Hepatitis B- risks and solutions





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     Hepatitis B (also known as viral hepatitis B) is an acute or chronic swelling or necrosis of the hepatocellular tissues caused by the hepatitis B virus, which can have serious consequences such as cirrhosis or liver cancer.

     People with hepatitis B can be divided into two groups: acute hepatitis B and chronic hepatitis B.

- Acute Hepatitis B: Patients suffering from jaundice, fatigue, nausea, abdominal pain, anorexia. Hepatocyte may be damaged severely, which leads to liver failure (this rate is relatively low 1%). Often, after an acute hepatitis B infection, if the virus is not removed from the body, it can lead to chronic Hepatitis B.

- Chronic Hepatitis B: Patients usually do not have clear signs of symptoms until liver disease progresses to cirrhosis, or liver cancer.

     Chronic hepatitis B is called the "silent killer" because symptoms are often unclear . When clinical symptoms become obvious, patients have already progressed to late stages of the disease with severe liver damage.

The status of hepatitis B virus infection

In the world:

     According to a report by the Asian Liver Center - Stanford University in 2016, despite the availability of hepatitis B vaccine since 1982, there are still around 600,000 deaths each year worldwide due to hepatitis B.

     At present, about 240 million people are infected with chronic hepatitis B. If no follow-up and interventions are available, about a quarter of them may die from liver disease such as cirrhosis, liver cancer, etc.

    The Western Pacific and Southeast Asia are the two regions with the highest number of hepatitis B infections in the world, accounting for 80% of people with chronic hepatitis B.

In Viet Nam

      In Vietnam, the prevalence of hepatitis B is very high, with an average of one  of eight people is infected with chronic hepatitis B. This is also one of the main causes of serious liver diseases, especially liver cancer.

     Liver cancer is one of the leading causes of cancer death in Vietnam. About 40% of deaths from liver cancer are related to hepatitis B.

Paths of Infection

     Hepatitis B virus which exists in blood and body fluids can be transmitted in 3 ways: from mother to child at birth, through blood, and through unprotected sex.

- From mother to child

Hepatitis B can be transmitted from mother to child at birth. This is the most common path of infection in Vietnam and is the most common cause of hepatitis B. Many pregnant women do not know that they have hepatitis B because of no symptoms and test.

-  Transmitted through blood

Hepatitis B can be spread by direct contact with infected blood. For example:

• Direct contact between the wounds

• Use shared razors and toothbrushes which have infected blood

• Reuse of needles or medical instruments

• Unsafe blood transfusion

- Transmitted through sexual intercourse

Hepatitis B can be spread through sexual intercourse without a condom. Although using condom may reduce the risk of hepatitis B transmission, the best way to prevent hepatitis B is still vaccination.

Control measures

      Full vaccination against hepatitis B can provide long-lasting immunity, which can prevent liver cancer.

      For people who have been infected with the chronic hepatitis B virus, there is no complete cure. Current drugs mainly inhibit the virus and reduce the risk of cirrhosis, liver cancer.

      In order to be healthy, people with hepatitis B virus should have not only regular medical examination and liver function test but also need healthy lifestyle combined with detoxification measures to reduce the burden on the liver. In the condition of the liver damaged by hepatitis B virus, the liver function is reduced, so the use of detoxification measures will help slow down the progression of the disease.  


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