What is Hepatitis B?



"Hepatitis" means inflammation of the liver and also refers to a group of viral infections that affect the liver. The most common types are: Hepatitis A, Hepatitis B, and Hepatitis C. Viral hepatitis is the leading cause of liver cancer and the most common reason for liver transplantation. An estimated 4.4 million Americans are living with chronic hepatitis; most do not know they are infected.

 

Hepatitis B

Hepatitis B is a serious disease that harms the liver.  A virus causes this disease. The virus spreads from person to person when their bodily fluids touch. This can happen in a few ways, like having sex or sharing needles.  About 1 out of every 20 adults who get hepatitis B can end up having the disease for a long time. This is called “chronic” hepatitis B. Most people with chronic hepatitis B have no symptoms. Chronic hepatitis B also increases the risk of getting liver cancer. Over time the infection can lead to a liver condition called cirrhosis.

 

Symptoms of Hepatitis B:

These symptoms usually get better, but it can take weeks to months.

 

Symptoms of cirrhosis:

How did I get the disease

 

There are a few ways to catch the hepatitis B virus. All of them involve mixing bodily fluids with other people.

You might have caught the disease by:

If you have hepatitis B and are pregnant, you can also pass the infection on to your baby

 

How is hepatitis B treated

 

For people who have chronic hepatitis B, treatments include: