Hep B Blog

Tag Archives: NAFLD

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"

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

 

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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.

 

Liver Cancer Webinar Series: What You Need to Know

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

Due to an overwhelming response, continued registration for  this Wednesday’s webinar with Dr. Gish is closed. Stay tuned as the webinar will be recorded in it’s entirety, and will be made available. Stay tuned for details! 

Did you know?

Liver cancer is the third leading cause of cancer-related deaths and the seventh most common cancer worldwide. But the major causes of liver cancer— such as chronic hepatitis B or hepatitis C, and cirrhosis— are largely preventable. And treatments for liver cancer are available.

Learn more about liver cancer

Join The Hepatitis B Foundation’s webinar series to learn about the risk factors for liver cancer and the importance of liver cancer screening and surveillance. The expert presenters will describe currently available treatment options and clinical trials.

The first webinar of the series will be Liver Cancer and Hepatitis B: What You Need to Know, presented by Robert G. Gish, MD, an internationally renowned liver diseases expert.

Dr. Gish is a Clinical Professor of Medicine, Section Chief of Hepatology, and Co-Director of the Center for Hepatobiliary Disease and Abdominal Transplantation at the University of California, San Diego Health Systems.

Dr. Gish has an active research program in viral hepatitis and has published more than 600 original articles, abstracts, and book chapters, and more than 120 peer-reviewed publications.

Liver Cancer and Hepatitis B: What You Need to Know webinar details:

Presented by:Dr. Robert G. Gish
Date: Wednesday, March 6, 2013
Time: 12 noon EST; 9 am PST
Click here to register

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

 

Got HBV? Adding Vitamin D to Your Diet

Do you have hepatitis B, and are you considering adding vitamin D to your diet?  Adding vitamin D seems to be a win-win for those with liver disease since it is a potent immune modulator, appears to aid in the prevention of cancer, and other potentially related disorders such as NAFLD, along with Type I and II Diabetes, glucose intolerance and metabolic syndrome.  Before you make any big additions, be sure to talk to your doctor or liver specialist to ensure it’s safe for you with your current health status.

Vitamin D is a fat soluble vitamin (needs a little fat to digest), versus a water soluble vitamin, that is ultimately stored in the liver.  There are pros and cons to this.  Fat soluble vitamins are not necessarily needed on a daily basis as they are stored in fatty tissues and in the liver making it available for longer periods of time.  Vitamin D is specifically stored in the liver. Unlike water soluble vitamins, excesses are not excreted through urine on a daily basis. That makes the balance a little trickier because you don’t want vitamin D accumulating in the liver and causing toxicity. Symptoms of vitamin D deficiency include osteomalacia, or softening of the bones, or perhaps less obvious bone pain and muscle weakness. Symptoms of vitamin D toxicity may include decreased appetite, nausea,vomiting, excess calcium blood levels or an accumulation of calcium in soft tissues. Too much of a good thing is NOT good for you!

Current guidelines for vitamin D intake are 600 IU or 15 mcg per day. (See table for age specific info). Natural sources of vitamin D in foods (vitamin D2, or ergocalciferol) are hard to come by, but they are out there.  Mega sources include fatty fish like salmon, mackerel, and tuna.  Cod liver oil is an excellent source, which is probably why we see old movies with mom spooning cod liver oil into the mouths of young children! In the U.S. many dairy products, and others such as cereals, or orange juice are fortified with vitamin D and other vitamins. (There’s a great reason for the fortification of dairy with vitamin D – absorption is enhanced in the presence of calcium.) It is also found in smaller amounts in egg yolks. Naturally all of this needs to be balanced with the concerns of farm raised fish and possible exposure to PCBs, or mercury levels found in tuna, pollution of our oceans, raising your cholesterol levels due to focusing on the yolks, possible toxic levels of vitamin A with cod liver oil  (in Western countries where foods are fortified with vitamin A), or simply the bad, fishy taste associated with cod-liver oil. It’s a tough balance, but it’s important to work through some of the risks versus benefits in your own mind.

Sunshine is another readily available source of vitamin D (vitamin D3, cholecalciferol), but you need to be sure to balance it with the risk of over-exposure to the sun’s rays. And of course in the north, during the winter months, it may be difficult to get adequate sunshine to boost your vitamin D levels. You can get adequate sun exposure with 10-15 minutes in the sun, 3-5 times per week, with the exposure of face and arms. Naturally this will vary based on the sun’s intensity, how much skin is exposed and each individual’s skin tone, since the amount of necessary sun increases with the amount of melanin (pigment) in the skin.  Just to confuse matters, a recent study shows a possible link of higher levels of vitamin D to non-melanoma skin cancer, even though higher levels are thought to reduce the risk of basal cell cancer. Clearly more studies need to be done, but until that time, just keep reminding yourself that balance is important.

Sometimes it’s tough to get adequate vitamin D levels from natural sources such as food and sunshine, so there is the option for vitamin D supplements. This is where my anxiety levels intensify. Bad enough I have to worry about my food sources – PCBs from farm raised fish and such things, but now I have to choose a supplement – perhaps cod liver oil in a liquid or capsule that I can take daily.  Will it be in a form that is able to be absorbed?  (There’s a debate on the true benefit of cod liver oil once it is processed.  The same argument might apply to many available supplements.) How will I know this?  Will I break the bank trying to purchase these supplements?  I started to do the research on vitamin D supplementation, but like so many supplements, it’s very complex.  I always feel like I’m being sold. Using supplements is a personal thing. My personal preference would be to get my vitamin D through the foods I eat, and a short duration of sunshine.  However, I currently have adequate levels of vitamin D, so whatever I’m doing seems to be adequate.  That’s the key: tailoring your decisions based on you, your family history, or ethnicity and things you might be prone to such as a vitamin D deficiency, or other issues.

Please don’t forget to talk to your PCP and your liver specialist before drastically changing your vitamin D intake.  This is especially important if you are currently undergoing treatment for HBV.  Your doctor may wish to get a general baseline of your vitamin D levels, and continue to monitor them if there are problems.  Your doctor may be uncomfortable recommending a specific supplement since there is little or no regulation. Heed her advice before moving forward, and if you choose the supplementation route, be sure to do your homework to get the best quality product that is readily absorbable, without causing toxicity.

Be sure to take a look at last week’s blog on Vitamin D here.

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.