Liver Disease Archives - AZ Clinical Trials

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Cirrhosis is when the permanent scarring of the liver has replaced the healthy tissue. While cirrhosis is most often associated with chronic alcohol consumption, it is brought about by many types of liver disease. Here’s how you get from liver disease to cirrhosis.

Inflammation to Fibrosis

When you have liver disease, the liver enters into a perilous cycle to heal itself. The immune system sends the signal to repair cells triggering chronic inflammation and to continue depositing collagen. In a healthy liver, the collagen stiffens around the tissue, and any extra is discarded. However, with liver disease, there is no signal to stop the inflammation discarding the excess collagen. So, the inflammation and more deposits of collagen continues. This leads to more liver stiffening and the development of fibrosis.

Fibrosis is when collagen and other proteins build up between the cells. This forms scar tissue which can block or limit blood flow within the liver, eventually starving and killing healthy liver cells. More scar tissue forms, and unlike healthy liver cells, it cannot function or repair itself.

Fibrosis to Cirrhosis

While fibrosis is reversible even into the later stages of liver disease, there is a point where the damage is too significant, and the liver can’t fix itself. No treatment can cure cirrhosis; by staying away from things that could harm your liver further, like liquor, certain drugs, and fatty food, you can help improve some of the scarrings. Treatment for individuals with cirrhosis includes managing its symptoms and treating the underlying cause to prevent liver function from worsening or liver failure. Those with cirrhosis have a high risk of developing liver cancer and eventually needing a transplant.

Our livers are versatile, continuing to work even when they’ve become seriously scarred. Most individuals with liver disease do not know it until routine blood work picks it up or symptoms become present in the later stages. Talk with your doctor about preventative measures you can take if you’re at risk of liver disease.

Regular liver checks are important for those at high risk of liver disease.

Arizona Liver Health offers FREE fibroscans for adults at risk of liver disease. A fibroscan is a quick way to determine the health of your liver and the presence of liver disease. Should your results indicate fatty liver or other liver conditions, our staff will talk with you about enrolling studies that may be an option. To learn more, call us at (480) 470-4000, or fill out a request form online today!

Sources:

https://www.webmd.com/digestive-disorders/understanding-cirrhosis-basic-information

https://liverfoundation.org/for-patients/about-the-liver/the-progression-of-liver-disease/#cirrhosis-severe-scarring


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Having liver disease affects the person with it but also loved ones around them. Often a family member or friend fills the role of meeting a variety of physical and emotional needs. If you are a caregiver for someone with liver disease, here are some tips to help you feel better prepared to handle your loved ones’ needs.

Caregivers Help When Necessary

Most who care for a loved one with liver disease don’t consider themselves a “caregiver” initially. In reality, you play an essential role in your loved one’s life by lending a hand with the following.

Daily Tasks

  • Feeding, bathing, grooming, and dressing.
  • Cleaning, cooking/meal preparation, and running errands.
  • Manage finances/provide financial support
  • Emotional support and companionship

Medical Tasks

  • Keeping medication schedules on time. Examples are giving reminders of dose times. Also, keeping track of supply and need for refills.
  • Recognizing signs and symptoms of worsening liver disease, as well as medication side effects.
  • Manage medical records and schedule their medical appointments.
  • Provide transportation to appointments, shopping, and other events.

Helpful Tips for Managing Caregiver Demands

caregiver

A caregiver manages their loved one’s daily life. Likewise, you are also managing your own family and personal needs. Here are some tips developed from expert advice and others who have cared for those with liver disease:

Daily

  • Ask for help from other family members or friends to help avoid caregiver burnout.
  • Take care of your physical and emotional health too. Take time daily to break away and do something that brings you joy. The better you care for yourself, the better you can care for your loved one.
  • Learn as much as you can about their condition. This way, you become informed of the best ways to help them thrive.

Emotions

  • Take one day at a time and learn ways to manage stress better. Understand that frustration from your loved one isn’t purposeful or personal.
  • Contact your benefits advisor at your workplace to verify what support resources are available. Including free counseling sessions, legal aid, etc.
  • Build a support network to connect with others who are going through the same experiences that you are.

