Complications of Chronic Hepatitis B (CHB)
Dr. Shanthi Vijayaraghavan
Porur, Bengaluru Mar 19, 2019
Hepatitis is a general medical term that refers to inflammation of the liver. Both infectious and noninfectious virus can cause inflammation of the liver.
What is Hepatitis B?
Hepatitis B is an inflammation caused by the virus Hepatitis B in the liver. The Hepatitis B virus can transfer from one person to another through semen, blood, and other body fluids.
If the hepatitis B infection lasts more than six months, you may have discovered a Chronic Hepatitis B. This does not allow your immune system to fight with the virus. Infants and young children are more prone to Chronic Hepatitis B (CHB), which is not curable but can be treated by using therapy.
A patient with chronic hepatitis B may develop serious health problems which are mentioned below in detail:
Cirrhosis (scarring of the liver) may develop in people with chronic hepatitis B. The damage caused to the liver by cirrhosis cannot be undone. An advanced cirrhosis is life-threatening.
Symptoms of cirrhosis are unnoticeable until the damage of the liver is extensive. When it occurs, you may notice:
- Redness in the palms of the hands
- Itchy skin
- Fluid accumulation in your abdomen
- Easy bruising or bleeding
- Weight loss
- For men, breast enlargement, loss of sex drive, or testicular atrophy
- For women, loss of periods that is not related to menopause
- Loss of appetite
- Yellow discoloration in the eyes and skin (jaundice)
- Spider-like blood vessels in your skin
- Hepatic encephalopathy
There is no cure for cirrhosis, although you can make some lifestyle changes to manage the symptoms of cirrhosis and slow its progression.
When you discover cirrhosis caused by hepatitis B, there are chances that you may also develop liver cancer. It occurs when malignant cells spread to the liver.
The common symptoms of liver cancer include:
- Fatigue (tiredness and weakness)
- Unexplained loss of weight and appetite
- Pain in the upper right side of the abdomen
- Unexplained nausea
- Pale bowel motions or loose stools
For liver cancers, treatment options include surgery (a procedure to remove the affected area of the liver), liver transplantation, and tumor ablation (a method of killing the cancerous cells).
Fulminant Hepatitis B
Hepatitis B is also responsible for developing fulminant hepatitis B. It is a rare syndrome of massive necrosis of liver parenchyma. It also affects the size of the liver (acute yellow atrophy).
Symptoms of Fulminant Hepatitis B
- Severe jaundice
- Swelling of the tummy