Symptoms of Acute and Chronic Hepatitis B

Illustration of acute hepatitis

Hepatitis B is an illness brought about by the hepatitis B virus (HBV). This disease attacks the human liver. Infection due to the hepatitis B virus can become chronic and cause death if not treated immediately. The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that around 296 million people suffered from chronic hepatitis B in 2019 with an increase of 1.5 million sufferers every year. Hepatitis B is a disease that will become dangerous if it is not immediately recognized and treated. What symptoms of hepatitis B are worth recognizing? For more details, see the following article!

Hepatitis B Symptoms

Symptoms of short-term (acute) hepatitis B in sufferers are not always visible or just appear. Most sufferers do not experience any symptoms when newly infected. New sufferers will develop symptoms 1 to 6 months after being infected with the virus. Hepatitis B symptoms will last for weeks or even months. Symptoms that commonly appear in patients with hepatitis B include:

1. Jaundice

Jaundice is the term for yellowing of the eye area and skin. Hepatitis B sufferers tend to have yellow skin. Apart from that, the white area of the eyeball also becomes yellow. This is because the liver cannot work optimally so that the substance bilirubin cannot be processed properly, this substance causes the sufferer's body to turn yellow.

2. Change in Urine Color

Changes in urine color will occur in people with hepatitis B. The color of the patient's urine will change to darker, such as orange or brown. Apart from that, the color of the feces will also become lighter or paler. Color changes in urine and feces are caused by the liver being unable to process the bilirubin in the blood so that the amount becomes excessive.

3. Fatigue

Fatigue is one of the characteristic symptoms of hepatitis B sufferers. It is easier for sufferers to feel tired when doing activities. The fatigue experienced is usually extreme. This fatigue is usually followed by pain in the muscle area.

4. Stomach Problems

Stomach problems often occur in hepatitis B sufferers. The stomach will feel pain more often than usual. Sufferers will also experience unnatural nausea and vomiting. Apart from that, hepatitis B sufferers will also experience loss of appetite.

5. Fever

Fever is another characteristic that can be characterized by hepatitis B sufferers. Hepatitis B sufferers will experience a high fever that lasts for several weeks. In some sufferers, they also experience itching on their bodies as a symptom of hepatitis B.

The signs of hepatitis B will not differ between men and women. This also applies to children, especially children under 5 years of age. It is known that 1 in 3 hepatitis B sufferers do not know that they are infected. They find out when the sufferer has a blood test. For pregnant women, it is important for them to be tested for hepatitis B so that the baby in their womb is not infected with the same virus.

Chronic Symptoms of Hepatitis B

Chronic symptoms of hepatitis B will be experienced if the sufferer has been infected for a long time. About 1 in 20 people who contract hepatitis B as adults become "carriers," meaning they have chronic hepatitis B infection and will carry it throughout their lives. “Carriers” have a greater chance of transmitting hepatitis B to others. Symptoms of long-term (chronic) infection (HBV) also do not always appear and may be the same as symptoms of HBV in general or acute. Chronic hepatitis B sufferers tend to develop other serious liver diseases, such as cirrhosis and liver cancer. It is known that as many as 1 in 5 people with hepatitis B die due to these complications.

Duration of Hepatitis B Symptoms

How long do hepatitis B symptoms last? In general, the symptoms of this disease in adults will last for 1 to 3 months. This is known as acute hepatitis and rarely causes serious problems. However, if the viral infection lasts for 6 months or more, then this is called chronic hepatitis. Symptoms of chronic hepatitis tend to be mild and may come and go, but some sufferers also have no symptoms.

Symptoms that last a long time or even sufferers without symptoms, if not treated, will cause serious complications. Patients with acute hepatitis can experience liver failure and this can cause death. Other long-term complications of hepatitis B virus infection are cirrhosis and hapatocellular carcinoma. This complicated disease can cause high morbidity and mortality.

Hepatitis B is a disease caused by a virus and attacks the liver. Symptoms of acute and chronic hepatitis B generally look the same. Symptoms that appear are characterized by yellowing of the eyes and skin, changes in urine color, extreme fatigue, stomach problems, and high fever. These symptoms can appear in adult sufferers and children, both men and women.

In some hepatitis sufferers, symptoms of the disease do not appear so examinations, such as blood tests, are needed to recognize it. So far, hepatitis B already has a vaccine that can be given to children and adults. Apart from that, there are several other types of treatment that can be given to relieve the symptoms of hepatitis B you are suffering from. If you find some of the symptoms above, it's a good idea to immediately contact a doctor so you get the right treatment.

Has been reviewed by Dr. Azifa Anisatul Umma


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