Blog Archives - AZ Clinical Trials

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Hepatitis C is a liver infection from the hepatitis C virus (HCV). For some people, HCV causes short-term illness. However, for more than half, it becomes a long-term, chronic infection that can result in severe and life-threatening health problems. Liver diseases like hepatitis C progressively damage the liver over many years without notice. Learning about how it affects the liver and ways you can prevent and manage it are the best possible steps to fight it.

hepatitis words

How HCV Affects the Liver

The hepatitis C virus spreads by coming into contact with an infected person’s blood. Hepatitis C can cause an acute or chronic infection:

  • Acute hepatitis C
    • Acute hepatitis C is a short-term infection where symptoms can last up to 6 months. In some cases, the body can sometimes fight off the infection, and the virus goes away.
  • Chronic hepatitis C
    • Chronic hepatitis C occurs when the body cannot fight off the virus, resulting in a long-lasting infection. Around 75 to 85 percent of people with acute hepatitis C will develop chronic hepatitis C.

Abdominal pain-HepC

Symptoms of hepatitis C include:

  • Dark yellow urine
  • Fatigue
  • Fever
  • Gray-colored stools
  • Pain in the joints
  • Decrease in appetite
  • Nausea
  • Abdominal pain
  • Vomiting
  • Yellowing of the whites of the eyes and skin

Hepatitis means “inflammation of the liver” from infection, autoimmune disorder, or other factors. Regardless of the cause, these events trigger the body’s healing response, which rushes oxygen-rich blood, vital nutrients, and other special repair cells to the liver to heal it. We know of this process as inflammation. Most people with HCV have no idea they have it, so nothing is done to suppress or treat the infection.

Without treatment, the healing response continues trying to repair the liver. Over time, chronic inflammation and excess repair materials like collagen begin to damage and scar the liver. HCV can cause cirrhosis, liver cancer, and liver failure.

Managing Hepatitis C

The World Health Organization (WHO) states that antiviral medicines can cure more than 95% of persons with hepatitis C infection. You can help keep your liver healthy by eating healthy, staying active, and kicking the habits that harm your health.

Remember, most people with HCV don’t know it, so understanding the risk factors can help with early diagnosis and prevention.

Risk factors for HCV:

  • Healthcare workers exposed to infected blood
  • History or a current user of injected or inhaled illicit drugs
  • Diagnosed with HIV
  • Have tattoos or body piercings
  • Underwent a blood transfusion or organ transplant before 1992
  • Were treated with clotting factor concentrates before 1987
  • If your mother had a hepatitis C infection when you were born
  • If you ever worked or lived in prison
  • Have been on kidney dialysis

Liver disease can lead to hepatitis

Arizona Liver Health has a new hepatitis C study starting soon. To learn more, call us today at (480) 470-4000.

Sources:

https://www.cdc.gov/hepatitis/hcv/index.htm

https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/hepatitis-c/symptoms-causes/syc-20354278

https://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/liver-disease/viral-hepatitis/hepatitis-c


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Alcohol is one of the most widely used substances among America’s adult and teen populations, posing substantial health and safety risks. Even though most know the adverse effects of alcohol, many tend to do so without fully recognizing the health risks of consuming alcohol excessively. The liver is one of the essential organs in the body, and when it comes to alcohol, it can have devastating effects.

Your liver detoxifies your body, keeps you alert, and regulates your hormones

The Metabolization of Alcohol

On average, it takes the body about an hour to process one alcoholic beverage. Every additional drink increased that time frame. The more a person drinks, the longer it takes to process alcohol. That’s because the liver can only process so much at a time. When someone drinks too much, the alcohol left unprocessed by the liver circulates through the bloodstream and starts affecting the heart and brain. This is how people become intoxicated. Two liver enzymes begin to break apart the alcohol molecule so it the body can eventually eliminate them.

Woman on the floor with empty alcohol bottles

Alcohol’s Destruction

One of those enzymes, ADH, helps convert alcohol to acetaldehyde. Acetaldehyde is only in the body for a short time, but it is highly toxic and a known carcinogen. Some small amounts of alcohol are also eliminated from the body by forming fatty acid compounds. These compounds can damage the liver and pancreas.

