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What is HBsAg – know the Causes, Symptoms, and Diagnosis

HBsAg test is a blood test for Hepatitis B that indicates if you have it. It can also tell you if your current blood cells have been infected with the virus. This article will explore the causes, symptoms, and diagnosis of HBsAg and HBsAg tests.

The Causes:

This is a common question people often ask, but there are many possible causes of HBsAg in individuals ranging from age to their immune system to malnourishment or malnutrition.

Some of these are as follows-

  • Age: 

The older you get the more likely it is that you will have HBV.

  • Infection with hepatitis B in your past: 

If a person has been infected with hepatitis B before and infected then there is a chance it can go away and come back again.

  • Vaccination: 

If a person has been vaccinated for hepatitis B (5-10 years) or if someone takes too much vaccine, it can increase their HBsAg levels. That person must go for the HBsAg test after consultation.

  • Diet

It is not completely understood, but a person’s diet can affect their immune system. This can result in an increased HBsAg level or a decreased level. There is also data to suggest that it decreases the chance of them getting hepatitis B when on a diet.

  • Intense viral strain: 

People with hepatitis B who have been infected multiple times will have a more severe infection than those who were infected only once. Because of this, they can have higher levels of HBsAg.

  • Drugs or medications

The chemicals in your body from the drugs and medications you are taking can affect your immune system. This can increase HBsAg.

  • Other diseases

Diseases such as cancer, diabetes, and cirrhosis can cause an increase in HBsAg. Also, many chronic health issues such as arthritis and multiple sclerosis are known to affect the immune system which can cause an increase in HBsAg levels.

The Symptoms:

As a general rule, there are no specific symptoms that are associated with the HBV infection, but there are a few different things to be aware of. Before having an HBV infection, it is common for the individual to have a sore throat or diarrhea. At this point, it can become difficult to determine if your sore throat or diarrhea is caused by the virus or another condition you might have.

When someone has a hepatitis B infection, they will develop symptoms such as:

  • Jaundice (yellowing of the skin and eyes)
  • Fatigue
  • Fever
  • Dark urine (tea-coloured) or dark stools
  • A yellow tinge to their skin (jaundice)
  • Loss of appetite 

Most people with HBV develop mild, flu-like symptoms lasting several weeks. Of those who do contract it, most can be treated with antiviral medications. While hepatitis B is highly contagious, the virus is not very hardy. It is easily destroyed by exposure to sunlight, detergents, and disinfectants. Go for the HBsAg test as soon as you find something.

The Diagnosis:

  • Testing for HBsAg test precedes all testing for other viruses. This is done because it has been known to be present in 97% of infected individuals.
  • Testing can be done with blood, urine, or stool. It can be difficult to separate a positive result from other causes of hepatitis when testing for the HBsAg test.
  • If you have been exposed to hepatitis B through sharing needles or engaging in unprotected sex with an infected person, then you might see new or worsening symptoms throughout your life.
  • If you are pregnant and are at serious risk for passing HBV on to the baby, then an ultrasound can be done to check for the presence of viruses. It is important to know that there will not be any symptoms for the baby in about 5% of cases.

The Treatment:

The best treatment for HBV is vaccination, but it is not 100% effective. About 85% of individuals who are vaccinated will remain protected, but the protection will wear off over time. It’s also important to know that if you have received a vaccination and then engage in behaviour that puts you at risk for infection (sharing needles, unprotected sex), you can still become infected.

  • Your doctor may also prescribe antiviral medications for you if you are not able to get a vaccination.
  • If your immune system is weakened from another condition, then your doctor might recommend that you take antiviral medications as a preventative measure. This is especially true for people with HIV/AIDS, organ transplants, and cancer patients.
  • There are no cures at this time.
  • One thing to keep in mind is that HBV can be spread through blood-to-blood contact. This means that needles, blood transfusions, and organ transplants can all make it easier to spread the virus. The best way to avoid becoming infected is to avoid engaging in behaviors that put you at risk for infection. This includes unprotected sex, using razors with another person’s blood on them after they have shaved, and sharing needles.


If you know you have been exposed to the HBsAg test and do not have a vaccination, your doctor may recommend antiviral medications as a preventative measure.

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