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What Is Hepatitis B?


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What Is Hepatitis B?

Hepatitis B is a virus that affects the liver. In most cases it will only stay in the body for 1-3 months (acute hepatitis).

People with acute hepatitis will often display symptoms such as:

? Flu like symptoms, such as tiredness, aches and a high temperature

? Loss of apatite and weight loss

? Feeling sick

? Being sick

? Diarrhea

? Pain in your upper right hand side

? Yellowing of the skin and eyes (jaundice)

In some cases it stays for up to 6 months or longer and does not cause noticeable symptoms (chronic hepatitis). Fewer than 1 in 20 adults will move from acute to chronic.

Symptoms include:

• Tiredness

• Lack of appetite

• Feeling sick

• Itchy skin

• Abdominal pain

• Muscle and joint pain

Chronic hepatitis B can affect babies and young children: 9 in 10 children with the condition become infected at birth and around 1 in 5 children infected in early childhood will develop a long term infection.

Around 20% of people with chronic hepatitis B will to on to develop scarring of the liver (cirrhosis), which can take 20 years to develop, and around 1 in 10 people with cirrhosis will develop liver cancer.

It is important to mention any persistent symptoms you may notice to a medical professional and discuss any concerns you might have.

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Published July 2013

Sources:

http://www.nhs.uk/Conditions/Hepatitis-B/Pages/Introduction.aspx, Accessed July 1st 2013

http://www.nhs.uk/Conditions/Hepatitis-B/Pages/Symptoms.aspx, Accessed July 1st 2013

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