The hepatitis B virus (HBV, hep B) is a unique, coated DNA virus belonging to the Hepadnaviridae family of viruses. The course of the virus is determined primarily by the age at which the infection is acquired and the interaction between the virus and the body's immune system. Successful treatment is associated with a reduction in liver injury and fibrosis (scarring), a decreased likelihood of developing cirrhosis and its complications, including liver cancer, and a prolonged survival.Read more: Hepatitis B (HBV, Hep B) Article
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Related Disease Conditions
Liver (Anatomy and Function)
The liver is the largest gland and organ in the body. There are a variety of liver diseases caused by liver inflammation, scarring of the liver, infection of the liver, gallstones, cancer, toxins, genetic diseases, and blood flow problems. Symptoms of liver disease generally do not occur until the liver disease is advanced. Some symptoms of liver disease include jaundice, nausea and vomiting, easy bruising, bleeding excessively, fatigue, weakness, weight loss, shortness of breath, leg swelling, impotence, and confusion. Treatment of diseases of the liver depends on the cause.
Alpha-1 Antitrypsin Deficiency (Symptoms, Treatment, Life Expectancy)
Alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency (AATD) is an inherited disorder caused by mutations in the SERPINA1 gene. People with the condition are at risk for developing serious lung and liver disease. Symptoms and signs of lung disease caused by this condition include:The earliest symptoms and signs of lung disease usually develop between 20 and 50 years of age, and are Wheezing The reduced ability to exercise Shortness of breath (dyspnea) following mild activity Other symptoms and signs of alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency are: Fatigue Rapid heartbeat when going from sitting to standing Recurring respiratory infections Unintentional weight loss Lung disease: People with this condition often develop emphysema, with symptoms of a hacking cough, barrel-shaped chest, and difficulty breathing. If you have this condition and smoke or are exposed to tobacco smoke, it accelerates the appearance of emphysema symptoms and lung damage.Liver disease: Alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency also cause liver disease in some people with the condition, that include liver cancer, cirrhosis of the liver, an abnormally large liver (hepatomegaly), liver failure, and hepatitis. Liver damage from alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency causes symptom of a swollen abdomen, swollen legs or feet, and jaundice. Treatment of AATD depends upon the severity of symptoms. FDA approved drug for AATD is an orphan product called alpha-1-proteinase inhibitor (human), sold under the brand name "Prolastin."
Cancer Risk Factors
Though it's difficult to say why some people develop cancer while others don't, research shows that certain risk factors increase a person's odds of developing cancer. These risk factors include growing older, family history of cancer, diet, alcohol and tobacco use, and exposure to sunlight, ionizing radiation, certain chemicals, and some viruses and bacteria.
Cirrhosis of the liver refers to a disease in which normal liver cells are replaced by scar tissue caused by alcohol and viral hepatitis B and C. This disease leads to abnormalities in the liver's ability to handle toxins and blood flow, causing internal bleeding, kidney failure, mental confusion, coma, body fluid accumulation, and frequent infections. Symptoms include yellowing of the skin (jaundice), itching, and fatigue. The prognosis is good for some people with cirrhosis of the liver, and the survival can be up to 12 years; however the life expectancy is about 6 months to 2 years for people with severe cirrhosis with major complications.
Hepatitis (Viral Hepatitis, A, B, C, D, E, G)
Hepatitis is most often viral, due to infection with one of the hepatitis viruses (A, B, C, D, E, F (not confirmed), and G) or another virus (such as those that cause infectious mononucleosis, cytomegalovirus disease). The main nonviral causes of hepatitis are alcohol and drugs. Many patients infected with hepatitis A, B, and C have few or no symptoms of illness. For those who do develop symptoms of viral hepatitis, the most common are flu- like symptoms including: loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, fever, weakness, tiredness, and aching in the abdomen. Treatment of viral hepatitis is dependant on the type of hepatitis.
