Hepatitis B

At the Henry Ford Liver Disease Center, our experienced, multidisciplinary team offers comprehensive care for hepatitis B patients, from prevention to innovative treatments that aren’t available anywhere else.

Learn more about antiviral drugs for hepatitis B at Henry Ford.

What is hepatitis B?

Hepatitis B is a serious and highly contagious form of hepatitis caused by the hepatitis B virus. Hepatitis B, if left unchecked, can cause life-threatening liver failure or liver cancer. However, there are very effective therapies for hepatitis B.

Hepatitis B causes and risk factors

The hepatitis B virus (HBV) causes hepatitis B. HBV is transmitted from one person to another through infected body fluid. Anyone can catch it. However, there are certain groups at higher risk of contracting hepatitis B, including:

  • Certain ethnic or racial groups including African-Americans, Asians, Pacific Islanders, Hispanics, American Indians and Alaskan Natives
  • People native to countries outside of the U.S., including Eastern Europeans, Africans and Arabs
  • People who have sex with people infected with hepatitis B
  • People who live with carriers of the hepatitis B virus
  • Drug users who share needles, syringes or other equipment
  • Health care workers who come in contact with blood and blood products
  • Babies infected before birth by mothers carrying the virus, although this is unusual

Hepatitis B symptoms

Many people transmit the hepatitis B virus to others without ever knowing it. Among those who do get sick, symptoms can include:

  • Fever
  • Achiness and malaise (vague sense of physical discomfort)
  • Loss of appetite
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Jaundice (yellowing of the skin and eyes)
  • Pain just below the ribs on the right side, especially when pressure is applied
  • Dark urine
  • Pale bowel movements

Hepatitis B complications

Up to 4 to 5 percent of adults and 90 percent of infants infected with hepatitis B can develop chronic hepatitis, a long-lasting condition that can badly damage the liver. Chronic hepatitis B can cause:

How is Hepatitis B diagnosed?

At Henry Ford, we have extensive experience in the diagnosis of hepatitis B. Our diagnostic tools include:

  • Blood tests
  • FibroScan: FibroScan is a noninvasive test that stages hepatitis B. It offers immediate results. We are one of just a few centers in the state with FibroScan.
  • Liver Biopsy: Your liver specialist will insert a thin needle into your liver and remove a small tissue sample for laboratory analysis.

Learn more about liver disease diagnosis at Henry Ford.

Hepatitis B vaccine and treatments at Henry Ford

We offer treatments tailored to you in both straight-forward and difficult-to-treat cases of viral hepatitis. Treatments may include:

Learn more about treatments at Henry Ford.

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