Hep B Blog

Tag Archives: fatty liver disease

Your Doctor Not Screening You for Liver Cancer? Time for a Talk

Image courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Image courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net

The longer we have hepatitis B, the higher our risk of developing liver cancer. With every decade of life, our liver cancer risk increases 2.7-times, according to a report on Viral Hepatitis in the Elderly published in the American Journal of Gastroenterology.

But current medical guidelines don’t spell out exactly when liver cancer testing should begin in many hepatitis B patients who don’t have liver damage (cirrhosis) or a family history of liver cancer, and are not of Asian or African descent.

Age is clearly an important factor when it comes to liver cancer, “… but current guidelines only provide age-specific recommendations for (liver cancer) surveillance in hepatitis B carriers of Asian ethnicity (men over age 40 and women over age 50),” a team of University of Miami and Veterans Affairs researchers wrote in the journal article. Continue reading "Your Doctor Not Screening You for Liver Cancer? Time for a Talk"

Get Tested for Liver Cancer, Your Life May Depend on It

Image courtesy of David Castillo Dominici at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Image courtesy of David Castillo Dominici at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

October is Liver Cancer Awareness Month. It may be a sleeper of a event when compared to other health campaigns, but for us who live with viral hepatitis, it’s an uncomfortable but critical reminder of the importance of monitoring our liver health to prevent cancer.

Viral hepatitis, especially B and C, are viral infections that can cause liver cancer  (also called hepatocellular carcinoma or HCC.) Researchers are still studying why some people are more prone to liver cancer, but we who live with chronic hepatitis B or C have a 25 to 40 percent lifetime risk of developing liver cancer. The infection, which hijacks our liver cells to manufacture more virus, causes inflammation, scarring and even cancer as the liver cells grow out of control.

The longer we are infected with viral hepatitis, the higher our risk of developing liver cancer. While liver cancer often occurs in people with cirrhosis (severe liver scarring), some of us develop cancer without cirrhosis. Continue reading "Get Tested for Liver Cancer, Your Life May Depend on It"

Growing Older with Hepatitis B: Why Testing for Liver Damage Still Matters

Image courtesy of Witthaya Phonsawat at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Image courtesy of Witthaya Phonsawat at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Around the world, older adults bear the greatest burden of hepatitis B. Born before the childhood vaccination became available, about 4.7 percent of U.S. adults over age 50 have been infected and their chronic hepatitis B rate is nearly two-fold higher than in younger adults.

The 50-plus generation has lived with with chronic hepatitis B for decades, and over time their risk of liver damage, cirrhosis, and cancer has steadily increased. That is why it is very important that older adults living with this infection see their physicians regularly and have tests for liver damage and cancer performed as needed. Continue reading "Growing Older with Hepatitis B: Why Testing for Liver Damage Still Matters"

Q & A – Treatment Options for Liver Cancer Webinar

gish_robert_garethDr. Gish answered answered a number of very important questions for those diagnosed with liver cancer, and also has some great advice for liver cancer surveillance, including best imaging tests for the diagnosis of cirrhosis or liver cancer and more.  Continue reading "Q & A – Treatment Options for Liver Cancer Webinar"

Webinar on Treatment Options for Liver Cancer: What You Need to Know

 

gish_robert_gareth

Please join the Hepatitis B Foundation’s Liver Cancer Connect program and world-renowned liver disease specialist, Dr. Robert Gish for a webinar on Monday, April 27th 12 noon EDT to learn about liver cancer treatment. How does the stage of the cancer affect treatment? Why are screening and surveillance so important? What are the available treatments and what are the therapies in development? Continue reading "Webinar on Treatment Options for Liver Cancer: What You Need to Know"

What You Need to Know About Fatty Liver Disease and Liver Cancer

Join the Hepatitis B Foundation, Monday, April 22 at 1 pm EST, 10 am PST, for the final webinar of the 3-Part Liver Cancer Webinar Series, “Liver Cancer and Fatty Liver Disease: What You Need to Know”, presented by liver disease expert, Kenneth Rothstein, MD.

