Liver disease Archives - AZ Clinical Trials

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The Sudden Wave of Hepatitis Amongst Children

A recent upsurge in hepatitis cases involving children has caused alarm nationwide. Let’s dive into why this age group is suddenly experiencing a spike in occurrences.

An Origin Story – How Cases of Hepatitis Amongst Children Began

 The first flare-up of hepatitis in kids emerged in the United Kingdom in early April of this year. A total of 10 severe cases were brought to the attention of the World Health Organization. All of them were ages ten and younger. The numbers, however, did not end here. As of June 2022, thirty-three countries were combating the hepatitis outbreak in children and, when combined, equaled a sum of 920 reported cases. Arizona is considered to be one of the hot zones for activity.

Child in bed running a fever and parent looking at thermometer.

What You Should Know About Hepatitis Amongst Children

When a child has hepatitis, they will experience an inflammation of their liver. A list of different viruses can cause this; however, the two most common are hepatitis B and hepatitis C. A link doctors are finding between the newfound cases in children involves a virus by the name of adenovirus. There is expected to be about 100 types of this virus and fifty percent known capable of infecting humans. When discussing hepatitis, you may often hear the terms acute and chronic hepatitis mentioned. Here’s what they mean.

  1. Acute hepatitis occurs when a child with no previous health issues begins to display liver concerns.
  2. Chronic hepatitis deals with predisposed children with ongoing issues with liver disease.

Tell-Tale Symptoms of Hepatitis Amongst Children

What’s particularly odd with this volume of cases is that it’s very unusual to encounter a healthy child with such severe liver injury suddenly. Children may even go on to develop Non-Alcoholic Liver Disease (NAFLD). This takes place when the liver becomes intruded with a fat named steatosis. If inflammation or scarring come about, it’s then called steatohepatitis or the more commonly used NASH. If you’re worried your child or a child that you know may be combating hepatitis, here are some signs to look out for.

  • Fever
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Stomach pain
  • Diarrhea
  • Yellowing of skin and eyes
  • Flu-like symptoms
  • Joint pain
  • Loss of appetite
  • Dark urine or Clay-colored stool

Stages of liver damage.

Prevention of Hepatitis in Children is Around the Corner

It’s hard to not feel overwhelmed when something concerns our little ones or ones we know, but thankfully there are preventative measures that can be taken to ensure the safety of those you care about. If there’s one thing kids love, it’s touching everything in sight. A simple implementation of routine handwashing throughout the day can go a long way in helping stop the spread of hepatitis from child to child. You can also assist on your end by providing the child with supportive care, such as introducing a healthy diet into their daily routine and assuring they receive the necessary rest. Medications are also frequently used for treatment, depending on the individual case. Last but most certainly not least are vaccines. Currently, vaccinations for hepatitis A and B are readily available. This is a tremendous precaution to employ especially in young children before the exposure that follows age.

Young girl getting a vaccine.

The Investigation Continues    

To see so many cases of hepatitis affecting such a young demographic nationally and in the state of Arizona naturally bumps it up to the top concern for the CDC. At this time, adenovirus remains the believed leading cause for hepatitis in children, but investigation remains ongoing. The CDC is working with state and local health departments to help gather as much data as possible in hopes to best prevent the spreading of hepatitis in children.

Cartoon picture of doctors holding up a liver.

Here at Arizona Liver Health, we believe research and awareness are the future to a better tomorrow. To learn more about hepatitis, check out our blog or contact us here with any questions or concerns you might have!

 

Resources:

https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/volumes/71/wr/mm7118e1.htm?s_cid=mm7118e1_w

https://www.azfamily.com/2022/05/06/cdc-investigating-100-cases-unexplained-hepatitis-children-arizona-other-states/

https://www.who.int/emergencies/disease-outbreak-news/item/2022-DON394


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Evusheld is a long-acting investigational protective measure against COVID-19, featuring a combination of two monoclonal antibodies. The FDA recently gave its approval under an emergency use authorization (EUA). Evusheld is a game-changer for liver patients and other individuals with a compromised immune system.

