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Difference Between Jaundice and Hepatitis B

Jaundice vs Hepatitis B

Jaundice and hepatitis B can be very different from each other. For one, jaundice is not a disease as opposed to hepatitis B. Jaundice is a sign that can be presented by different medical conditions. Jaundice is described as the yellowing of the skin and sclera (the white part of the eye) and is caused by great levels of bilirubin in the blood. How yellow the skin and sclera can turn will depend on how high the level of bilirubin is. If there is a mild increase in bilirubin levels in the blood, the skin and sclera turn yellowish and then brown if bilirubin levels are significantly high.

Bilirubin is a waste product, and naturally, waste products found in the body are removed through the kidneys or liver. The liver functions in eliminating bilirubin from the blood. When bilirubin enters the hepatic cells, the cells conjugate with bilirubin together with other chemicals. The conjugated bilirubin is naturally eliminated through the feces. Bilirubin that is not removed from the blood is called unconjugated bilirubin.

Jaundice primarily occurs if there is too much bilirubin produced in the liver that the rate of its production exceeds the rate of its elimination. It can also occur as result of liver dysfunction where the elimination of bilirubin is prevented, and it may be a result of the blockage of the bile ducts which interfere with the bile and bilirubin flow from the liver to the intestines for excretion. Treating this symptom will focus on targeting its underlying cause.

On the other hand, hepatitis B is a disease, specifically an inflammation of the liver. The inflammation may result from an infection, alcohol overexposure, immune system disorder, or toxicity from medications. Hepatitis B is caused by a virus, and the condition can take an acute or chronic form.

People who carry the hepatitis B virus may not get sick or die from the virus, but they can spread this virus to other people through infected bodily fluids, such as blood, semen, vaginal discharge,  etc.

The liver is the organ involved in jaundice and hepatitis B. The liver is an important organ that helps clear the body of toxic substances, helping with proper absorption of nutrients from the foods we eat, producing certain substances that naturally fight off infections, and producing substances that are essential for blood clotting. If the liver continues to get damaged, it may become stiff and scarred. When this happens to the liver, it may no longer be able to carry out its normal functions and may result to liver failure. Hepatitis B is a serious medical condition that has affected many people. The symptoms for acute hepatitis may include: fever, loss of appetite, body aches, nausea and vomiting, dark urine, and finally jaundice.

Hepatitis B does not have a specific cure. Acute infections may subside with time. Though antiviral drugs may prevent the virus from causing more damage, it is not considered a cure. However, hepatitis B is a preventable condition. There are vaccines that help protect people from getting this viral disease.

Summary:

  1. Jaundice is a term given to the yellow discoloration of the skin and sclera.
  2. Jaundice is a symptom and not a disease as opposed to hepatitis B which is an inflammatory disease of the liver.
  3. Jaundice is a common symptom of hepatitis B.
  4. Jaundice and hepatitis B have something in common: they involve the major body organ which is the liver.
  5. The treatment for jaundice focuses on addressing the underlying causes while treatment for hepatitis B focuses on eradication of the virus or stopping the rapid progression of the disease.

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1 Comment

  1. Highly descriptive post, I enjoyed that a lot.
    Will there be a part 2?

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