The toxic effects of acetaldehyde have been linked to the development of cancers of the:

  • Mouth
  • Throat
  • Upper respiratory tract
  • Liver
  • Colon
  • Breasts

Chronic alcohol abuse (drinking 4 or 5 drinks in a row regularly) also destroys liver cells, which progress from fatty liver to alcoholic hepatitis (inflammation) to cirrhosis (scarring). However, heavy drinkers may develop alcoholic cirrhosis without first developing hepatitis.

Is There a Safe Amount of Alcohol?

While there is no safe amount of alcohol you can consume, you can reduce your risk of liver damage by drinking less. Individuals can drink in moderation by limiting intake to 2 drinks or less in a day for men or one drink or less for women.

The purpose of a fibroscan

Does the health of your liver concern you? Arizona Liver Health offers a FREE fibroscan for adults at risk of liver disease. To learn more, call (480) 470-4000 or request an appointment online today!

Sources:

https://www.verywellmind.com/alcohol-metabolism-key-to-alcohols-dangers-66524

https://www.addictioncenter.com/alcohol/liver/


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April is National Minority Health Month (NMHM), a time to raise awareness about health disparities that affect people from racial and ethnic minority groups. Liver disease is growing in prevalence in the Hispanic population. It is also a leading cause of death in the U.S. Through education, we can lower the risk. Through participation, we can expand treatment options. These are some of the reasons minority participation in liver research matters.

Why Minorities Should Participate in Research

Diversity is vital in research because understanding how a condition affects different populations helps design safe, more effective treatments. Diversity is not just race and ethnicity but also gender, age, etc. Participants in clinical trials should represent the patient populations that will use the medical products. The reason is that people of different ages, races, and ethnicities may react differently to medical treatments.

Hispanics and Liver Disease

Hispanic middle aged couple preparing a meal

The most prevalent liver diseases in Hispanics are non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), chronic hepatitis C, alcoholic liver disease, cirrhosis, and liver cancer. The risk factors for these conditions include:

  • Obesity
  • Inactive lifestyle
  • Poor diet
  • Metabolic syndrome

7 symptoms of liver problems

When you look at the prevalence of these risk factors in Hispanics in the U.S., the results are:

  • 43% of Hispanics are considered obese
  • 35% of Hispanics have metabolic syndrome
  • Hispanic diets are traditionally high in carbohydrates and added sugars

In addition, many Hispanics in the U.S. possess a gene variation, PNPLA3, which has an association with a heightened risk for NAFLD and non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH).

Liver Health is in Our Name!

Implementing the best education practices toward healthy lifestyle changes will help address the risks associated with cultural aspects. However, we need to do more work regarding the genetic predisposition and expanding treatments for individuals already living with liver disease. Why not trust the experts with “liver health” in their name when it comes to liver disease? For NMHM, consider giving back through research.

1 in 4 adults are living with liver disease

Arizona Liver Health offers FREE fibroscans to adults at risk of liver disease and a chance to help advance care options for liver diseases through our studies. Get involved today! Contact us at (480) 470-4000 to learn more about your liver and options for treatment of liver disease, or visit our website.

Sources:

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

https://minorityhealth.hhs.gov/omh/browse.aspx?lvl=4&lvlid=62#:~:text=Both%20Hispanic%20men%20and%20women,their%20non%2DHispanic%20white%20counterparts.

https://www.census.gov/quickfacts/AZ


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Liver health is essential to the function of the human body. It performs over 500 functions to keep the body healthy. A few examples are flushing out toxins, processing food, and maintaining healthy blood sugar levels. Hepatitis is one of the most common conditions that can permanently damage the liver without proper treatment. Learning more about hepatitis and what you need to know to take care of your liver are the most important steps you can take for a healthier future.

What is Hepatitis?

The definition of hepatitis means liver inflammation and is commonly the result of a contagious viral infection. Some types of hepatitis are non-viral, meaning one person cannot pass it to another. For example, autoimmune hepatitis typically has a genetic origin, and alcoholic hepatitis develops from excessive drinking. An individual can also contract the types of hepatitis spread by consuming contaminated food and drinks and mixing their bodily fluids with an infected person. There are six main types of hepatitis, but A, B, and C (Hep A, Hep B, Hep C) are the three most prevalent.

Hepatitis

Symptoms of hepatitis vary from mild to severe and can be acute (lasting less than six months) or chronic (lasting more than six months). Treatments are available for every type of hepatitis. However, types A and C are the only curable ones now. As far as vaccines, both A and B have vaccines available. It’s safe to vaccinate against Hep A starting at one year old, while Hep B vaccination series can start sooner in infants.

