Blog Archives - Page 2 of 5 - AZ Clinical Trials

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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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December 31, 2021 Clinical ResearchCOVID-190

It’s hard to believe that we were glued to our television sets two years ago, watching the growing impact of the virus we know as COVID-19. With a second virus variation on the rise, the fight to end COVID-19 endures. Arizona Clinical Trials intends to see it through like the numerous other entities that have joined forces. Until then, we are still your COVID-19 resource center.

COVID-19 by the Numbers

  • More than 277 million confirmed COVID-19 cases and more than 5 million associated deaths globally.
  • The United States has had more than 51 million confirmed cases and over 812,000 associated deaths.
  • More than 70 percent of U.S. adults are fully vaccinated with vaccines available to ages 5 and up and boosters for ages 16 and older.

What’s New

  • On December 16th, the CDC made the recommendation that individuals still needing vaccination should avoid the Johnson and Johnson vaccine. This was in response to a small blood clot risk which has hospitalized 54 people and taken the lives of 9.
  • Researchers found the Omicron variant grows 70 times faster than the delta one in the bronchial tubes.
  • Officials are still uncertain how many boosters are necessary to effectively fight the virus.
  • Data shows deaths from COVID-19 in 2021 surpassed deaths in 2020.
  • Vaccine mandates prevail in some areas and meet stiff opposition in others in an effort to slow the spread of COVID-19. For example, a federal judge blocked a vaccine mandate for healthcare workers, while the U.S Navy says that sailors forgoing the vaccine would face discharge starting in 2022.

Your Resource Center for COVID-19

It's back and it's stronger. Help your community today

Though the progress remains steady, we still need your help in the fight to end COVID-19. Arizona Clinical Trials is still offering:

  • FREE screenings for COVID-19 for those who are experiencing symptoms.
  • Potential enrollment into COVID-19 prevention and treatment trials for healthy individuals or those with symptoms of the virus. (Participants must meet all eligibility criteria)

To learn more, call us at (480) 360-4000 or visit our website today!

Sources:

https://www.healthline.com/health-news/covid-19-updates#12/2/21-3:09-p.m.-PST-Biden-announces-new-COVID-19-strategy

https://www.reuters.com/business/healthcare-pharmaceuticals/what-you-need-know-about-coronavirus-right-now-2021-03-02/


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December 14, 2021 Clinical ResearchPCOS0

The prevalence of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), a condition that encompasses excess fat accumulation, inflammation, and liver scarring, is on the rise. Multiple factors go into developing NAFLD, and it has been linked to several other conditions. Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is one of the conditions that share a link with fatty liver disease. If you have PCOS, you need to read this.

PCOS Signs and Symptoms

PCOS is a hormone disorder affecting 1 in 10 women of childbearing age.  Although the cause of PCOS is not known, health experts believe that PCOS may be due to different factors working together. These factors include insulin resistance, increased levels of hormones called androgens, and an irregular menstrual cycle. Common symptoms involve:

  • Menstrual disorders can include absent periods, periods that infrequently occur or too frequently, heavy periods, or unpredictable periods
  • Infertility
  • Obesity
  • Excess hair growth on the face, chest, abdomen, or upper thighs
  • Severe acne or acne that occurs after adolescence and does not respond to usual treatments
  • Multiple tiny fluid-filled sacs in the ovaries

Shared Risk Factors and Androgens

PCOS causes symptoms that are also factors we know to increase the chances of NAFLD. NAFLD can progress into the NASH stage, a more severe form of fatty liver disease. Non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) is the stage of liver disease where chronic liver inflammation begins to damage and scar it-eventually affecting its functions.

NAFLD and NASH are both linked to obesity

Insulin resistance and obesity are both triggers for excess fat accumulation in the liver. In addition, prolonged exposure to high androgen levels may add to the problem. Androgens are typically referred to as male hormones and play a role in women’s health at lower levels. Growing research evidence shows, and without treatment, prolonged exposure to high androgen levels can lead to serious health consequences, such as:

  • Heart disease
  • Higher risk of liver inflammation and scarring
  • Increased risk for liver cancer and liver failure without transplant

With so many potential factors working together, it’s no wonder that having PCOS doubles your chances of liver disease.

While fatty liver disease is serious, it’s possible to reverse and prevent it with diet and lifestyle changes. Eating a sensible, well-balanced diet and exercising regularly will help keep your liver healthy. Along with regular monitoring, healthier lifestyle changes help not only prevent liver disease but those already diagnosed with it.

