People with diabetes have higher rates of hepatitis B then the general population.
The hepatitis B virus is usually spread when blood or other body fluids from a person with the hepatitis B virus enters your body. This can occur if you share blood glucose meters, lancets or other diabetes care supplies like syringes or insulin pens.
The hepatitis B virus can also spread through sexual contact and from an infected mother to her baby during childbirth.
What is Hepatitis B?
Hepatitis B is a liver disease. At first, you develop an "acute" infection. Acute hepatitis B is the first 6 months after being infected. Some people can fight the virus and clear the infection.
For others, the infection remains and leads to a "chronic" or lifelong, illness. Over time, this can cause serious damage to the liver and lead to complications.
What Can I Do?
- Prevent exposure to hepatitis B by not sharing diabetes care equipment.
- The best way to prevent hepatitis B is by getting vaccinated. The CDC recommends hepatitis B vaccination for all unvaccinated adults with diabetes younger than 60 years of age. The hepatitis B vaccine is given as a series of 3 shots over a period of 6 months (0,1, 6 month schedule). The entire series is needed for long-term protection.
- If you have not received the hepatitis B vaccine series talk to your doctor about getting vaccinated. If you think you have already been vaccinated, confirm with your doctor.
- CDC hepatitis B information
- Diabetes and Hepatitis B Vaccination - Information for Diabetes Educators (PDF)
Last Reviewed: June 7, 2013
Last Edited: July 15, 2013
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