Keeping the liver healthy with hepatitis is critical. Now, let’s talk about some ways to help!

A Balanced Diet and Hydration

Maintaining a balanced diet starts by reducing refined carbs such as white bread and processed sweets. Instead, try incorporating whole grains, fruits, and vegetables. It would be best if you also were mindful of the types of fats consumed. Consider eating modest quantities of meat and dairy. Additionally, try incorporating more monounsaturated fats commonly found in seeds, nuts, and fish.

Ways to love your liver

Furthermore, drinking enough water for proper hydration is essential to help flush the liver. Not to be a Debbie downer, but depending on the type of hepatitis, your doctor may recommend cutting out alcohol completely. The reason is that alcohol damages the liver, so limiting your intake is essential for the liver to keep functioning correctly. The good news for coffee lovers is that coffee is a beverage known to promote liver health. So, brew, French press, or pour your favorite java over ice for up to three servings a day!

Healthy Lifestyle

In addition to eating a balanced diet, you can further promote your liver health and prevent liver disease by:

  • Exercising regularly
  • Maintaining a healthy weight
  • Staying physically active

Whether it’s weightlifting, swimming, or even a walk in the neighborhood, exercise can also turn triglycerides into fuel, reducing liver fat. A diagnosis of hepatitis doesn’t have to lead to liver damage. When you know how to keep your liver healthy and take the necessary steps, you have the power to live a healthier future.

An unhealthy diet can bully your liver into poor health

Check out this link to learn more about our liver studies and how participating in research can help you take the first steps on your journey to health. Our caring site staff can also answer any questions by contacting us at (480) 470-4000.

 

Sources:

https://www.cdc.gov/hepatitis/abc/index.htm#:~:text=Hepatitis%20means%20inflammation%20of%20the,medical%20conditions%20can%20cause%20hepatitis

https://www.who.int/health-topics/hepatitis


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March is Women’s History Month, and it commemorates women’s contributions to history, culture, and society. The 2022 theme is “Women Providing Healing, Promoting Hope.” It is a tribute to the countless ways women of all cultures provide healing and hope now and throughout history. In honor of Women’s History Month, we want to share how liver disease impacts women and how we can help prioritize your liver health.

March is Women's History Month

Common Types of Liver Disease

Liver disease is a term that encompasses a variety of conditions that affect the functioning of the liver. However, there are more than 100 types, most progress in the same way. In the U.S., fatty liver diseases, both alcohol and non-alcohol-related, are most common. Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) and Alcohol-related fatty liver disease (ALD) occurs when the liver accumulates an unhealthy amount of fat.

Chronic excessive alcohol consumption causes ALD. Obesity, insulin resistance, and unhealthy lifestyles are risk factors for NAFLD. Both conditions trigger chronic inflammation of the liver and progressively damage it over several years without noticeable symptoms. As a result, scarring of the liver ensues. Without treatment, the damage to the liver becomes severe and can cause cirrhosis, liver cancer, and liver failure.

How Liver Disease Affects Women

Hormonal changes and genetic makeup not only differentiate women from men, but they also influence:

  • Their response to medications and other things they consume
  • How diseases develop and progress
  • Why conditions are more prevalent in women versus men

These influences affect both forms of fatty liver disease in women by making them more susceptible to it. For example, women are more sensitive to drug or alcohol-related liver disease than men. Because females are smaller on average and have more body fat, both can cause them to metabolize drugs and alcohol at a slower rate than men. As a result, they are more sensitive to drug or alcohol-related liver disease and NAFLD.

Diverse group of women (1)

Checking Your Liver Health Can Change Everything

In 1966, James Brown and Betty Jean Newsome wrote It’s a Man’s Man’s Man’s World. The lyrics say, “This is a man’s world,…. But it wouldn’t be nothing,… without a woman or a girl.” To continue making history, women must also advocate and prioritize their health. Fatty liver disease is on the rise in epidemic proportions.

Don't pinch your luck. Get a fibroscan today

Arizona Liver Health offers a FREE fibroscan for adults at risk of liver disease. The fibroscan is a painless, quick procedure that checks the health of your liver. Schedule your appointment today! Call us at (480) 470-4000 or submit a request through our website.

