People with hepatitis B can sometimes develop serious liver problems. These mostly affect people with an untreatedlong-term (chronic) infection.
Some of the main problems associated with hepatitis B are outlined below.
Scarring of the liver (cirrhosis) affects aroundone in five people with chronic hepatitis B, often many years after they firstgot the infection.
Cirrhosis doesn't usually cause any noticeable symptoms until extensive damage to the liver has occurred, when it can cause:
There's currently no cure for cirrhosis, although it's possible to manage the symptoms and slow its progression.If the liver becomes severely damaged,a liver transplant may be needed.
People with cirrhosis caused by hepatitis B have around a 1 in 20 chance of developing liver cancer every year.
Symptoms of liver cancer include:
Treatment for liver cancer may involve surgery to remove the affected section of liver, a procedure to destroy the cancerous cells, or a liver transplant.
In less than 1 in 100 cases, short-term (acute) hepatitis B can lead to a serious problem calledfulminant hepatitis B.
This is where the immune system attacks the liver and causes extensive damage to it.
It can lead to symptoms such as:
Fulminant hepatitis Bcancause the liver to stop working properly and is often fatal if not treated quickly.
Read about hepatitis B, an infection of the liver that's caused by a virus. Find out about the symptoms, causes, treatments and risks of the condition.
Read about the main symptoms of hepatitis B and how long they usually last.
You can become infected with hepatitis B if you're not immune to the virus and you come into contact with infected blood or body fluids.