There are no FDA-approved treatments for NASH; however, potential new options are under investigation in clinical research studies. To learn more about enrolling NASH studies here at Arizona Liver Health, call us at (480) 470-4000, or visit our website today!

Sources:

https://www.merckmanuals.com/professional/gynecology-and-obstetrics/menstrual-abnormalities/polycystic-ovary-syndrome-pcos

https://www.hormone.org/diseases-and-conditions/polycystic-ovary-syndrome

https://www.acog.org/womens-health/faqs/polycystic-ovary-syndrome-pcos


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November 29, 2021 Clinical ResearchNAFLD0

In the medical world, we are always trying to find new ways to treat all kinds of conditions. Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, or NAFLD, is a condition that we are constantly learning more about, especially in the work of clinical research. NAFLD has emerged as the most prominent cause of chronic liver disease. So what’s new in NAFLD research? Let’s find out!

PUBLIC SERVICE ANNOUNCEMENT!

NAFLD researchers are urging the public to take care of themselves by declaring NAFLD as a public health priority. They are realizing that the general public does not possess proper knowledge of NAFLD and they desire to change that. At the Digital NAFLD Summit 2021, researchers developed a final set of 37 consensus statements and 26 recommendations. The statements addressed a broad range of topics relevant to policymakers, practitioners, civil society groups, researchers, and affected populations. They hope that these recommendations can bring major change to NAFLD basic knowledge and prevention.

30% of adults have fatty liver

Who Has a Higher Risk of Getting NAFLD?

Anyone can develop NAFLD. Unfortunately, we don’t know everything about this condition. However, clinical research has provided a lot of information about who can get it or what causes fatty liver. We do know that it is more common for people that have the following factors:

  • Type 2 diabetes and prediabetes
  • Obesity
  • Middle-aged or older
  • Hispanic
  • High levels of fats in the blood
  • High blood pressure
  • Take certain drugs
  • Have certain metabolic disorders
  • Experienced rapid weight loss
  • Have certain infections, such as hepatitis C
  • Were exposed to toxins

NAFLD Treatment and Prevention

There is no medication or vaccine approved by the FDA to treat NAFLD. Fortunately, there are ways in which you can reduce or prevent fatty liver. Common suggestions from physicians include:

  • Losing weight
  • Get regular exercise
  • Eating a healthy diet that reduces salt and sugar intake
  • Get vaccinated for hepatitis A and B, the flu, and pneumococcal disease

NAFLD clinical research is so crucial today. We need clinical trials to develop treatments for NAFLD and you can help us. Participate in clinical trials to help the advancement in medicine for NAFLD. You can sign up for our current or upcoming studies by calling us at (480) 360-4000 or visiting our website.

Sources:

https://www.healio.com/news/hepatology/20210924/six-recent-reports-from-the-digital-nafld-summit-2021

https://www.healio.com/news/hepatology/20210917/researchers-deem-nafld-a-public-health-priority

https://easl.eu/press-release/treatment-advances-for-non-alcoholic-fatty-liver-disease-nafld-announced-at-ilc-2021/

https://atriumhealth.org/about-us/newsroom/news/2021/04/groundbreaking-clinical-trials-for-patients-with-nonalcoholic-fatty-liver-disease

https://medlineplus.gov/fattyliverdisease.html


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We are a little over a month away from the first anniversary of when the first COVID-19 vaccine dose was given. Over 15 million fully vaccinated Americans later, a lot has taken place in these last 11 months. Here’s the recap from vaccines to boosters in the fight to end COVID-19.

Vaccines, Efficacy, and Age Groups

In the U.S., there are three vaccines currently in circulation. Several others are still under evaluation in clinical trials. Let’s look at the latest efficacy reports and which age groups are approved to take them:

  • Pfizer- BioNTech : 2 doses, 21 days apart.
    • Approval Status: FDA approved in August 2021 for ages 16 and up. Emergency use authorization (EUA) for ages 5-15
    • Effectiveness: Full effectiveness 2 weeks after 2nd 91% effective at preventing COVID-19, and 89% effective in preventing severe disease.
    • Approved ages: Children and adults 5 and older
  • Moderna: 2 doses, 28 days apart.
    • Approval Status: Under EUA since December 2020.
    • Effectiveness: Full effectiveness 2 weeks after 2nd 94% effective at preventing COVID-19, and 90% effective in preventing severe disease.
    • Approved ages: Adults 18 and older.
  • Johnson & Johnson: Single dose.
    • Approval Status: Under EUA since February 2021.
    • Effectiveness: Full effectiveness 2 weeks after single dose. 66% effective at preventing COVID-19, and 85% effective in preventing severe disease.
    • Approved ages: Adults 18 and older.