Hepatitis A and B Vaccinations
Hepatitis A and hepatitis B are the two most commnon viruses that infect the liver. Hepatitis A and Hepatitis B can be prevented and treated with immunizations (vaccinations) such as Havrix, Vaqta, Twinrix, Comvax, Pediarix, and hepatitis b immune globulin (HBIG).
Pancreatic cancer is a malignant tumor of the pancreas. Pancreatic cancer has been called a "silent" disease because early pancreatic cancer usually does not cause early symptoms. Typically, pancreatic cancer has metastasized (spread to adjacent organs, such as the liver) by the time most people receive a dignosis of pancreatic cancer. Symptoms and signs usually appear later in the course of the disease and include jaundice, back pain, nausea, weight loss, itching, and loss of appetite. Treatment depends upon the type of pancreatic cancer but may include surgery, chemotherapy, and/or radiation therapy.
Polyarteritis nodosa is a rare autoimmune disease characterized by spontaneous inflammation of the arteries of the body. The most common areas of involvement include the muscles, joints, intestines (bowels), nerves, kidneys, and skin. Poor function or pain in any of these organs can be a symptom. Polyarteritis nodosa is most common in middle age persons. Polyarteritis is a serious illness that can be fatal. Treatment is focused on decreasing the inflammation of the arteries by suppressing the immune system.
Sexually Transmitted Diseases in Women (STDs)
Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) are among the most common infectious diseases in the United States. STDs can be spread through any type of sexual activity involving the sex organs, the anus or mouth, or through contact with blood during sexual activity. Examples of STDs include, chancroid, chlamydia, gonorrhea, granuloma inguinale, lymphogranuloma venereum, syphilis, genital herpes, genital warts, trichomoniasis, pubic lice (crabs), and scabies. Treatment is generally with antibiotics; however, some STDs that go untreated can lead to death.
Travelers should prepare for their trip by visiting their physician to get the proper vaccinations and obtain the necessary medication if they have a medical condition or chronic disease. Diseases that travelers may pick up from contaminated water or food, insect or animal bites, or from other people include: malaria, meningococcal meningitis, yellow fever, hepatitis A, typhoid fever, polio, and cholera.
Vasculitis (Symptoms, Causes, Diagnosis, Treatment, Types)
Vasculitis (arteritis, angiitis) is a general term for a group of uncommon diseases which feature inflammation of the blood vessels. Each form of vasculitis has its own characteristic pattern of symptoms. The diagnosis of vasculitis is definitively established after a biopsy of involved tissue demonstrates the pattern of blood vessel inflammation. Treatment is directed toward decreasing the inflammation of the arteries and improving the function of affected organs.
Hepatitis C (HCV, Hep C)
Hepatitis C is an inflammation of the liver due to the hepatitis C virus (HCV), which is usually spread by blood transfusion, hemodialysis, and needle sticks, especially with intravenous drug abuse. Symptoms of chronic hepatitis include fatigue, fever, muscle aches, loss of appetite, and fever. Chronic hepatitis C may be cured in most individuals with drugs that target specific genomes of hepatitis C.
Jaundice (Hyperbilirubinemia) in Adults
Jaundice (hyperbilirubinemia) in adults may be caused by a variety of medical diseases or conditions. Some cases of jaundice can be managed at home with a doctor's supervision, while other causes of jaundice may be life-threatening. Symptoms of jaundice are yellow skin, yellowing of the whites of the eyes, pale colored stools, dark urine, itchy skin, vomiting, nausea, and rectal bleeding. Treatment of jaundice is focused on the disease or condition that is causing jaundice.
Fatty Liver (NASH)
Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease or NASH occurs due to the accumulation of abnormal amounts of fat within the liver. Fatty liver most likely caused by obesity and diabetes. Symptoms of fatty liver disease are primarily the complications of cirrhosis of the liver; and may include mental changes, liver cancer, the accumulation of fluid in the body (ascites, edema), and gastrointestinal bleeding. Treatment for fatty liver includes avoiding certain foods and alcohol. Exercise, weight loss, bariatric surgery, and liver transplantation are treatments for fatty liver disease.
