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What are the most important facts about hepatitis B?

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Quick Answer

The most important facts about hepatitis B are that it's a viral liver infection that spreads through body fluids and blood, informs WebMD. Sharing needles and having unprotected sex with someone who has the infection are two of the most likely ways that it spreads.

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Although the infection itself isn't fatal because the body's immune system can fight it off with the help of a vaccine and an immune protein, it can severely harm the liver, explains WebMD. Hepatitis B scars and damages the liver, interfering with that organ's normal functioning. Eventually, it can lead to liver cancer or liver failure. If caught in time, the virus has little effect on the liver, but some who get it develop a chronic infection, meaning that it continues to harm the liver even after treatment. Others can become carriers, spreading it to others without experiencing any ill effects themselves.

Yellowing of the eyes and skin, discolored stool, fatigue, nausea and abdominal pain are all warning signs of a possible hepatitis B infection, states WebMD. An individual with these symptoms needs to visit a medical professional immediately for treatment. Individuals with liver damage need to drink very little alcohol, discontinue drug use, and eat a healthy diet to keep the liver as healthy as possible.

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