Other Source:

https://www.merckmanuals.com/home/liver-and-gallbladder-disorders/alcohol-related-liver-disease/alcohol-related-liver-disease


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There’s a lot of love to celebrate during the month of February. However, some of the things we love are bad for our overall health. One of these areas is our obsession with the “western diet,” which is high in fats, sugars, and everything that harms our bodies over time. Even worse, this unhealthy form of love fuels a fatty liver epidemic that’s rising in America.

A picture of a liver laying on top of a wooden doll

Expanding Waistlines and Decreasing Health

Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) occurs when the fat accumulates in the liver for reasons that are not related to alcohol. It is normal for the liver to contain some amount of fat. However, when more than 5% – 10% percent of the liver cells contain fat, it is called a fatty liver (steatosis). Nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) is a more severe form of NAFLD. NASH can cause the liver to swell and become damaged, eventually leading to cirrhosis, liver cancer, and liver failure.

Common Causes of Liver Disease:

  • Viruses
  • Genetics
  • Autoimmune disease
  • Poor diet
  • Obesity and sedentary lifestyle
  • Reactions to medications
  • Street drugs
  • Exposure to toxic chemicals

Self-Love is Good for Your Liver Too.

Healthy food for a healthy liver

The greatest form of self-love is making sure you have a healthy body. To love yourself means making sure what you put into your body is healthy and staying physically active. Exercise is powerful medicine. It not only helps you achieve and maintain a healthy weight, but it also helps prevent your body from developing certain diseases. Physical movement gets your heart pumping, which helps improve the circulation of oxygenated blood rich in vital nutrients to every working part of our body. The CDC recommends an exercise regimen of 30 minutes a day, 5 days a week.

Healthy lifestyle changes such as exercise and proper diet are great for your liver too. Not only can you potentially prevent liver disease from developing, but you can also slow, stop, or reverse the progression of the disease in individuals living with it. The team here at Arizona Liver Health hopes you’ll be inspired to love yourself a little more by making healthier choices this February and beyond.

How's your liver looking?

To learn how participating in research can help individuals currently living with liver disease, contact us at (480) 470-4000 or visit our website today!

Source:

https://liverfoundation.org/for-patients/about-the-liver/diseases-of-the-liver/non-alcoholic-fatty-liver-disease/#1577810249650-22c98dad-d443


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When we think of hearts, we think of Valentine’s Day and the exchange of cards and unique trinkets shared with our family and friends. February is also American Heart Month which creates awareness about heart disease, the number one cause of death in the U.S. Every cell and organ in your body relies on a healthy cardiovascular system. So, while you’re spreading the love this month, make sure some of it’s for yourself. When you love your heart, you love your liver and overall health too.

The Heart and the Liver

The circulatory system and the heart work together to form the cardiovascular system. The heart pushes the blood through the lungs to add oxygen to it. Along with other nutrients, the oxygen-rich blood is pumped through veins and arteries to all the body’s cells and organs, which is necessary for them to function.

The Liver has hundreds of vital functions and is the only organ with two separate blood supplies. One brings blood from the heart; the other brings blood from the intestines to filter it. The liver receives up to 25% of blood from the cardiovascular system.

The liver performs over 500 vital functions

How They Impact Each Other

Heart disease is a term for various conditions affecting heart structure and function. For example, coronary artery disease, the most common condition, causes narrowing or complete blockage of the veins and arteries in your heart from cholesterol or plaque. This makes it difficult for blood to reach the rest of the body and the heart itself. Decreased blood flow can cause liver cells’ death, which makes it harder to function. Eventually, the liver becomes permanently scarred, ultimately leading to cirrhosis.

Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is where an abnormal amount of fat accumulates in the liver. It is one of the most common liver diseases in America. NAFLD leads to chronic inflammation of the liver that progressively damages and scars the liver, leading to cirrhosis. A compromised liver affects the heart in many ways, including:

  • Narrowing, enlarging, and other damage of the blood vessels from not effectively filtering the toxins from the blood.
  • Increased blood pressure as the liver struggles to keep up with the flow from the heart. High blood pressure can damage and weaken the heart.

The risk factors shared for both conditions include obesity, poor diet, and lack of exercise.

