1. Saddler, Delores MSN, RN, CGRN

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Living With Hepatitis B is written by a practicing hepatologist and a hepatitis patient. It is written for laypersons with hepatitis B and their families. The book is forwarded by a hepatitis B patient who happens to be a physician. The overall tone of the book is very positive and upbeat, with a hope toward the future and a cure for the disease. Although other books have been written on this subject, the authors feel confident that they have answered many, if not all, of the questions and concerns posed by patients with hepatitis B and their family members.


The information is broken down into 13 chapters as follows:


1. What is Hepatitis B? An introduction


2. When you have hepatitis B. Understanding the diagnosis: Blood tests and biopsies


3. Why me? What about them? How you got infected and how to avoid infecting others


4. Learning about your liver: Your body's chemical factory. Liver facts and liver disease symptoms


5. Taking care of yourself nutritionally: Guidelines for healthy nutrition in liver disease


6. Taking care of yourself emotionally: Emotional challenges of chroni illness


7. Taking care of yourself financially: An overview


8. Treatment for Hepatitis B: Interferon, lamivudine, and adefovir


9. Liver transplants: A miracle of modern medicine


10. Liver cancer: Are you at risk?


11. HIV/AIDS, hepatitis C, and celta co-infection: Triple trouble


12. Children with hepatitis B: A growing problem


13. Research trends: Hope for the future



Synopses of a few of the chapters are as follows.


Chapter 1, the Introduction, is written by Dr. Everson and contains definitions of hepatitis, hepatitis B, and hepatitis B virus. While Dr. Everson makes an effort to make this chapter as basic as possible, it seems a bit much for the average nonmedically oriented person. Emphasis on DNA, laboratory results, and diagrams attempt to make this complicated diagnosis clear. He does make several notations that the reader should consult their physician for any questions. His examples of how some people became infected are very eye opening. He ends the chapter on a positive note, as he is very positive about a cure.


Chapter 4 gives an overview of the anatomy and physiology of the liver. It also talks about phases of hepatitis B, pathophysiology, and 10 danger signs of liver disease (very easy reading). The section that covers conditions associated with hepatitis B gets a little more technical.


Chapter 8 goes into great detail about medications, including the history, pros and cons, and testimonials. It also covers information about the hepatitis vaccine. Chapter 12 gives discussions, testimonials, and many references for parents of children with hepatitis B. Again, the author refers the reader to their child's pediatrician for information and specific treatment questions.


There are several tables, graphs, and diagrams in the book. Some are very technical, but some (one example, the nutrition chapter) are very helpful. While most of this information is helpful and informative, it seems too overwhelming for the layperson.


While the authors say that this book is written for laypersons with hepatitis B and their families, one would need to have a solid background or basic knowledge of anatomy and physiology, medications, laboratory values, treatment options, and associated care and management options to make this book readable. While it is a good resource for those with this background and even for healthcare professionals, it is definitely not bedside reading for the average layperson.