Diagnosing Hepatitis B
The signs and symptoms of hepatitis B are not always obvious. But, if you feel you are at risk or have been exposed, you should learn to recognize them. Hep B is a sexually transmitted diseased that is caused by the hepatitis B virus or HBV in short. Hepatitis B can be contracted through contact with blood, vaginal fluids, semen and other body fluids of an infected person. HBV is contracted by bad blood transfusions and sharing infected drug or tattoo needles as well.
When a person contracts hep B, the liver swells and the outcome may be serious liver damage due to the infection. For the vast majority of infected people, they are able to fight the disease with proper treatment. However, it can result in cancer for some infected indviduals while in others it becomes chronic condition, possibly lasting the rest of a persons life.
Symptoms of Hepatitis B
A large number of infected people can and do successfully fight off the hepatitis B virus; the infection does not become chronic. These people remain healthy and do not exhibit any symptoms of HBV while it is being cleared from the body. In such cases, it is quite possible that the person may not even be aware that he or she is infected with hepatitis so hepatitis testing is important. The scary part is that until the hepatitis B virus is cleared from the person’s system the possibility of infecting others is quite real. This is particularly true for pregnant women during the period during pregnancy as the hepatitis virus may be transmitted to the baby.
Common hepatitis B symptoms
Jaundice (yellowing of the skin, eyes and urine), fatigue, flu symptoms, aches, pains, headaches, fever, diarrhea, loss of appetite, weight loss, stomach pains, nausea and vomiting.
Hepatitis B becomes a chronic infection if it lasts over 6 months. In fact, the earlier in life the disease is contracted, the harder it is to get rid of. Babies and children are at greater risk of developing chronic hepatitis B.
Fulminant hepatitis B is a very serious type of hepatitis and the symptoms include severe jaundice, swelling of the stomach due to fluid retention and collapsing. This disease is often fatal.
Don't ignore these symptoms, particularly if you have recently engaged in risky behavior, getting a tattoo can result in hepatitis infection for example
Hepatitis B Testing
There is some possibility that a severe infection of hepatitis B can cause scarring of the liver tissue and liver disease. This in turn leads to cirrhosis and eventually develops into liver cancer. If you believe that you may have been exposed to HBV, you should have yourself tested as soon as possible. You may either go to your doctor to be tested or a reliable home test kit for Hepatitis B is available on Amazon as pictured below. While a home test kit is probably the cheapest test option, in either case the results of the diagnosis test are nearly instant. Unlike more complex medical testing where blood needs to be drawn and then sent to a lab for analysis as in a rheumatoid factor test, the Heptatitis B test delivers swift results.
Whichever option you choose, If you test positive for the hepatitis virus you should immediately investigate Hepatitis B treatment options.
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(price as of Jun 21, 2013)