There is an upsurge in fatty liver disease in the U.S. and around the world as a result of poor diet, consumption of alcohol, and sedentary lifestyle. Fatty Liver Disease occurs when fat makes up more than 5% -10% of the weight of your liver, which can be a result of either alcoholic, or non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD). This accumulation of fat can cause inflammation and permanent scarring of the liver, which may lead to serious complications including liver failure, and liver cancer. Learn about fatty liver, which is largely preventable.

Liver cancer is the third leading cause of cancer-related deaths and the seventh most common cancer worldwide. Learn how to prevent liver cancer, along with screening, surveillance and treatments for liver cancer.

Dr. Rothstein is the Associate professor in the Department of Medicine, and chief of the Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology at Drexel University College of Medicine. He also serves as medical director of Abdominal Transplantation at Hahnemann University Hospital. 
Dr. Rothstein is a leading expert in the field of hepatology, with over 20 years of experience. He specializes in the treatment of liver disease and liver transplantation, particularly treating the complications of cirrhosis, including liver cancer. He is also a recognized expert on new treatments for hepatitis B and C.

“Fatty Liver Disease and Liver Cancer: What You Need to Know” webinar details:

Presented by: Dr. Kenneth Rothstein
Date: Monday, April 22, 2013
Time: 1 pm EST, 10 am PST
Click here to register

Did you miss the previous webinars of the series? Feel free to download them and listen at your leisure:

Download the March 6th Webinar and listen to Hepatitis B and Liver Cancer: What You Need to Know, by Dr. Robert Gish.
Download Now

Download the March Webinar and watch the video, Hepatitis C and Liver Cancer: What you Need to Know, by Dr. LaBrecque.
Download video

For additional accurate, easy-to-understand information on liver cancer, visit the Hepatitis B Foundation’s dedicated website, www.LiverCancerConnect.org.

 

Ringing in a Happy, Healthy 2012 For Those Living with HBV

Out with the old bad habits and in with the new, healthy habits. The New Year is upon us and for those of us living with HBV; it’s time to make a commitment to habits that support a healthy liver.  Let’s start with New Year’s Eve – A sip of champagne to ring in the New Year? Yes!  Half a magnum of champagne to ring in the New Year… dangerous!

Let’s face it. Drinking alcohol and HBV do NOT mix.  Years of HBV results in liver disease progression. Drinking alcohol to excess also causes liver disease progression. The rate and degree of liver disease progression is not necessarily predictable and may vary with the individual. However, mix hepatitis B and alcohol and you have a deadly combination leading to more advanced liver disease progression.  Make the commitment in 2012 to stop drinking alcohol.

Do you smoke?  Why?  The warnings regarding the risks of smoking never cease.  If you smoke and have HBV, you increase the rate of your liver disease progression and you significantly increase your risk of liver cancer. Once again it’s the combination of HBV and the bad habit that increases your risk of liver cancer even more.  Smoking is bad for you and HBV is bad for you.  Make a commitment in 2012 to stop smoking.

Fatty liver disease and diabetes are on the rise. ALT levels may be elevated by your HBV or by fatty liver disease.  You don’t want either, so do your best to avoid foods that increase your risk for diabetes or fatty liver disease. Take a hard look at your diet.  Do grab food on the go?  Do you shop on the inside of the grocery store or the outside?  Do the food items you buy contain a list of ingredients you cannot pronounce?  Go back to basics. Shop on the outside of the store where the fresh vegetables, fruits and other fresh foods reside.  Make your own meals rather than buying ready-made. There is no specific diet for those living with hepatitis B, but a healthy diet is important. Eat fresh, healthy vegetables, fruits and lean meats.  Avoid “white” pastas and breads, and eat whole grains.  Avoid high fructose corn syrup and refined sugar.  Read the labels on the backs of the packages to compare your intake of sugar and fat. You may be swapping one for the other, which might be important if you are watching your sugar intake. Eat health, monounsaturated fats like olive oil, avocados, and nuts.  Avoid saturated fats such as butter, fatty meats, etc.  Spend a little time learning the healthy-diet basics and gradually implement changes into your diet and lifestyle.