What is Evusheld, and Who Can Use It?

Evusheld is a combination of two long-acting monoclonal antibodies:

  • Tixagevimab
  • Cilgavimab

Scientists create monoclonal antibodies in a laboratory to act as your own antibodies. Their purpose is to restore, modify, and enhance the body’s immune system’s attack on harmful cells or contagions like COVID-19.

Monoclonal antibodies

Evusheld has approval under an EUA for the pre-exposure prevention of COVID-19 in adults and pediatric individuals at a higher risk of an inadequate immune response. This population includes immunocompromised people, such as those with cancer or transplant patients or anyone taking medicines that suppress the immune system.

Eligibility Criteria:

Adults and pediatric individuals (12 years of age and older weighing at least 88 pounds 40 kg):

  • Who are not currently infected with SARS-CoV-2 and who have not had a known recent exposure to an individual infected with SARS-CoV-2, AND:
  • Who have moderate to severe immune compromise due to a medical condition or receipt of immunosuppressive medications or treatments and may not mount an adequate immune response to COVID-19 vaccination, OR
  • For whom vaccination with any available COVID-19 vaccine, according to the approved or authorized schedule, is not recommended due to a history of severe adverse reaction (e.g., severe allergic reaction) to a COVID-19 vaccine(s) and/or COVID-19 vaccine component(s).

COVID-19 Protection Vs. Traditional Vaccine Route

Though current COVID-19 vaccines are safe, well-tolerated, and effective, individuals with compromised immune systems face a different challenge. In some instances, some patients who are immunocompromised might not generate a robust enough immune response. As a result, they may remain susceptible to contracting COVID-19, even with completing a full vaccine series. In addition, the risk for severe illness is higher in immunocompromised people. One reason is because the virus can survive longer in their bodies.

Vaccine protection

Evusheld is the latest research breakthrough providing hope to one of the most vulnerable populations in the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Now, “normal” is a little bit closer for even more individuals.

At Arizona Clinical Trials and Arizona Liver Health, we specialize in conducting clinical research studies to improve care options for liver diseases and other conditions. We are excited about what Evusheld means for individuals with compromised immune systems due to the advanced stages of liver disease. In the meantime, we are still offering FREE fibroscans to adults at risk of liver disease and research studies you can join to help advance treatments for conditions that affect the liver.

Your liver is an organ with over 500 functions

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

Sources:

https://www.health.com/condition/infectious-diseases/coronavirus/immunocompromised-covid-vaccine

https://www.upmc.com/coronavirus/monoclonal-antibodies/immunocompromised-patients

https://www.astrazeneca.com/media-centre/press-releases/2022/evusheld-long-acting-antibody-combination-recommended-for-approval-in-the-eu-for-the-pre-exposure-prophylaxis-prevention-of-covid-19.html

https://www.fda.gov/media/154702/download


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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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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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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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One of the best things about the holiday season is that goodwill towards others takes it up a notch as people race to pay it forward. The desire to give back is a perfect segue into volunteering in a clinical research study. Here at Arizona Liver Health, our mission is to advance the care of those impacted by liver disease. Volunteering in research studies is the gift that keeps on giving. Here’s why.

Woman holding gift and smiling, give back, clinical research

What is a Clinical Research Study?

Research studies are the primary way to determine if a new drug, device, vaccine, or therapeutic approach is safe and effective in people. Each potential new option may provide a treatment path where none existed previously. They may also be the same as or more effective than other available options or they hope to offer a new way to detect or prevent a specific medical condition.

After extensive laboratory testing, they move on to be analyzed in clinical research studies. Volunteers of all ages, ethnicities, and genders are necessary for these studies to see how these work in the human body. Those with the condition the study aims to treat and those generally in good health are needed. The FDA regulates and monitors studies over every research phase and must have their approval before becoming available to the public.

