What is Hepatitis B?
Hepatitis B, also known as hep B, is a viral infection that causes inflammation and damage to the liver. Most healthy adults can clear a hep B infection during the acute stage without any problems. However, some adults experience hepatitis B infections that last longer than six months. An infection lasting longer than six months is considered chronic hepatitis B.
What are the Symptoms of Hepatitis B?
Hepatitis B is a “silent infection.” Most people are asymptomatic -- they do not experience symptoms. Only one third of patients experience symptoms. The third of patients who do have symptoms may experience:
- Light-Colored stools
- Loss of Appetite
- Abdominal Pain
What causes Hepatitis B?
Hepatitis B is caused by transmission of the Hepatitis B Virus (HBV). The virus is transmitted through direct contact with bodily fluids, including blood and saliva. Direct contact occurs during unprotected sex or when needles are shared. In a medical setting, accidental needlesticks and childbirth may transmit the virus.
Each year, 25,000 babies are born to mothers diagnosed with Hepatitis B.
New Hepatitis B infections are most common in adults in their 30s.
HBV infections have declined by about 82% since a national strategy was implemented in 1991.
How is Hepatitis B Prevented?
Hepatitis B is a preventable condition. The Hep B vaccination is recommended for newborns, unvaccinated children, health care professionals, and injection drug users. It is also recommended that people who often encounter Hep B patients get the vaccination. Aside from being vaccinated, avoid certain activities to reduce the risk of contracting hep B, including:
- Engaging in unprotected sex
- Using illegal drugs and sharing needles
- Patroning body piercing or tattoo shops where sterility is questionable
How is Hepatitis B Treated?
Hepatitis B treatment is dependant on the infection, or potential infection.
- Preventative treatments are for people who are unsure of their vaccination status and within 12 hours of exposure to the Hepatis B virus. If a patient qualifies for preventative treatment, they are given an immunoglobin, or antibody, injection designed to protect them from contracting the virus.
- Acute Treatments are not needed. Acute infections are short lived and are generally resolved without treatment. If you have an acute Hepatitis B infection, your physcician is likely to recommend rest, fluids and proper nutrition. In severe cases, antiviral drugs may be necessary to prevent complications from arising.
- Chronic Hepatitis B Treatments last for the remainder of the patient's life. Undergoing treatment for chronic Hepatitis B reduces the risk of developing liver disease later in life and prevents the infection from passing to others. Available treatments for chronic Hepatitis B infections include:
- Antiviral medications
- Interferon injections
- Liver transplant
How does Noble help me manage my Hepatitis B?
At Noble Health Services, we offer a variety of medications to help you treat your condition. We help you manage your condition through our Signature Care Program. Our program includes medication delivery, 24/7/365 on-call support, co-pay assistance and more.
For more information on what Hepatitis B medications we offer, please view the Hepatitis B enrollment form.