After you first become infected with the hepatitis B virus:
If your body is able to fight off the hepatitis B infection, any symptoms that you had should go away over a period of weeks to months.
Some people's bodies are not able to completely get rid of the hepatitis B infection. This is called chronic hepatitis B.
Many people who have chronic hepatitis B have few or no symptoms. They may not even look sick. As a result, they may not know they are infected. However, they can still spread the virus to other people.
Symptoms may not appear for up to 6 months after the time of infection. Early symptoms may include:
People with chronic hepatitis may have no symptoms, even though gradual liver damage may be occurring. Over time, some people may develop symptoms of chronic liver damage and cirrhosis of the liver.
The following tests are done to identify and monitor liver damage from hepatitis B:
The following tests are done to help diagnose and monitor people with hepatitis B:
Patients with chronic hepatitis will need ongoing blood tests to monitor their status.
Dienstag JL. Hepatitis B virus infection. N Engl J Med. 2008;359:1486-1500.
Perrillo R. Hepatitis B and D. In: Feldman M, Friedman LS, Brandt LJ, eds. Sleisenger and Fordtran's Gastrointestinal and Liver Disease. 9th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier;2010:chap 78.
Sorrell MF, Belongia EA, Costa J, Gareen IF, Grem JL, Inadomi JM, et al. National Institutes of Health Consensus Development Conference Statement: Management of hepatitis B. Ann Intern Med. 2009;150:104-10.
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