STDs in Men
Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) are infections transmitted during sexual contact. They may be caused by viruses, bacteria, or parasites. STDs in men cause no symptoms or symptoms like genital burning, itching, sores, rashes, or discharge. Common infections that are sexually transmitted in men include gonorrhea, chlamydia, syphilis, hepatitis C and B, genital warts, human papillomavirus (HPV), and genital herpes. Some STDs in men are treatable while others are not. STDs are diagnosed with tests that identify proteins or genetic material of the organisms causing the infection. The prognosis of an STD depends on whether the infection is treatable or not. Use of latex condoms can help reduce the risk of contracting an STD but it does not eliminate the risk entirely.
Drug addiction is a chronic disease that causes drug-seeking behavior and drug use despite negative consequences to the user and those around him. Though the initial decision to use drugs is voluntary, changes in the brain caused by repeated drug abuse can affect a person's self-control and ability to make the right decisions and increase the urge to take drugs. Drug abuse and addiction are preventable.
Certain behavioral, lifestyle, and environmental factors contribute to cancer. Cancer prevention involves modifying these factors to decrease cancer risk. Tobacco use, alcohol consumption, physical inactivity, inadequate fruit and vegetable intake, and obesity increase the risk of certain cancers. Vaccines, genetic testing, and cancer screening also play a role in cancer prevention.
The Digestion Process (Parts, Organs, and Functions)
Digestion is the complex process of turning the food you eat into the energy you need to survive. The digestive process also involves creating waste to be eliminated, and is made of a series of muscles that coordinate the movement of food. Learn more about digestion and the body parts that make it possible, including the mouth, pharynx, esophagus, stomach, small intestine, colon, rectum, anus, pancreas, liver, and gallbladder.
Portal hypertension is most commonly caused by cirrhosis, a disease that results from scarring of the liver. Other causes of portal hypertension include blood clots in the portal vein, blockages of the veins that carry the blood from the liver to the heart, and a parasitic infection called schistosomiasis. Symptoms of portal hypertension include varices (enlarged veins), vomiting blood, blood in the stool, black and tarry stool, ascites (abnormal fluid collection within the peritoneum, the sac that contains the intestines within the abdominal cavity), confusion and lethargy, splenomegaly or enlargement of the spleen, and decreased white blood cell counts.
Varices are dilated blood vessels usually in the esophagus or stomach. Symptoms of bleeding varices include vomiting blood, black stools, low blood pressure, shock, and rapid heart rate. Bleeding varices are a medical emergency. Treatment may involve liver transplant, devascularization, distal splenorenal shunt, banding, sclerotherapy, or transjugular intrahepatic protosystemic shunt.
Sexually Transmitted Diseases and Pregnancy (STDs)
When you are pregnant, many sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) can be especially harmful to you and your baby. These STDs include herpes, HIV/AIDS, genital warts (HPV), hepatitis B, chlamydia, syphilis, gonorrhea, and trichomoniasis. Symptoms include bumps, sores, warts, swelling, itching, or redness in the genital region. Treatment of STDs while pregnant depends on how far along you are in the pregnancy and the progression of the infection.
Liver Cancer (Hepatocellular Cancer) Prevention
Avoiding certain risk factors (such as hepatitis B and C, cirrhosis, and aflatoxin) can lower one's risk of developing liver cancer. Getting the hepatitis B vaccine is a protective factor against liver cancer.
Drug-Induced Liver Disease
Drug-induced liver diseases are diseases of the liver that are caused by: physician-prescribed medications, OTC medications, vitamins, hormones, herbs, illicit (recreational) drugs, and environmental toxins. Read about the signs and symptoms of drug-induced liver disease like hepatitis (inflammation of the liver cells), liver disease treatment, and types.
Anabolic steroids are synthetic substances that are related to testosterone and promote skeletal muscle growth and the development of male sexual characteristics in both men and women. In the 1930s, it was discovered that anabolic steroids could promote skeletal muscle growth in lab animals, which lead to anabolic steroid abuse by bodybuilders and weight lifters.
