As a Hepatitis B carrier, how is my life and life expectancy affected?
Most people with chronic hepatitis B infection, otherwise also known as hepatitis B carriers, live normally and have a normal life expectancy. They participate in all kinds of activities and sports and in most countries in the world, gainfully employed in various industries.
There are a few points which a hepatitis B carrier should take note to ensure they remain well. The most important is to have regular reviews with their doctors. This is because the term "carrier" tends to wrongly suggest a benign course and most people who are chronically infected with hepatitis B feel well. The misguided assumption that the medical reviews are useless comes with a hefty price.
Possible complications of chronic hepatitis B infection includes slow inflammation of the liver, progressing to liver hardening, also known as liver cirrhosis. Once the liver hardens, it will fail to function normally and may result in jaundice, abdominal swelling as well as vomiting fresh blood. Liver cancer can develop silently in many cases without regular monitoring. These complications will drastically affect one's life expectancy.
Often enough, people with hepatitis B infection require long term oral anti-viral treatment to prevent complications and disease progression. Cancers developed in the liver can also be effectively treated with local regional therapy if discovered early. All the above treatment will achieve their best outcome only if implemented at the right time through regular follow-up investigations and reviews.
- Dr Quan
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