Making Healthier Choices, Starting NOW

While liver and heart diseases have overlapping risk factors, most cases are preventable and respond to healthier lifestyle changes. Focusing on your health has never been more critical. During American Heart Month, we encourage every person to take the first steps towards a healthier life, including

  • Becoming more physically active
  • Eating a healthy, sensible diet low in sodium, sugar, and trans fats.
  • Adopting a good sleep hygiene routine ensures your body is getting enough rest.
  • Looking into smoking cessation programs to stop smoking.
  • Learning what you can do to reduce and manage stress better.

Visit the National Institutes of Health website for more information on weekly self-care ideas and other resources to help you get involved.

Loving your liver doesn't have to be hard

If you have NASH, participating in a research study is a great way to celebrate American Heart Month by prioritizing your health. To learn more about enrolling liver studies here at Arizona Liver Health, call us at (480) 470-4000 or visit our website today!

Sources:

https://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/education/american-heart-month/about

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0002870300825077

https://eurjmedres.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/2047-783X-14-12-541


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You can start this year on the right foot by taking proactive steps for your health and well-being. If you’ve been diagnosed with liver disease, keeping your liver healthy is essential. It’s a new year, and it’s time to set some new liver health goals.

Fighting Liver Disease Starts with Prevention

Stages of liver disease

The best way to fight liver disease is to avoid it, if possible. However, the same tips that can help reduce your risk of liver disease can also help individuals already living with it reduce complications and promote disease progression (in a good way). These include:

  • Weight loss plays a vital role in helping reduce fat accumulation in the liver. If you’re overweight, you could be in danger of developing a fatty liver that can lead to non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD). NAFLD is one of the fastest-growing forms of liver disease.
  • Eat a sensible, well-balanced diet. Avoid high-calorie meals, saturated fat, refined carbohydrates, and sugars. Hydration is also essential, so drink plenty of water.

Healthy foods

  • Exercising consistently helps burn triglycerides for fuel and reduces fat accumulation in the liver.
  • Don’t smoke. Cigarette smoke and other toxins can injure liver cells.
  • Alcoholic beverages can create many health problems and can damage liver cells and scar your liver Talking to your doctor about what amount of alcohol is right for you can help you drink responsibly.
  • Taking medications incorrectly can harm your liver. Make sure to follow directions on all medications. Never take more than prescribed or mix them with alcohol.

Dedicated to Liver Health

A happy liver for a better you

If you are at risk or have been diagnosed with liver disease, Arizona Liver Health has resources to help. To learn more about our FREE liver scans or our enrolling liver health research studies, call us today at (480) 470-4000 or visit our website.

Sources:

https://www.hepmag.com/blog/10-proactive-steps-help-liver

https://liverfoundation.org/13-ways-to-a-healthy-liver/


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At this point in the COVID-19 pandemic, it feels like we are navigating the different levels of a video game. Except this isn’t a video game, this is real life amid the COVID-19 pandemic. When vaccines drove the infection rates down, up popped the Delta variant. Now, the COVID-19 variant Omicron is spreading at lightning speed.

Why and How Viruses Mutate

Viruses are constantly making copies of themselves to reproduce. Over time, random changes (mutations) occur in the copies. Most times, these mutations are so small that there’s no change in how the virus behaves. If enough mutations arise, a new variation or strain of the virus can emerge.

Omicron

As we are barely gaining ground on COVID-19 two years later, it’s understandable our knowledge of Omicron is minimal. We don’t yet know:

  • How easily it spreads
  • The severity of illness it causes
  • How well available vaccines and medications work against it

Based on the changed genetic makeup and initial observations reported in those infected, the CDC lists the following information about Omicron:

  • The Omicron variant likely will spread more quickly than the original SARS-CoV-2 virus.
  • Anyone with Omicron infection can spread the virus to others, even if they are vaccinated or don’t have symptoms.
  • Some treatments are likely to remain effective, while others may be less effective.

Vaccinate, Get Your Booster, and Join the Fight to End COVID-19

Scientists and health officials expect that current vaccines will continue to protect against severe illness, hospitalizations, and deaths due to infection with the Omicron variant. However, it’s still possible for breakthrough infections to occur in fully vaccinated people. Vaccines have remained effective in preventing severe disease, hospitalization, and death with other variants like Delta. The emergence of Omicron further emphasizes the importance of vaccination and boosters.

COVID-19 Scare?

Arizona Clinical Trials offers COVID-19 resources through our clinical trials. Explore your options today! Visit our website to complete the application to see if you qualify.



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