Exercise really is good for you, but sometimes it’s tough to get in the groove. Just because you have HBV does not mean you should avoid exercise.  Exercise as you are able.  You will find that moderate exercise will actually make you feel better rather than worse.  HBF’s Senior Medical Adviser advises those recovering from an acute HBV infection should avoid bed rest unless specifically prescribed by their doctor. Getting up and about actually helps your liver and the recovery process. This does not mean you need to be training for a marathon, but exercise in moderation is good.  So find yourself an exercise partner, and go out for a walk, jog, or swim, or sign up for a Zumba class at your neighborhood gym.

So when you’re getting ready to make your list of New Years’ resolutions, be sure to set goals that are attainable.  You don’t have to quit smoking or drinking alcohol cold turkey.  This is a lifetime commitment. Make a realistic plan to taper off and stick to it.  Ask your doctor for advice, or find friends or family members that are also interested in making commitments to change.

Happy New Year to all!  Out with the old-bad habits, and in with the new, healthy habits for 2012!

Hepatitis B and Vitamin D

Vitamin D is essential for everyone, but how might vitamin D help those living with HBV? Vitamin D is especially important for children and older adults, as it aids in the body’s absorption and regulation of calcium and phosphorus, which helps form and maintain healthy bones and teeth.  Vitamin D is also a potent immune modulator, and aids in the prevention of hypertension, and cancer. Vitamin D levels appear to play a critical role in type I and type II diabetes, glucose intolerance, and metabolic disorders.  Studies have also shown a link between low vitamin D levels and NAFLD (Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease), independent of metabolic syndrome, diabetes, or insulin-resistance profile (for those without HBV). The lower the vitamin D level, the higher the risk for NAFLD, or fatty liver disease.  The liver plays such an integral part in digestion, regulation, storage, and removal of toxins – the list goes on.  You can’t live without it!  As a result, it seems logical that healthy levels of vitamin D would benefit those living with HBV, if adequate vitamin D levels help reduce the risk of NAFLD, metabolic syndrome, etc.

Vitamin D is a potent immune modulator.  It has been on the radar for the prevention and treatment of infectious diseases for years. If you are being treated for HBV, you may want to discuss the potential benefits of adding vitamin D to your current therapy.  It has been shown to benefit hepatitis C patients undergoing treatment.  There is currently a clinical trial in Israel looking into the possible benefits of adding vitamin D supplementation to hepatitis B patients undergoing Peginterferon, or treatment with nucleotide analogs.

While researching this blog, I ran across a couple references that mention Fanconi’s Syndrome and vitamin D.  This is interesting since Fanconi’s Syndrome may be acquired as a result of HBV treatment with tenofovir.  Fanconi’s Syndrome and supplementation with vitamin D is also mentioned on the Mayo Clinic site.  The problem is there are no studies that definitively discuss the benefits of vitamin D supplementation for those living with HBV.  I am no doctor, but there seems to be a connection between vitamin D and good liver health.

Start by talking to your doctor or liver specialist about the pros and cons of considering additional vitamin D in your diet. Request that your vitamin D levels be tested so you get a snapshot of your current levels. I had my girls’ levels checked.  They were adequate, but I regretted having them tested during the summer break when they are outside more often. I wonder how this reflects on their levels in the winter when they are rarely outside?  Food for thought.

The 25-hydroxyvitamin D (25(OH) D) blood test is used to measure serum levels of vitamin D. Normal serum levels, indicated by the Institute of Medicine (NIH), are 50 nmol/L (20 ng/mL) or greater.  Low levels are under 30 nmol/L (12 ng/mL).  See detailed charts for age specific requirements. There are all kinds of reasons for inadequate levels of vitamin D, so it is important to follow up with your doctor if your results are out of the normal range.  You may require additional testing.

It is important to maintain a balance and use common sense when considering supplementing your diet with Vitamin D.  Vitamin D is essential, but too much of a good thing can be dangerous to your health. Be sure to keep your doctor in the loop – especially if you are currently undergoing HBV treatment.

Check out Thursday’s blog for those looking for vitamin D details and sources.