there are more than 350 million of them in the world), one should not panic. The hepatitis B virus is not spread by airborne transmission, it happens through the blood. It is necessary to provide the virus carrier with personal hygiene products (e. g. a toothbrush). At the same time, cutlery can be common (the virus is not transmitted through saliva and dies in the external environment, infection occurs only through blood drops). It is also important to protect yourself during sexual intercourse.

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