Boosters

Being vaccinated is still possibly the most important way we can get past the COVID-19 pandemic. As more time passes, we continue to learn more about whether or not booster doses would be beneficial. It’s important to mention, boosters are not a new idea and do not mean anything is wrong with the vaccine. If vaccine immunity wanes after some time, a booster helps prolong protection. Several routine immunizations require booster doses, these include chickenpox, tetanus, diphtheria, and mumps.

The CDC recommends a booster dose of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccine 6 months after the last dose for people 65 and up. In addition, it covers residents of long-term care settings, people 18 to 64 with underlying medical conditions, and those whose work may put them at higher risk of exposure to COVID-19. People with certain immunocompromising conditions can get a third dose of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines two months after completing their 2nd dose. CDC interim guidelines recommend moderately and severely immunocompromised people who received one dose of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine get a second dose of either an mRNA or J&J vaccine at least two months after their initial shot.

Help Us End COVID-19

Take care of yourself and others

The fight to end COVID-19 is still ongoing. Here at Arizona Liver Health, we are looking for individuals to join COVID-19 studies looking into potential new options. We offer FREE COVID-19 testing and provide other study opportunities for healthy individuals and those diagnosed with COVID-19. Call us today to learn more at (480) 360-4000, or visit our website.

Sources:

https://www.yalemedicine.org/news/covid-19-vaccine-comparison


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Hepatic encephalopathy (HE) can develop when your liver can no longer remove toxic substances from your blood. The toxins build up and can travel through your body until they eventually reach your brain. This causes mental and physical symptoms of HE.

Why Does HE Develop?

Hepatic encephalopathy is a nervous system disorder brought on by severe liver disease. When the liver doesn’t work properly, toxins build up in the blood.  HE is a complication of cirrhosis– a severe form of liver disease. Common types of chronic liver disease can lead to liver scarring or even liver failure. These include:

  • Alcohol-related liver disease
  • Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), or too much fat in liver cells
  • Inflammation of the liver (such as hepatitis A, B, or C)
  • Liver cancer

Living with untreated liver disease for a long time can lead to cirrhosis. Cirrhosis occurs when scar tissue replaces healthy liver tissue. As cirrhosis becomes worse, the liver has less healthy tissue. A healthy liver is essential in helping your body process food and nutrients into energy. It is also vital for removing harmful toxins. Over time, the liver becomes so damaged, it can no longer remove toxins from the blood. HE symptoms are broken down into four grades of severity:

  • Grade 1:
    • Lack of awareness
    • Euphoria or anxiety
    • Shortened attention span
    • Difficulty with addition or subtraction
    • Altered sleep patterns
  • Grade 2:
    • Lack of energy or interest
    • Confused sense of date and time
    • Obvious personality change
    • Inappropriate behavior
    • Uncoordinated movements
    • Tremor or flapping of the wrists
  • Grade 3:
    • Sleepiness or stupor
    • Responds to stimuli
    • Confused sense of place, where one is
    • Extreme disorientation
  • Grade 4:
    • Complete unresponsiveness (hepatic coma)

Treatments

Treatments can rid the body of toxins and reverse this temporary condition. These are aimed at lowering the level of ammonia and other toxins in your blood. These toxins initially arise in your gastrointestinal or GI system. Hence, therapies are focused on your gut to eliminate or reduce the production of toxins.

Arizona Liver Health conducts free fibroscans that can detect liver diseases, such as NAFLD and NASH. A fibroscan done early enough can help you avoid complications from untreated liver disease such as HE. Once results are ready, our medical staff will help you determine if additional steps are needed. If your results indicate abnormal liver function, our team will discuss enrolling studies for the liver that may be an option. Schedule your FREE fibroscan today! Request an appointment here or call us at (480) 470-4000.

Sources:

https://liverfoundation.org/for-patients/about-the-liver/diseases-of-the-liver/hepatic-encephalopathy/treating-hepatic-encephalopathy/

https://rarediseases.org/rare-diseases/hepatic-encephalopathy/

https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diseases/21220-hepatic-encephalopathy



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2152 S Vineyard Ave Ste 123
Mesa, AZ 85210
480-360-4000


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Tucson, AZ 85712
520-445-4000


Call us to see if you or your patient qualify for a clinical trial.