How Can I Sign Up as a Volunteer?

Each study has specific criteria that determine the ideal candidate for which the trial was designed. While you may not be the right candidate for one study, others may be a better fit. Once you apply, the medical team will then contact you and gather all pertinent information.

Qualified candidates then move on to the informed consent process and so forth. Any that are not a good fit have the option of being alerted of future studies or looking into other options.

Advancing Medicine and Beyond

Advancing medicine is a way to give back that never runs out or expires. Qualified candidates may also gain access to new options not publicly available that may be as good as or better than what is available now. Our medical staff’s expert care ensures you are prioritizing your health while learning more about your condition. Oftentimes, reimbursements for time and travel may be available for those who qualify—making it a great way to earn some extra cash around the holidays.

Tis the season to give back through research, clinical research

Volunteering in clinical research studies isn’t the right decision for everyone. We would love to answer any questions you may have for those wanting to know more about our studies here at Arizona Liver Health. To view a listing of current studies, a brief overview of each is available on our website’s study page. Or, give us a call today at (480) 470-4000.

 

References:

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5339376/

https://www.antidote.me/blog/why-volunteer-for-research-studies


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December 15, 2020 CirrhosisClinical Research0

Cirrhosis is the replacement of healthy liver tissue with non-living scar tissue. It is a complication of liver disease from the progressive damage caused if not treated. Most people have no symptoms in the early stages, where the progression has the greatest chance of being reversed. If you are at risk for liver disease, the time to act is now.

What Causes Cirrhosis?

Cirrhosis is the result of chronic inflammation and swelling that scars the liver. It can take many years to get to this stage. Many different liver diseases can progress to cirrhosis. However, the most common ones are Hepatitis C, Alcohol-related Liver Disease (ARLD), Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease (NAFLD), and Hepatitis B.

20% of people with NASH may develop cirrhosis, liver disease research

In general, alcohol addiction and obesity are risk factors that can predispose you to liver disease and, ultimately, cirrhosis. NAFLD is the most common liver disease where fat accumulates in the liver and eventually can progress to liver failure. Insulin resistance, family history, metabolic syndrome, sedentary lifestyle, and chronic consumption of foods high in calories and fat are risk factors for NAFLD.

Cirrhosis Stages

The progression has 4 stages. The stage also determines whether the liver is compensated or decompensated. Compensated means the liver can still perform most of its essential functions despite scarring. Decompensated means the scarring now prevents the liver from functioning properly.

  1. Stage 1– Some scarring of the liver, but no complications and few symptoms.
  2. Stage 2– Blood flow through the liver becomes blocked, and pressure increases inside it. Enlarged veins that are a result of the added strain. Fatigue, itching, loss of appetite, fluid retention in legs, and bruising are more symptoms.
  3. Stage 3– The liver scarring becomes advanced, and the abdomen swells. Possible liver failure and serious complications can occur. This stage marks the transition into decompensated cirrhosis. Yellowing of the eyes and skin, brain fog, slurred speech, redness of the palms of hands, and internal bleeding are other symptoms.
  4. Stage 4– End-stage liver disease can develop, which is fatal if a transplant is not found.

Early Detection and Treatment

The liver is an amazing organ that can regenerate itself. Even with some scarring, the liver can heal itself well into the later stages when caught and treated. Cirrhosis has no cure. Though, by addressing any underlying conditions, making healthier lifestyle changes, and medications to control symptoms, patients can manage the progression. If you’re at risk, talk with your doctor.

Did you know fatty liver can lead to cirrhosis, liver disease research

Arizona Liver Health conducts free fibroscans that can detect diseases of the liver such as NAFLD and NASH. 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.

References:

https://liverfoundation.org/for-patients/about-the-liver/diseases-of-the-liver/cirrhosis/#information-for-the-newly-diagnosed

https://www.medicinenet.com/cirrhosis/article.htm

https://www.webmd.com/digestive-disorders/understanding-cirrhosis-treatment#2



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