Septic arthritis, or infectious arthritis, is infection of one or more joints by bacteria, viruses, or fungi. Symptoms and signs of septic arthritis include fever, joint pain, chills, swelling, redness, warmth, and stiffness. Treatment involves antibiotics and the drainage of the infected joint.
Thrombocytopenia (Low Platelet Count)
Thrombocytopenia (low platelet count) refers to a decreased number of platelets in the blood. Symptoms of thrombocytopenia include: Increased bruising Spontaneous bleeding Small, purple spots under the skin called purpura There are many causes of thrombocytopenia such as decreased platelet production (viral infections for example rubella, mumps, chickenpox, hepatitis C, and HIV); increased platelet destruction or consumption (for example sulfonamide antibiotics, heparin, blood transfusions, and lupus); or increased splenic sequestration (enlarged spleen due to conditions for example liver disease, blood cancers, and more). Treatment of thrombocytopenia depends on the cause.
Encephalopathy means brain disease, damage, or malfunction. Causes of encephalopathy are varied and numerous. The main symptom of encephalopathy is an altered mental state. Other symptoms include: lethargy, dementia, seizures, tremors, and coma. Treatment of encephalopathy depends on the type of encephalopathy (anoxia, diabetic, Hashimoto's, hepatic, hyper - hypotensive, infectious, metabolic, infections, uremic, or Wernicke's) are examples of types of encephalopathy.
Ascites, the accumulation of fluid in the abdominal cavity is most commonly caused by cirrhosis of the liver. Some of the other causes of ascites include portal hypertension, congestive heart failure, blood clots, and pancreatitis. The most common symptoms include increased abdominal girth and size, abdominal bloating, and abdominal pain. Treatment depends on the cause of ascites.
Optic neuritis is inflammation of the optic nerve, the structure that connects the eye to the brain. The precise cause of optic neuritis is unknown, but it is thought to be a type of autoimmune disorder. Optic neuritis most commonly develops due to an autoimmune disorder that may be triggered by a viral infection.
Enlarged Spleen (Splenomegaly) Symptoms, Signs, Causes,Treatment
An enlarged spleen or splenomegaly, is generally caused by other diseases or conditions such as infections, cancers, blood disorders, or decreased blood flow. Symptoms of an enlarged spleen are often unnoticed. A feeling of fullness after eating a small amount of food and not being able to eat large meals may be a symptom of an enlarged spleen. Treatment for an enlarged spleen depends upon the cause.
Liver disease can be cause by a variety of things including infection (hepatitis), diseases, for example, gallstones, high cholesterol or triglycerides, blood flow obstruction to the liver, and toxins (medications and chemicals). Symptoms of liver disease depends upon the cause and may include nausea, vomiting, upper right abdominal pain, and jaundice. Treatment depends upon the cause of the liver disease.
Hemophilia is defined as one of a group of inherited bleeding disorders. Hemophilia A and hemophilia B are inherited in an X-linked recessive genetic pattern. Symptoms of hemophilia include bleeding into the: joints, muscles, GI or urinary tract, or brain or skull. Hemophilia treatment generally involves the replacement of blood clotting factors.
Hepatitis A (HAV, Hep A)
Hepatitis means inflammation of the liver. Hepatitis A (HAV, Hep A) is one type of liver disease caused by a virus. Since hepatitis A is a virus, it can pass from person to person from eating or drinking contaminated food or coming into contact with contaminated materials containing the virus. Symptoms of hepatitis A include stomach pain, diarrhea, dark yellow urine, jaundice, and more. There is a vaccine to prevent contracting hepatitis A.
Fatigue can be described in various ways. Sometimes fatigue is described as feeling a lack of energy and motivation (both mental and physical). The causes of fatigue are generally related to a variety of conditions or diseases, for example, anemia, mono, medications, sleep problems, cancer, anxiety, heart disease, and drug abuse.Treatment of fatigue is generally directed toward the condition or disease that is causing the fatigue.
