Understanding the Silent Killer: Chronic Hepatitis B and its Early Symptoms

2023-07-09 06:00:41

According to the 2015-2016 epidemiological study, it is estimated that about 7.2% of the Hong Kong population has been infected with HBV. Since chronic hepatitis B usually has no obvious symptoms in the early stage, the disease is easily delayed, and when discomfort occurs, it has often deteriorated to liver fibrosis, cirrhosis or liver cancer. “Silent Killer”.

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early symptoms

In an interview with TOPick, Li Darong, a specialist in Gastroenterology and Hepatology, said that he once encountered a male patient who did not have the habit of blood testing when he was young, so he did not know that he was a carrier of hepatitis B. Seek medical attention only for swelling and bloating.

Unexpectedly, after Li Dar-wing examined the man, he found that his condition was very serious. Not only did he have nearly 10 liters of fluid in his abdominal cavity, but he was also accompanied by common complications of hepatitis B, including liver cirrhosis and liver failure. What was even more disturbing was that the MRI scan also revealed that the man had a 10cm liver cancer tumor, which could no longer be surgically removed. It was estimated that the patient had only 3 to 6 months to live.

Li Dar-wing also said that hepatitis B is a chronic hepatitis, liver inflammation may lead to fibrosis, the longer the time, the greater the extent of fibrosis, it may lead to liver cirrhosis, the condition worsens, and can lead to liver failure, and the patient will also have swollen feet, ascites, Bloating, even jaundice. Therefore, he suggested that hepatitis B carriers, starting from their 20s to 30s, should have a blood test every 3 months to six months, and an ultrasound every 6 months to see if there is liver cancer.

2 common checks

Li Dar-wing also said that two of the common liver function tests are blood tests and liver ultrasound tests. The former uses blood tests to measure the concentration of liver enzymes, so as to know whether the liver is inflamed; the latter uses non-invasive tests to allow patients to quickly understand If there is any abnormality in your liver, it should be treated as soon as possible.

Common Drugs

Li Darong pointed out that common hepatitis B treatment drugs, such as Entecavir and Tenofovir disoproxil, have been developed quite maturely and can control the disease. Although they cannot clear the virus, they can greatly reduce the chance of complications; the new generation of Tylenol The side effects of Fovir are also less than before.

Watch out for liver enzymes

Li Dar-wing believes that hepatitis B carriers should pay attention when they are young, because most of them do not have any symptoms when they are young, and they will not know whether their liver enzymes will be high unless they go for a blood test to know whether they have chronic hepatitis B. He reminded that the normal liver enzyme (ALT) standard for women is 19, and the liver enzyme level for men is 30. Generally speaking, when the doctor finds that the patient has chronic hepatitis B, and the viral load is high, it is recommended to take medicine.

▲ Li Darong, a specialist in Gastroenterology and Hepatology (photo by Huang Xintong)

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Reporter: Rong Huiling

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