Medical

  • Ensure your healthcare provider has given you a complete understanding of the information provided in each appointment.
  • Talk to your healthcare provider about arranging home care services if needed.

Finances

  • Check with your bank or financial advisor to review any short-term solutions to help with any financial changes causing strain.
  • Meet with other family members to involve everyone in future planning, more importantly, to better allocate financial responsibilities.

Having liver disease and needing the help of a caregiver can be challenging. Your loved one may feel defeated and a burden on you and other loved ones. Participating in clinical research studies can help them give back by advancing medicine for liver disease. Volunteering has been shown to counteract symptoms of anxiety, depression and boost confidence.

Invest in your liver health

If your loved one has liver disease, enrolling liver disease research studies here at Arizona Liver Health may be an option. For more information, call us at (480) 470-4000, or visit our website.

Sources:

https://www.liver.ca/patients-caregivers/for-caregivers/

https://liverfoundation.org/caregivers/tips-for-caregivers/


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The number of U.S. adults with non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) currently sits around 25%. Approximately 2-3% of them will go on to develop non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH). NASH is a more severe form of NAFLD and can lead to fibrosis, cirrhosis, and liver failure. By 2030, it is estimated this number will increase from 2-3% to up to 63%. Among the ethnic groups affected, Hispanic populations face the most significant risk of liver disease. Here’s why.

Dangers of NASH and Prevalence in Hispanics

NASH often stems from high-sugar, high-fat diets. To compensate, our livers begin storing excess fat. If nothing changes, inflammation occurs over time. Eventually, the inflammation progresses to cirrhosis, liver failure, liver cancer, the need for a liver transplant, and even death. NASH also has a close association with other conditions such as heart disease, which is the leading cause of death in patients.

Thirty million Americans have NASH. The problem is most don’t know it because there typically aren’t any symptoms. Liver disease is a top cause of death among Hispanics, with NAFLD being among the most prevalent type. Hispanics are more often diagnosed in more advanced stages of liver disease and less likely to get help. Hispanic mortality rates are double that of other races.

Risk Factors

Multiple factors are contributing to the disproportionate effects of liver disease on Hispanics. Each element is also a top cause of fatty liver disease. These include:

  • 43% of Hispanics in the U.S. are considered obese
  • 35% of Hispanics in the U.S. have metabolic syndrome
  • Diets high in carbohydrates and sugar
  • Many Hispanics possess the gene variation PNPLA3, which is associated with a heightened risk of NAFLD and NASH

The predisposition of Hispanics to these multiple risk factors further increases their risk higher than other ethnicities.

Be Proactive with Your Liver Health

By knowing the risk, Hispanic individuals can take steps to protect their liver health proactively. You can work with your doctor to routinely check your liver for any changes. Those with NAFLD or NASH can slow, stop, or reverse disease progression through healthier lifestyle changes. Prevention is also possible for at-risk individuals. Here are three lifestyle changes you can start immediately:

  • Maintaining a healthy weight
  • Eating a well-balanced, sensible diet
  • Exercising moderately at least five days a week for 30 minutes or longer

Lifestyle changes are the basis of liver disease treatment and prevention. By reversing the same behaviors that contribute to this condition, you can make a big impact on a healthier, better-functioning liver. The liver is a regenerative organ and can heal itself if caught in time. Don’t wait!

Millions of livers suffer in silence

Arizona Liver Health offers FREE fibroscans for adults at risk of liver disease. A fibroscan is a test that detects the stiffness in a liver to determine fatty liver disease or other conditions. It’s a quick, painless way to evaluate the health of your liver, and the results are immediate. There’s no cure for NASH. As a result, potential treatment options are under investigation in clinical research studies. If your results show the presence of liver disease, our team with review enrolling study options that may help.

Schedule your FREE fibroscan today! Call us at (480) 470-4000, or request an appointment online.

Sources:

https://txliver.com/media/hispanics-and-liver-disease/

https://salud-america.org/the-silent-liver-disease-epidemic-among-latinos/



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