Bile Duct Cancer (Cholangiocarcinoma)
Bile duct cancer (cholangiocarcinoma) is a rare type of cancer that arises from cells that line the drainage system from the liver and gallbladder to the intestine. Symptoms of bile duct cancer include jaundice, itching, weight loss, and abdominal pain. Physical examination, specialized blood tests, and imaging tests may be used to diagnose bile duct cancer. Treatment for bile duct cancer may include chemotherapy, radiation therapy, and photodynamic therapy. Bile duct cancer typically has a poor prognosis. Preventing liver damage may decrease the risk of developing bile duct cancer.
Liver cancer is cancer of the liver cells (hepatocellular carcinoma) or of the ducts in the liver (cholangiocarcinoma). Liver cancer often arises due to liver damage, cirrhosis (scarring) caused by alcohol use/abuse, hepatitis B, or hepatitis C. Liver cancer may not cause any symptoms. Liver cancer is diagnosed with blood tests, imaging tests, and a liver biopsy. Treatment for liver cancer may include surgery, ablation, embolization, radiation, chemotherapy, and targeted therapy.
Is Hepatitis Contagious?
Hepatitis means "inflammation of the liver," and there are several different types of such as A, B, C, D, and E. Some types of hepatitis are contagious and some types are not. Hepatitis symptoms vary upon the type of disease; however, the following symptoms may develop in someone with hepatitis: fatigue, nausea and vomiting, abdominal pain and discomfort, jaundice (yellowing of the skin and whites of the eyes), and loss of appetite. Treatment for hepatitis depends upon the cause. Some types of hepatitis have a vaccine to prevent spread of disease such as hepatitis A and B.
Is Hepatitis A Contagious?
Hepatitis means inflammation of the liver. Hepatitis A is one type of hepatitis. Hepatitis is transmitted through person to person contact, contaminated ice, vegetables, fruits, and untreated water. Hepatitis A can be prevented by the hepatitis A vaccine. Symptoms of hepatitis A may include nausea and/or vomiting, fever, loss of appetite, abdominal pain, dark urine, clay-colored stools, jaundice (yellowish color to skin and/or eyes, or joint pain.
Is Hepatitis B Contagious?
Hepatitis B is a type of liver infection. Hepatitis B is spread through person-to-person contact or through personal items like razors, toothbrushes, etc. Symptoms of hepatitis B include fever, yellowish skin (jaundice), dark urine, fatigue, nausea, and vomiting. There is no drug to cure hepatitis B; however, there is a hepatitis B vaccine available.
Are Bedbugs Contagious?
Bedbugs are brown wingless insects that feed on human blood. The are typically found around a person's sleeping area. Bedbugs feed a nighttime. A series of bedbug bites may appear like a rash. Eradicating a bedbug infestation will usually require the services of an exterminator.
Bilirubin is a waste product of the normal breakdown of red blood cells in the liver. Normal bilirubin levels vary from lab to lab, and range from around 0.2 to 1.2 mg/dL. High levels of bilirubin can be diagnosed with a bilirubin blood test. Causes of elevated levels of bilirubin in the blood can be caused by infections, viral hepatitis, anemia, genetic diseases, and liver problems. Symptoms of elevated bilirubin levels depend on the cause; however, jaundice is a common sign. Treatment for elevated bilirubin levels depend on the cause.
Local ResourcesFind a local Gastroenterologist in your town
Treatment & Diagnosis
- STD FAQs
- Liver Disease FAQs
- Abdominal Pain Causes
- Chronic Viral Hepatitis, Alcoholism, Cirrhosis Linked to Liver Cancer
- Coping with a Bad Disease - Community Counts
- Shelley Fabares: Illness and Liver Transplant
- Neonatal Sepsis (Sepsis Neonatorum)
- Do You Need Vaccinations Before Traveling Abroad?
