HBV Test: Normal Range, Procedure and Result
Among the various major organs in the human body, the liver is one of the most important. The liver is also responsible for processing waste and carrying it to the right orifices. It also manages the levels of various chemicals in the body. Therefore, any affliction to this organ can be alarming. There are five main types of conditions that can affect the liver: Hepatitis A, Hepatitis B, Hepatitis C, Hepatitis D, and Hepatitis E. In order to identify Hepatitis B, something known as an HBV test is performed on the patient. Its meaning, procedure, risks, results, and more will be examined in this blog.
What is an HBV Test?
It is a form of test to check if you have a hepatitis B virus (HBV/HBsAg) infection in your body. It primarily screens for hepatitis B surface antigens in your bloodstream. These are a form of antibody that is only formed during a hepatitis B infection. Hence, their presence in the blood indicates a clear sign of the condition.
Who Needs HBV Test?
Since it is geared toward testing people with Hepatitis B, before performing an HBV test, it is important to understand some of the symptoms of this condition. A person infected with the virus can not show symptoms for months. Furthermore, most people who have the disease don’t have major symptoms initially or will have flu-like symptoms at the most.
However, real indicators might surface after a few months, such as:
- Nausea: An overwhelming sensation to vomit or purge any food or fluid you have consumed.
- Loss of appetite: A natural side effect of nausea.
- Muscle aches: A malfunctioning liver can cause muscle aches.
- Jaundice: Since the liver processes waste, a poor-functioning liver will lead to waste buildup in the body, which will surface as a form of jaundice.
- Fever: A common symptom of many infections.
- Discoloured urine: Closely related to poor waste management.
- Abdominal Pain
Who is at Risk of Getting this infection?
It is advised to also take the test if you come under any of the following risk factor categories:
- Have had sexual intercourse with someone who has HBV, as it can be transmitted via seminal or vaginal fluids
- Had close contact with someone who is afflicted with the virus
- Are a child to a parent who has or had HBV
- Are an intravenous drug user
- Are exposed to blood on a regular basis, such as healthcare sector workers
- Have recently gotten an organ transplant or a blood transfusion
Apart from having symptoms or falling into one of these high-risk categories, you should also opt for an HBsAg test if you already have the infection and the doctor has to monitor your progress.
Procedure For an HBV Test
The procedure for an HBV test is fairly simple. The doctor or medical personnel will insert a needle in your arm to draw blood from a vein. Once enough blood has been collected for testing, the needle is withdrawn and the sample is sent to a lab for analysis. There are no major risks pertaining to the procedure. You will feel a sharp sensation when the needle enters your arm. The piercing can leave bruises, cause some minor bleeding, or lead to some lightheadedness at worst. Make sure to adequately eat and drink after the test to keep any side effects to a minimum.
There is also no special procedure to prepare for the test. However, ensure that your doctor knows about all medicines and supplements you take before the test, including intravenous drug use, as it can impact the test results.
What Do The Test Results Mean?
One might get primarily two results during an HBV test: either they are positive or reactive, or they are negative or non-reactive. The former implies that hepatitis B surface antigens were found in the bloodstream, whereas the latter implies the opposite. For those who tested HBsAg positive, there is no need to be alarmed. Most cases of hepatitis B infection last only for about 6 months. After this period, they develop immunity to the condition. Furthermore, they can’t spread it to other healthy individuals.
However, for those who have had the virus for more than 6 months, some medical intervention might be required. In this case, the hepatitis B infection is chronic and, if left untreated, will lead to more serious complications such as liver cirrhosis. Moreover, they can also infect other healthy individuals.
Common Treatments For Chronic Hepatitis B Infection
Those who have a chronic infection might need to follow some medication and treatment plans for the rest of their lives. In this section, three such treatment plans are discussed.
Antiviral medicines: Your healthcare provider might offer some antiviral drugs such as entecavir, tenofovir, lamivudine, adefovir, and telbivudine. When consumed orally, these drugs can reduce the effect of the virus and also reduce the rate of liver damage.
Interferon injections: Interferon is a naturally-occurring substance in the body in response to severe infection. Those who have hepatitis B might be given this substance exogenously in the form of injections. It is also ideal for women who have this condition and wish to have children in the future. However, when this treatment is being administered, they must make sure to use appropriate contraception. This drug also has marked side effects such as nausea, breathing problems, and even depression.
Liver transplant: In extreme cases where the patient’s liver is beyond repair, a liver transplant might be the only viable solution. In this procedure, a surgeon will remove the affected liver and replace it with a new, healthy one. Most healthy livers are given by donors posthumously.
In the end, hepatitis B might seem like a scary condition, but it can be treated and monitored well with the aid of an HBsAg test. If you have any of these symptoms or are at risk of getting them, then get in touch with us at Metropolis Health today to undertake an HBV test. A leader in the field of medical diagnostics, our thousands of labs across several countries are adept at fast and secure sample collection. To find out more about the prices, contact us today.