Hepatitis B disease is caused by a hepatitis B virus, abbreviated HBV. It affects liver cells, where the virus multiply and cause infectious hepatitis, i.e. viral hepatitis B. Therefore, liver is indispensable, life pretentious organ that ensures continuous production, processing and secretion of many important substances. Impairment of liver tissue causes symptoms that are often not very typical for disabilities of mentioned organ.
Blood consists of many kinds of cells. Some of them are the red blood cells. They are "fitted" with blood red dye, which is at the periodic replacement of red blood cells, processed by the liver. With impairment of liver is processing imperfect and accumulation of yellow blood pigment (bilirubin) as "waste" substance of red blood cells occurs. General symptom of damaged liver ,i.e. jaundice, yellow eye sclera with yellowish skin coloration is developed. But this is not always a reliable indicator of impaired liver, since it may also accompany blood diseases without causing any damage to the liver tissue.
Development of hepatitis B
Hepatitis B is an inflammatory liver disease, which resulting in liver cell infection caused by the virus. The infection transmits from a diseased person, mainly by blood, sexual intercourse, but also during childbirth from mother to child. Hepatitis B is also transmitted by sharing razors with an infected person, or when drug abusers sharing needles. The possibility of taking the infection through blood transfusion is currently minimal, due to strict control of blood donors, and blood itself. The virus penetrates to the host liver cells. Against the virus are aimed immune system cells, which together with the virus destroy liver cells.
Types and symptoms of hepatitis B
Hepatitis B is a serious disease that can lead to fatal consequences. It is reported that up to 5% of the population is carrier of the virus which is responsible for causing this disease. Depending on the duration of disease, there are two types of this disease, acute and chronic.
Acute hepatitis B
The acute form of hepatitis B may be asymptomatic, but flu-like symptoms or diseases of the gastrointestinal tract may occur. Fever, nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite, muscle pain, joint pain and jaundice, i.e. a yellow coloring of the skin, eye sclera and mucous membranes of the oral cavity are the main indicators of acute hepatitis B in its unfolded state.Under supervision of a doctor can this disease after few weeks heal spontaneously. To this recovery comes in 90% of adults. Within 6 months, in the remaining 10% the virus will not be excluded from organism and the disease becomes long-lasting, so-called chronic.
Chronic Hepatitis B
Chronic hepatitis B arises in the case of that acute hepatitis B was not treated properly and the patient is unable to get rid of the virus. We distinguish two forms of chronic hepatitis B:
- An persistent form of hepatitis is when the patient is not infectious, has only mild clinical symptoms and slightly elevated tests of liver function.
- An aggressive form of hepatitis is when the virus is still multiplying in the blood, the patient is infectious, has impaired liver function, severe clinical symptoms and the prognosis is very serious.
Complications of hepatitis B
The acute form of hepatitis B usually does not lead to significant complications. In most cases it heals spontaneously by mere change in regimen and diet. However, the chronic form of hepatitis B is more serious disease with many complications. These are acute liver failure, liver cirrhosis and hepatocellular carcinoma, i.e. malignant liver tumor.
Diagnosis of hepatitis B
Diagnosis of hepatitis B is very difficult, because the symptoms reminiscent other, not so much serious illnesses. Moreover, it is difficult to distinguish it from other types of jaundice. Therefore it is not possible to rely on clinical symptoms. The basic diagnostic method is based on taking a blood sample with focus on the presence of virus-specific antibodies, i.e. antibodies against pathogenic agents.
Treatment of Hepatitis B
In acute hepatitis B disease is not necessary to hospitalize the patient in the hospital. However, the patient must follow a strict diet and cot rest. The diet is based on limiting fat intake and increased intake of proteins and carbohydrates. The goal of treatment of chronic hepatitis B is to prolong and improve the quality of life. In the treatment are used so-called interferons, i.e. medication that dampens replication of the virus in liver. In addition, synthetic antiviral drugs, i.e. drugs that destroys viruses in vivo. In the event of that hepatitis B is developed to hepatic cirrhosis, is the transplantation of liver only possible treatment method.
Vaccination against hepatitis B
Vaccination against hepatitis B is the best method to prevent the infection. Currently is compulsorily vaccinated every newborn according to the vaccination calendar. Nowadays are available combined vaccines, i.e. vaccines against hepatitis A and B. They are based on three times application, over one month and followed by the last application after six-month break.