- Doctors Answer Digestion Questions
- Ask the Experts - Gastroentrology (Digestion)
Medications & Supplements
- lamivudine (3tc) (Epivir; Epivir HBV)
- licorice (Glycyrrhiza glabra)
- hepatitis A vaccine (Havrix, Vaqta)
- adefovir dipivoxil - oral, Hepsera
- hepatitis A and hepatitis B (recombinant) vaccine (Twinrix)
- tenofovir - oral, Viread
- hepatitis b vaccine (Recombivax HB)
- Biologics (Biologic Drug Class)
Prevention & Wellness
- Screen Every Pregnant Woman for Hep B: Task Force
- Many Cancer Patients Have Undiagnosed Hepatitis
- Truxima Approved as First Biosimilar to Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma Drug
- Boy Who Died 450 Years Ago Gives Clues to Hepatitis Research
- Can Aspirin Stop Liver Cancer in Hepatitis B Patients?
- Hep B Vaccine Should Be Given Sooner: Pediatricians Group
- Mavyret Approved for Hepatitis C
- U.S. Liver Cancer Deaths Have Doubled Since 1980s: Study
- Better Efforts Could Help Rid the U.S. of Hepatitis B, C: Report
- U.S. Vaccine Guidelines for Flu, HPV Updated
- Tips for Avoiding Back-to-School Germs, Illnesses
- Ridding U.S. of Hepatitis B, C as 'Public Health Problem' Possible: Experts
- HIV Therapy May Also Lower Risk for Hepatitis B, Study Says
- HIV-Infected People Often Do Well After Kidney Transplant
- Research Shows No Link Between Vaccinations, Risk for Multiple Sclerosis
- Most U.S. Babies Get Their Vaccines: CDC
- Task Force Recommends Hep B Screening for High-Risk People
- Could Coffee Lower Death Risk From Liver Cirrhosis?
- Hepatitis B Screening Proposed for All High-Risk Adults
- Many U.S. Adults Not Getting Key Vaccines: CDC
- Hepatitis B Vaccination Cuts Deaths From Liver Disease, Cancer: Study
- Millions of Americans Have an STD: Report
- Childhood Vaccine Schedule Is Safe, Report Says
- Hepatitis: The Hidden Hazard
- Aspirin May Reduce Risk of Liver Cancer, Death From Liver Disease
- Antiviral Therapy May Cut Recurrence of Hepatitis B-Linked Liver Cancer
- Follow-Up Lacking for Babies After Hepatitis B Vaccination: CDC
- Childhood Vaccination Rates Remain High, CDC Says
- Are Kindergarten Kids Getting Their Vaccines?
- Vaccinations Belong on Parents' Back-to-School Checklists
- Poor Sleep Hampers Vaccine Effectiveness: Study
- Surgeons Seek Repeal of Transplant Ban Between HIV-Positive People
- Hepatitis B Infection Rates in U.S. Higher Than Thought
- Infection Causes 1 in 6 Cancers Worldwide: Study
- Hepatitis C Now Kills More Americans Than HIV
- Too Few American Adults Getting Needed Vaccinations: CDC
- Statins May Stave Off Liver Cancer in People With Hepatitis B
- Many U.S. Adults Not Vaccinated for Hepatitis B
- Researchers Identify Liver Cancer Risk Factors
- Hepatitis B Vaccine Recommended for Adults With Diabetes
- Cancer Risk Doubles After Organ Transplant, Study Finds
- Panel Recommends Hepatitis B Vaccine for Diabetes Patients
- Shark-Derived Drug May Treat Viruses
- CDC: Vaccination Rates for Toddlers Rising
- Report: Vaccines Generally Safe, Cause Few Health Problems
- Vaccination Rate for Kindergarten Kids Is Over 90%
- Simple Steps to Prevent Common Cancers
- How to Use Pills to Prevent HIV
- No Ill Effects When Kids Get Vaccines on Time
- Breastfeeding Cuts Fever Risk After Vaccines
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